NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
ARE WE SEEING ANOTHER CHARLOTTE DY- nasty? Mallard Creek, which opened in 2007, has won back-to-back 4AA championships. Note that for the playoffs, the N.C. High School
Athletic Association subdivides the postseason with the 32
largest 4A qualifying schools playing for a 4AA crown while
the other 32 go into another bracket for a 4A title.
The Mavericks ( 15-1 in 2014) are also emerging as a track
and field program, and the two seem to go hand in hand.
Though 26 players graduated from last year’s squad, Mal-
lard Creek’s junior class had several players getting national
The team the Mavericks have defeated in each of the last
two 4AA title games, Wake Forest ( 15-1), is No. 2, so we
might see three straight years of the same two teams.
The Cougars were swarmed by Mallard Creek in 2013,
59-21, but the 2014 title game was a narrow 25-14 loss. A
few key plays kept Wake Forest out of it.
The Cougars lose Stanford-bound running back Bryce
Love, but have arguably the nation’s top defensive lineman in
Dexter Lawrence and return key players at all positions.
Lawrence’s little brother, Desmond, should take over for Love
as the go-to running back. Desmond played considerably as a
freshman. Xach Gill, a senior, gives the Cougars two Division
I-caliber linemen in their three-lineman defensive front.
No. 3 Charlotte Catholic ( 14-2) was the NCHSAA 4A
runner-up last year but is in great position to return to the
title game. The Cougars have made it to at least the West
regional final in each of the last five seasons.
Catholic, like Wake Forest, is a team that rides the suc-
cess of a strong offensive line and talented running backs.
Why pass when every run goes for eight yards?
Jaret Anderson, a senior, ran for more than 2,000 yards
last year and could be heading for bigger things this year
from the same system that lifted North Carolina’s Elijah Hood
to a high school legend.
New Bern (16-0) won’t be happy to see itself ranked one
spot below the team it beat for the 4A championship last
year, but the No. 4 Bears lose nine of their top 10 tacklers.
That’s a significant loss. The Bears didn’t allow anyone to
score more than 21 points in a game.
Though there are questions about the defense, New Bern has
now won two state titles in the last three years. So maybe this is
simply a “gap year” before another title run in 2016.
At No. 5, Scotland County’s Fighting Scots ( 12-2) hope last
year’s setbacks have poised the team for better this year.
The Scots figured to be one of the teams to beat in 2014,
but quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe, now at Georgia Tech, was
seriously injured in an ATV accident during the summer.
Scotland got off to a slow start as one would imagine, los-
ing to 3A Southern Durham at home in the season’s second
week. But then it all started clicking as now-sophomore
running back Zamir White burst onto the stage.
Last year’s perseverance should lead to big things this
fall. – J. Mike Blake
Last season was an emotionally challenging year for
Scotland County, but the
future looks bright with the
return of linebacker Jonathan
Smith among others.
QB Dylan Parham, Southeast Raleigh
RB Kennedy McKoy, North Davidson
RB Benjamin LeMay, Butler
WR Cornell Powell, Rose
WR Diondre Overton, Page
WR Divine Deablo, Mt. Tabor
TE Garrett Walston, New Hanover
OL Landon Dickerson, South Caldwell
OL Taleni Suhren, Ardrey Kell
OL Sean Pollard, Pinecrest
OL Isaiah Little, Dudley
ATH Darion Slade, West Forsyth
DL Dexter Lawrence, Wake Forest
DL Zack Gilbert, South Meck
DL Jamil Dukes, Mooresville
DL Marlon Dunlap, West Charlotte
LB Josh Brown, Mallard Creek
LB Jonathan Smith, Scotland
LB Alexander Gagnon, Charlotte Catholic
DB Ridge Ford, Green Hope
DB Tyric McCarter, New Bern
DB Marquill Osborne, Hough
DB Myles Dorn, Vance
ATH Julian Okwara, Ardrey Kell
1. Mallard Creek
2. Wake Forest
3. Charlotte Catholic
4. New Bern
5. Scotland County