My­ers Park, Hough clear hur­dles, set up in­ter­est­ing quar­ters

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Football - BY LANGSTON WERTZ JR. lw­[email protected]­lot­teob­

Where to start with Fri­day’s sec­ond round of the N.C. High School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion play­offs?

So many things jump out:

Hough was the Ob­ser● ver’s pre­sea­son Sweet 16 No. 1 and was, at best, an un­pop­u­lar choice among some fans. That the Huskies had some sur­pris­ing close calls early in the sea­son, and in the mid­dle of the sea­son, only in­creased the chat­ter. Then Hough lost to Vance and Mal­lard Creek on back-to­back weeks to end the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Well, that same Hough team, which had strug­gled with in­juries, got the big­gest win in school his­tory Fri­day, up­set­ting Mal­lard Creek 19-7 on the road in the play­offs’ sec­ond round. Hough con­verted three Mav­er­icks turnovers into 13 points. More­over, Hough beat Mal­lard Creek on the of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive line of scrim­mage.

That’s usu­ally how Mal­lard Creek beats you.

This time, Hough al­lowed 169 yards to­tal of­fense, in­clud­ing 160 on the ground. In a 26-10 loss to Mal­lard Creek a few weeks ago, Hough al­lowed more than 400 yards rush­ing. And that’s how Hough beat the Mav­er­icks for just the sec­ond time in school his­tory.

My­ers Park has not

● beaten But­ler in the reg­u­lar-sea­son in the past 10 years. But the Mus­tangs have elim­i­nated the Bull­dogs from the play­offs in back-to-back years af­ter Fri­day’s de­fin­i­tive 33-8 win at But­ler that felt a lit­tle like a chang­ing of the guard.

My­ers Park (12-1) tied the school record for wins it set last sea­son and has its third straight year with at least 11 vic­to­ries. The school opened in the 1950s and the Mus­tangs had only three sea­sons with dou­ble-dig­its wins be­fore that. Mus­tangs coach Scott Chad­wick, mak­ing a se­ri­ous bid for the best coach the school has ever had, has My­ers Park two wins from the first N.C. 4A state fi­nals ap­pear­ance in school his­tory.

My­ers Park lost 18-15 to El­iz­a­beth City in the 1957 2A state fi­nal, end­ing the school’s 18-game win streak. In 1965, My­ers Park beat Garinger 27-6 in the N.C. 4A Western Re­gional fi­nal to im­prove to 11-0, but no state fi­nal was played that sea­son.

So 2018 could be a his­toric sea­son for My­ers Park. And we em­pha­size “could.”

More later.

But­ler had not played ● in a month and the Bull­dogs looked rusty Fri­day. My­ers Park lost to But­ler seven weeks ago in a game that was ba­si­cally the South­west­ern 4A league cham­pi­onship. Since then, But­ler played just twice - Oct. 19 against Har­ris­burg Hick­ory Ridge and Oct. 26 against Garinger. This was af­ter NCHSAA-im­posed penal­ties forced three area teams - Hick­ory Ridge, In­de­pen­dence and East Meck­len­burg - to end their sea­sons early for in-game and post-game fights.

The Bull­dogs’ fi­nal two games were sched­uled to be East Meck and In­de­pen­dence. So com­bine that with a first-round bye for win­ning the league, and But­ler was off the field for a long time.

Mal­lard Creek was the

No. 1 over­all 4AA West seed and with the Mav­er­icks gone, the road to the state fi­nals goes through Rock­ing­ham, and Rich­mond is state-ti­tle good again. It feels like 1998 when the Raiders were rolling through North Carolina and ev­ery­one else was try­ing to catch up.

Rich­mond is av­er­ag­ing 41.5 points in the play­offs and has only lost to twotime N.C. 4AA cham­pion Wake For­est. And as I’ve said be­fore, the Raiders have had a lot of suc­cess in years that end with “8.” Rich­mond won the state ti­tle in 2008, 1998, 1988 and 1978.

This, of course, is 2018. Next up for the Raiders? A very hot My­ers Park team, and My­ers Park is go­ing to find out next week that there’s noth­ing in North Carolina quite like be­ing a road team in Rock­ing­ham. Rich­mond, though, will have its hands full with aMus­tangs team that has lots of col­lege tal­ent, and lots of con­fi­dence.



My­ers Park wide re­ceiver Eli­jah Bow­ick scores a touch­down against But­ler Fri­day night in the sec­ond round of the N.C. 4AA play­offs.

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