With 5 straight vic­to­ries, Charg­ers’ new plan work­ing

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

Prov­i­dence Day foot­ball coach Adam Hast­ings said, for a half Fri­day night, his Charg­ers played their best foot­ball of the sea­son.

The Charg­ers (5-3) jumped all over Char­lotte Coun­try Day be­fore win­ning 42-6. Prov­i­dence Day led 28-0 to start the game and 28-6 by half­time. For the game, Coun­try Day’s three lead­ing rush­ers - Reid Sim­mons, Rus­sell Ta­bor and Ry­lan McLau­rin - com­bined for 24 car­ries and 46 yards. McLau­rin had 133 all pur­pose yards.

On of­fense, Prov­i­dence Day got 232 yards pass­ing and three touch­downs from quar­ter­back Cody Cater, plus more than 200 yards rush­ing from Osita Ek­wonu and Nickel Fields.

“But we’ve got to keep get­ting bet­ter,” Hast­ings said af­ter the win. “Early in the year, we got caught up into talk­ing about other teams and other teams’ play­ers and fo­cus­ing on what they do. Now it’s about us talk­ing about what we do and what we can do to get bet­ter.”

The Charg­ers started the year with games against pri­vate school power Fayet­teville Trin­ity Chris­tian ( 7-0, outscor­ing teams 306-53), S.C. 4A power Co­lum­bia Ridge View (5-2) and N.C. 1A power North Stanly (6-2, outscor­ing teams 329-76).

Prov­i­dence Day lost all three games.

But now, Hast­ings be­lieves that was the best thing that hap­pened to his team.

“It helped us fig­ure out what fits us best,” Hast­ings said. “Those first three games got us re­fo­cused and it kind of put us in a spot where we had to ex­pe­ri­ence some ad­ver­sity for us to un­der­stand what we had to do. Now, I look back and I’m glad we sched­uled those games. I’d rather face ad­ver­sity then than now.”

Since the 0-3 start, Prov­i­dence Day has won five straight games by an aver­age of 50-4. Next up is 7-1 Ar­den Christ School, which beat Char­lotte Latin 28-13 Fri­day (Prov­i­dence Day beat Latin 28-17 ear­lier this sea­son). And in two weeks, Prov­i­dence Day will face a pri­vate-school jug­ger­naut for the Big South con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship. Char­lotte Chris­tian, look­ing as dom­i­nant as any pri­vate school team I’ve ever seen, is un­beaten and has outscored its op­po­nents 337-7. And that’s not a typo.

But Hast­ings said his team is not look­ing ahead to play­ing Godzilla.

“Our fo­cus is Christ School,” Hast­ings said. “That’s it. Just like last week. Our fo­cus was Christ The King and we didn’t talk about Coun­try Day or watch Coun­try Day film. We try to fo­cus on hav­ing fun and hav­ing a pretty con­sis­tent mes­sage.”

And for right now, it’s work­ing pretty well.

OB­SER­VA­TIONS

Gas­to­nia’s Hunter

Huss, off to its best start since 1976, looks like the real thing. The Huskies shut out Boil­ing Springs Crest 14-0 Fri­day in a bat­tle of teams ranked in the Ob­server’s Sweet 16, and you just don’t shut out a pow­er­house like Crest (6-2), which had a three­game los­ing streak snapped. Huss (8-0) got its third shutout in four weeks and its fourth shutout of the sea­son. As the weather gets colder and de­fense be­comes even more of a pre­mium, the Huskies are go­ing to be a tough out come play­off time.

There were lots of

dis­ap­pointed foot­ball coaches in Meck­len­burg County that Char­lot­teMeck­len­burg Schools post­poned all of Fri­day’s foot­ball games.

And they were dis­ap­pointed for sev­eral rea­sons: There were no safety is­sues Fri­day night; they found out about the post­pone­ments very late on Thurs­day night; and a lot of prac­tice plans and hours of prac­tice went into the tank.

CMS has a stand­ing rule that ba­si­cally says no school, no sports. I think the district should give it­self some wig­gle room for sit­u­a­tions like Fri­day’s. There were more than 30 schools with­out power Thurs­day, which caused the district to close. But only one high school set to host a game Fri­day night, Mal­lard Creek, didn’t have power Thurs­day. It would not be hard to find a place to play. Also if con­di­tions al­low, waiv­ing the no-school, no-play rule on Fri­days - when stu­dents are off the next day - can be pru­dent.

Union County Schools, for ex­am­ple, were likely go­ing to play games Fri­day night even if school were called Fri­day.

One more thought

about no-school, no-play: CMS needs to do a bet­ter job com­mu­ni­cat­ing its de­ci­sions faster. Part of the prob­lem is of­ten­times ev­ery­one has to pretty much do the same thing and it takes awhile to get ev­ery­one on the same page. I would pro­pose let­ting each con­fer­ence sec­re­tary - and there are three for CMS - be in charge of han­dling reschedul­ing sit­u­a­tions for its league. Things would move faster and take the pres­sure off the cen­tral of­fice.

West Meck­len­burg

was one of the CMS schools that had its Fri­day game pushed back. The Hawks will now play Prov­i­dence Nov. 9. Since West Meck­len­burg has a bye next week, the Hawks sud­denly have what amounts to fall break in the mid­dle of the sea­son.

Not ideal, es­pe­cially when you’re rid­ing a sixgame win streak.

West Meck­len­burg last played Oct. 5 when it beat Olympic 40-13. The Hawks’ next game? Oct. 26 against South Meck­len­burg.

“That’s some­thing we can’t con­trol,” Hawks coach Jarvis Davis said.

“You’ve got to go safety first and it’s some­thing we have to deal with. We’ve got to fig­ure out a way to keep guys mo­ti­vated, hun­gry and grind­ing. Next week has to be a great week of work and the week af­ter that has to be a bet­ter week.

“We wanted to play (Fri­day). The kids were tex­ting (Thurs­day) as soon as they found out school was out (Fri­day). Our AD was call­ing me and try­ing to see if the game still could be played. But again, it’s about the safety of the kids and that’s some­thing you’ve got to re­spect.”

EL­E­VA­TOR

rSatur­day foot­ball:

Garinger will make up Fri­day’s post­poned game at In­dian Trail Porter Ridge Satur­day at 2 p.m.

rCon­cord Cox Mill:

Charg­ers beat Kan­napo­lis Brown 21-13 to im­prove to 6-2 over­all, 2-0 in the South Pied­mont. Be­fore this sea­son, Cox Mill had three straight los­ing sea­sons.

rRich­mond Se­nior:

Beat Hoke County 53-0, lim­it­ing Hoke to 85 to­tal yards. That was Rich­mond’s best de­fen­sive per­for­mance since the Raiders al­lowed Fayet­teville Byrd 82 yards in 2016. Rich­mond is 42-1 all-time against Hoke.

r●dam Robbe, Char­lotte Catholic: In a 41-0 win over Unionville Pied­mont, Robbe had three tack­les for a loss plus an in­ter­cep­tion. Catholic ( 7-1) has shut out half of its op­po­nents this sea­son.

rKevin Christ­mas, Char­lotte Catholic: Cougars ath­let­ics di­rec­tor and as­sis­tant foot­ball coach to be in­ducted into the school’s Hall of Fame next Fri­day.

FRI­DAY’S TOP PER­FORM­ERS

Isa­iah Bess, Shelby: 14of-21 pass­ing for 244 yards and five touch­downs in a 55-7 win over R-S Cen­tral.

Cody Cater, Porter Rooks, Prov­i­dence Day: Cater com­pleted 23-of-35 passes for 232 yards, three touch­downs in a 42-6 win over Char­lotte Coun­try Day. Rooks caught eight passes for 104 yards and two scores.

Antonio Heath, Rock Hill North­west­ern: Car­ried 22 times for 123 yards and a touch­down in a 21-20 win over Fort Mill Na­tion Ford. Na­tion Ford’s Nathan Ma­haf­fey ran 26 times for 114 yards and a score.

Lan­don Hon­ey­cutt, Mount Pleas­ant: Ran 28 times for 192 yards and three touch­downs in a 28-23 win over An­son Se­nior.

Robert Stone, Covenant Day:

Com­pleted 23-of-31 passes for 324 yards and six touch­downs in a 69-22 win over Char­lotte Carolina. Jack­son Bertle­sen caught seven passes for 174 yards and two touch­downs.

FRI­DAY’S ROUNDUP

No. 3 Char­lotte Chris­tian 48, Metrolina Chris­tian 0: The Knights (8-0) got their fourth straight shutout. Chris­tian is beat­ing its op­po­nents 337-7 head­ing into Fri­day’s game with CISAA ri­val Char­lotte Latin.

No. 16 North­west Cabar­rus 33, No. 10 Cen­tral Cabar­rus 13:

In a South Pied­mont 3A bat­tle be­tween un­beaten teams, North­west Cabar­rus got a big win in front of a sold­out crowd on home­com­ing. North­west Cabar­rus (8-0) raced out to a 26-7 lead. Cen­tral Cabar­rus ( 7-1) got a 6-yard run from KeShawn Har­vey to close to within 26-13. Alexan­der Cen­tral 49, McDow­ell 0: AJ Miller and Tevin Clark com­bined for 240 yards rush­ing and three touch­downs in the win.

Besse­mer City 27, Pine Lake Prep 14: Besse­mer City, down 8-0 early, scored 27 straight points to win. Jarke­vi­ous Love caught a 31-yard touch­down pass and had a 25yard scor­ing run.

Mor­gan­ton Free­dom 58, South Cald­well 14:

Free­dom led 44-6 at half­time of an easy win. Jay­den Birch­field threw five touch­down passes. North­side Chris­tian 55, Fayet­teville Chris­tian 0: North­side Chris­tian ran up 419 to­tal yards com­pared to 49 for Fayet­teville Chris­tian.

JONATHAN AGUALLO Spe­cial to the Ob­server

Prov­i­dence Day’s Osita Ek­wonu runs for a first down dur­ing Fri­day’s 42-6 win over Char­lotte Coun­try Day. The Charg­ers started 0-3 but have won five straight.

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