Cuth­bert­son, Mon­roe should im­prove this year

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY LANGSTON WERTZ JR. lw­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

3 BOLD PRE­DIC­TIONS

Cuth­bert­son will be

● above .500: Af­ter go­ing 18-20 in the past three sea­sons, Cuth­bert­son re­turns 12 starters, 35 let­ter­men - and plenty of tal­ent. Cuth­bert­son will not fin­ish 5-8 as it did in 2017.

●Mon­roe won’t have back-to-back los­ing sea­sons: The Red­hawks were 5-7 last sea­son, mov­ing up to 3A from 2A. That was Mon­roe’s first los­ing record in more than a decade. It won’t hap­pen again. The tra­di­tional power, led by long­time coach Johnny Sow­ell, re­turns nine starters and lots of tal­ent. Porter Ridge will emerge as a re­gional power: The Pi­rates were 8-5 last sea­son and re­turn 14 starters, in­clud­ing the reign­ing South­west­ern 4A player of the year (in the con­fer­ence that in­cludes re­gional pow­ers like But­ler and My­ers Park). Porter Ridge av­er­aged 33 points per game last sea­son. This year, it’ll be more.

KEY PLAY­ERS

Car­son Cross, Marvin Ridge, DB, 6-0, 160, Sr.:

Cross had eight in­ter­cep­tions last sea­son for a 10-2 team.

Sam How­ell, In­dian Trail Sun Val­ley, QB, 6-1, 215, Sr.:

One of the na­tion’s top re­cruits. How­ell ac­counted for nearly 5,000 yards of­fense and 60 touch­downs last sea­son.

Whit­ner Litton, Wed­ding­ton, QB, 6-0, 185, Sr: Threw for 3,117 yards and 30 touch­downs last sea­son.

Grayson McCall, In­dian Trail Porter Ridge, QB, 6-3, 205, Sr.: Reign­ing South­west­ern 4A Player of the Year threw for 1,414 yards, 13 touch­downs and ran for 907 yards, 12 scores. He’ll pair with Duke com­mit Jaylen Cole­man (1,279 yards rush­ing, 15 TDs) in a pow­er­house back­field.

Josh Sepe, Wax­haw Cuth­bert­son, LB, 6-3, 205, Sr.: Sepe had 157 tack­les last sea­son and is one of 35 let­ter­men re­turn­ing to try to im­prove on last sea­son’s 5-8 record.

CAN’T-MISS GAMES

In­dian Trail Sun Val­ley at In­dian Trail Porter Ridge, Sept. 7: Non-con­fer­ence game should sell out with a pair of elite QBs (Sun Val­ley’s Sam How­ell, Porter RIdge’s Grayson McCall).

But­ler at In­dian Trail Porter Ridge, Sept. 28: If Porter Ridge wants to break through and win the South­west­ern 4A cham­pi­onship, this would be game to take ad­van­tage of play­ing a league fa­vorite at home.

Wed­ding­ton at Char­lotte Catholic, Sept. 28: An earl­y­sea­son game that could go a long way to­ward de­ter­min­ing the South­ern Caroli­nas cham­pi­onship.

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