Char­lotte Chris­tian’s Far­rell shines in new role against ri­val Coun­try Day

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY LANGSTON WERTZ JR. lw­ertz@char­lot­teob­server.com Langston Wertz Jr.: 704-358-5133, @langston­wertzjr

Char­lotte Chris­tian se­nior Wil­liam Far­rell thought he was go­ing to be a line­backer this sea­son, but as prac­tice got go­ing, Knights coach Ja­son Estep said he felt his team needed help in the back of the de­fense.

So Estep moved Far­rell, whom he be­lieves is one of his most ver­sa­tile play­ers, to safety four weeks ago. During Fri­day’s 21-13 win over Char­lotte Coun­try Day, Far­rell pro­duced two mem­o­rable plays.

He made a div­ing in­ter­cep­tion to stop a Coun­try Day drive, and knocked away what looked like a sure Bucs touch­down in the end zone.

The sec­ond play was more im­pres­sive.

Coun­try Day quar­ter­back Russell Ta­bor, The Ob­server’s pre­sea­son pri­vate school player of the year, threw a pretty pass to the left cor­ner of the end zone to what looked like an open team­mate.

But Far­rell kept run­ning, kept clos­ing ground, as the ball neared the Coun­try Day re­ceiver. Far­rell ar­rived as the ball did, knock­ing it away just in time.

“Will’s been a re­ally good foot­ball player for us,” Estep said. “He’s a multi-sport ath­lete and a month ago, he was start­ing at out­side line­backer. We made a change, and it’s been good for us. Tonight, he just made an un­be­liev­able play. I thought Ta­bor threw a good ball and the guy ran an un­be­liev­able route, and at the last sec­ond, our guy made the play.”

Far­rell, 18, said he feels more com­fort­able play­ing in the back of the Knights’ de­fense. He said he can play more freely there. He said he feels he’s bet­ter in cov­er­age, too.

He def­i­nitely was Fri­day, es­pe­cially on the touch­down breakup.

“The pass rush was quick,” he said, “and the ball got out quick and I had to make a play on it. I was think­ing, ‘Just punch it out! Punch it out! I can’t let him score!’ ”

Far­rell also plays baseball at Char­lotte Chris­tian and in the past two years, he has won one baseball and two foot­ball state cham­pi­onships.

Now, as a se­nior, he wants two more. He knows Fri­day’s win was a nice first step.

“Mo­men­tum is huge here,” he said, “es­pe­cially with a five-game (reg­u­lar) sea­son, and we’re ready for our next game now. Man, I missed this, missed play­ing, and it’s great to get back on the field.”

OB­SER­VA­TIONS

The con­ces­sion stands ● were closed and only par­ents of se­niors could watch the games live at

Char­lotte Chris­tian and Prov­i­dence Day, but hav­ing high school foot­ball back was nice.

The game seemed fa­mil­iar, sounded fa­mil­iar, and see­ing the smiles on the play­ers’ faces be­fore the game told you all you needed to know if you won­dered how much they missed it.

The teams at Char

lotte Chris­tian did not shake hands af­ter the game, in­stead hus­tling to the team bus or the locker room. That looked a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.

It was down­right cold

for a sea­son opener with tem­per­a­tures in the 50s. But the teams seemed pretty sharp for Week 1. Ku­dos to the coaches for hav­ing them ready.

FRI­DAY’S #BIG5 TOP PER­FORM­ERS

Prov­i­dence Day’s

Syd­ney McCorkle: The sopho­more made state his­tory when she kicked the ex­tra point af­ter the Charg­ers’ touch­down late in the third quar­ter of Fri­day’s 48-0 win over Char­lotte Latin.

She be­came the first fe­male ever to score a point in a NCISAA pri­vate school foot­ball game.

Prov­i­dence Day’s

Thomas Flynn: The 6-4, 200-pound se­nior caught three scor­ing tosses — two from Jake Hel­frich and one from Grantt Lo­gan, a trans­fer from Thomas Jef­fer­son Academy in Ruther­ford County.

Char­lotte Coun­try

Day’s Russell Ta­bor:

The Ob­server’s pri­vate school pre­sea­son player of the year com­pleted 16of-38 passes for 151 yards in a 21-13 loss at Char­lotte Chris­tian. He ran 18 times for 91 yards and two scores.

Char­lotte Chris­tian’s

Matthew Tuo­mala: 7for-10 pass­ing for 105 yards and two touch­downs. He ran 11 times for 30 yards.

Char­lotte Chris­tian’s

Wade Gul­lick­son: 13 tack­les, in­clud­ing one for a loss, in the Coun­try Day win.

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