QB Anthony Ratliff Butler
RB Bryce Love Wake Forest
RB Nyheim Hines Garner
WR Van Smith Hough
WR Carl Tucker Hough
WR Divine Deablo Mount Tabor
TE Anthony Rush Cary
OL Mason Veal Ardrey Kell
OL Taleni Suhren Ardrey Kell
OL Grant Dixon Providence
OL Emanuel McGirt Hillside
ATH Jaylend Ratliffe Scotland
DL Shy Tuttle North Davidson
DL Jalen Dalton West Forsyth
DL Kengera Daniel Millbrook
DL Dexter Lawrence Wake Forest
LB Cole Nigro Sanderson
DB Adonis Alexander Independence
DB Mark Fields Hough
DB Corey Bell Hough
DB Amari Henderson Mallard Creek
DB Jaire Alexander Rocky River
DB Stephen Griffin South Meck
ATH Mike Hughes New Bern
ALL-CLASS 4A TEAM
IS MALLARD CREEK IN
THE EARLY STAGES OF A
It took six years but Mallard Creek
head coach Mike Palmieri was finally
able to lead his team to an undefeated 16-0 season and a state championship. The only certainty looking
forward is that it shouldn’t take the
Mavericks another six years to repeat
as they’re the odds-on favorite to do it
again this fall.
Standing in their way, however, is
the same team that has prevented
them from reaching the mountain
top in years past.
The Butler Bulldogs have been
the most consistent 4AA power
since 2007 and yet again they will
be in the mix to win it all. Coach
Brian Hales returns nearly all of his
key skill players, including dynamic
quarterback Anthony Ratliff and
running back Benny Lemay.
The Independence Patriots’ 2014
campaign has a lot of promise, but
also comes with some question
marks. Head coach Joe Evans led
the Patriots to an 8-5 record a year
ago but all five defeats were extremely close, all against outstanding teams.
East Forsyth is possibly the lone
4AA team that has the potential to
wreak havoc on the Charlotte Metro
area stronghold. Todd Willert’s
Eagles burst onto the scene in 2012
and could be looking at a return trip
to the Queen City in late November.
Northwest Guilford, West Forsyth
and Hough are also strong contend-
ers from the West, while Wake
Forest, Middle Creek, Millbrook
and Garner should be the primary
contenders from the East.
In the 4A classification, the Greens-
boro Dudley Panthers took home the
trophy last year after running over,
though and around everyone in their
path. Scotland County found itself on
the wrong end of a Panthers blowout in
the 4A title game, but Scotland could
very easily end up hoisting the state
championship trophy this December.
New Bern is the team everyone has
circled as the primary threat to the
Scots. Head coach Bobby Curlings
has two state championships on his
resume and with a strong roster led
by Mike Hughes, they’re the tough-
est contender on Scotland’s radar.
A week- 1 clash between New Bern
and Durham Hillside will be a great
barometer to the season as Hillside
also figures to be a major player in
the 4A Eastern Bracket.
Rocky River, High Point Central,
Mooresville, Charlotte Catholic,
Southeast Guilford, Mount Tabor
and North Davidson could all challenge from the West.
Some surprise 4A teams that
could come in under the radar are
Lake Norman, Pinecrest, E.E. Smith
TOP 5 TEAMS
1MALLARD CREEK: No rebuilding is necessary as the Mavs have reloaded
and appear stronger, but they’ll have a
noticeable target on their backs.
2BUTLER: The offense will be spectacu- lar, and if the defense can come together
watch out as the Bulldogs are in store for
another championship run
3SCOTLAND: Head Coach Richard Bailey is still in search of his first state
championship title and odds are that he
finally reaches the mountain top.
4EAST FORSY TH: A team knocking on the door.
5NEW BERN: Don’t sleep on the Bears, this is a very fast, very scrappy team.
ANTHONY RATLIFF, BUTLER