Thursday, August 26, 2010

Catholic, Providence hope to top last year's prep football thriller

Only six miles separate Charlotte Catholic and Providence High School on N.C. 51. Last season, only one point separated the two teams, as the Cougars outlasted the Panthers 48-47 in triple overtime in the second game of the season for both teams.

This year, Catholic and Providence will again vie for bragging rights.

Providence (8-5, 4-2 Southwestern 4A in 2009) gave some of the best teams in the state - Butler, Independence and Richmond Senior - all they could handle. The Panthers are looking to prove they are among the top teams in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Catholic went 7-5, well below its standards. But the Cougars and 37-year veteran coach Jim Oddo are eager to prove they are back among the best teams in Charlotte and the state.

"The fact that they are right down the road from us makes it a natural rivalry for the kids," said Providence coach Randy Long. "It was a great game last year, and I think it could be just as good this season."

Oddo, who will try to pull off his second win against the Panthers in as many years, feels the same.

"Oh yeah, we remember last year, and I think my guys may have reached back a little bit because it was my 300th win," said Oddo. "We ran the ball very well, and they passed the ball very well. It seemed like whoever had the ball last was going to win the game."

This story originally appeared in South Charlotte News. To continue reading, click here