Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Down to 32 players, W. Charlotte coach says 4-0 Lions no surprise

West Charlotte High football coach Marcus Surratt said there’s no secret to the Lions 4-0 start, the best West Charlotte’s had in seven years.

The Lions were 5-7 in 2009.

“The guys are putting out and working hard,” Surratt said. “They’ve kind of got a little stability now. I don’t know if they’d call it real stability because I sat out last year, but I was a familiar person.”

Surratt, 36 is West Charlotte’s fifth head coach in as many years. He was defensive coordinator in 2008, however, when the Lions won their first conference title in nine seasons. This year, Surratt’s team lost eight players to rezoning in the offseason and there’s only 32 players on varsity and 20 on junior varsity, about half of the norm for each team

“So it’s not like totally starting over,” Surratt said. “It’s more like a second go-round with me. The level of respect is still there. Their tenacity is still there. The will to play was still there. It was a matter of putting it together. It’s a test of how resilient these young men are. I know as an adult, I wouldn’t be able to survive changing wives five times in five years, and I’d equate this almost the same.”

Surratt, whose team plays Hopewell (3-1) at home Friday, said his players have had to learn a new system every year they’ve been in school, something particularly hard on senior quarterback Ahmad Brown. Brown is working under his fourth offensive coordinator in four seasons.

“Sometimes it looks like we’re making bad decisions out there,” Surratt said, “but it’s a learning curve for him.”

Brown has rushed 41 times for 293 yards this season and completed 14 passes for 208. He’s gotten better every game. He ran 12 times for 43 yards and completed one pass for nine yards against West Meck to start the season. In the Lions’ last game against Independence Sept. 18, Brown rushed 11 times for 171 yards and completed four passes for 71.

West Charlotte tailback Scoot Simmons, a Duke recruit, has rushed for 480 yards. He averages 6.4 yards per carry and has topped 100 yards in three of four games.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Charlotte Country Day names new boys, girls basketball coaches

Country Day graduate Dwayne Cherry (class of ’93) is the school’s new boys basketball coach. Former junior varsity girls coach Andre Haston has been promoted to the varsity girls head job.

Cherry, an Upper School math teacher, was head coach at J.T. Williams Middle School and an assistant at Independence. He was a three-sport athlete at Country Day and played football at Guilford College and for the semi-pro Carolina Heat.

Haston was 42-10 as junior varsity coach at Country Day. He is an also an assistant for the Carolina Rise, a traveling elite team sponsored by adidas.

Butler, Mallard Creek top all inclusive state football poll

Butler is No. 1 and Mallard Creek No. 2 in the Carolina Preps' Top 25 poll. Unlike most statewide polls, the Carolina Preps poll ranks all the state's teams together.

West Rowan is No. 3 in the poll. Charlotte Catholic is No. 8. Boiling Springs Crest is No. 15. Also ranked are Indian Trail Porter Ridge (16), Lawndale Burns (17), Lenoir Hibriten (22) and Lincolnton (24).

Click here to see the entire poll.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shelby out, Lincolnton in The Sweet 16

See a video about this week's poll with Indian Trail Sun Valley coach Scott Stein by clicking here

The Observer’s football Sweet 16 is tightening up.

The top four spots are the same and there’s only one new team. Lincolnton, which shut out Shelby 21-0 last week, moves at No. 16, dropping Shelby out of the same spot.

Lincolnton (5-0) beat preseason top 10 Sweet 16 team Belmont South Point 43-42 and is averaging 41.4 points per game.

West Charlotte, despite being idle last week, moved up to No. 11 from No. 15. Indian Trail Sun Valley dropped from No. 11 to 15th after losing to Associated Press N.C. 3A top 10 team Asheville 21-14 Friday. Also falling was Lenoir Hibriten, from fifth to seventh, after losing to No. 1 Butler 35-28 Friday at home.


Team (Class)




Butler (4A)




Rock Hill Northwestern (4A)




Mallard Creek (4A)




West Rowan (3A)




Rock Hill South Pointe (3A)




Charlotte Catholic (3A)




Lenoir Hibriten (3A)




Marvin Ridge (3A)




Boiling Springs Crest (3A)




Clover (4A)




West Charlotte (4A)




Newton-Conover (2A)




Charlotte Country Day (IND)




Charlotte Latin (IND)




Indian Trail Sun Valley (4A)




Lincolnton (2A)



Others receiving consideration (listed alphabetically): 1A Albemarle (3-1); 4A Ardrey Kell (3-1); 4A Indian Trail Porter Ridge (5-0); 3A Kannapolis Brown (3-1); 4A South Caldwell (5-0); 2A South Iredell (4-0).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Davidson Day hoop star Keith Belfield commits to Furman

Davidson Day 6-6 senior basketball player Keith Belfield verbally committed to Furman University Friday.

Belfield had offers from schools like Charlotte, Drexel, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Mount St. Mary’s and UNC-Wilmington.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Furman University basketball program,” said Belfield. “Over the course of the past two years, I’ve developed a great relationship with Coach (Jeff) Jackson and Coach (David) Wilson. Furman has everything that I’m looking for. The combination of strong academics, a basketball program on the rise and being close to home sold me on my decision.”

Belfield was a CISAA all-conference pick last season at Concord Cannon when he averaged more than 20 points per game. He transferred to Davidson Day for his senior year and joined former North Meck star Bernard Sullivan, who has committed to Clemson.

"I’m excited for Keith and his family,” Davidson Day coach Ron Johnson said. “Having the opportunity to watch him mature and develop as a basketball player and young man over the last five years has been rewarding. His commitment to improving himself has been unmatched. I feel confident that Furman is a terrific fit for Keith."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Butler, Mallard Creek still 1-2 in A.P. N.C.prep poll

¶ RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The Associated Press state high school football poll for the week of September 14, first-place votes in parentheses, records and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sports writers:

^Class 4-A=

† 1. Matthews Butler (15) (3-0) 150 1

† 2. Mallard Creek (3-0) 119 2

† 3. Fayetteville Britt (4-0) 98 4

† 4. Greensboro Dudley (4-0) 89 5

† 5. Richmond County (3-1) 83 3

† 6. Wake Forest-Rolesville (4-0) 82 6

† 7. Asheville Reynolds (3-0) 71 8

† 8. Harnett Central (4-0) 55 7

† 9. Durham Hillside (4-0) 35 10

†10. Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor (3-1) 13

¶ Others receiving votes: New Bern 8, Monroe Sun Valley 5, Greenville Rose 4, Fuquay-Varina 3, Charlotte Independence 3, West Charlotte 3, Lumberton 2, Jamestown Ragsdale 1, West Forsyth 1.<

^Class 3-A=

† 1. West Rowan (13) (4-0) 146 1

† 2. Fayetteville Byrd (4-0) 115 2

† 3. Charlotte Catholic (2) (4-0) 107 4

† 4. Marvin Ridge (4-0) 100 5

† 5. Shelby Crest (3-0) 79 9

† 6. Eastern Alamance (3-0) 75 6

† 7. Lenoir Hibriten (4-0) 65 7

† 8. Northern Guilford (3-1) 38 10

† 9. Lawndale Burns (2-1) 25

†10. Asheville (1-1) 19 3

¶ Others receiving votes: Belmont South Point 14, Northeast Guilford 7, Southern Nash 7, South Brunswick 5, China Grove Carson 5, Charlotte Latin 4, Charlotte Country Day 4, Weddington 3, Wilson Hunt 3, Franklin 2, Havelock 1, South Johnston 1.<

^Class 2-A=

† 1. Reidsville (13) (4-0) 147 1

† 2. SouthWest Edgecombe (1) (4-0) 129 2

† 3. Tarboro (1) (3-0) 110 3

† 4. Lincolnton (3-0) 96 4

† 5. Kinston (4-0) 65 6

† (tie) Polk County (4-0) 65 6

† 7. Boonville Starmount (3-0) 44 10

† 8. Newton-Conover (3-0) 42 6

† 9. Shelby (2-1) 33 5

†10. Thomasville (4-0) 32

¶ Others receiving votes: East Bladen 22, East Duplin 13, Roanoke Rapids 9, Carrboro 5, Burnsville Mountain Heritage 5, Winston-Salem Carver 3, Siler City Jordan-Matthews 1, Canton Pisgah 1, South Iredell 1, Claremont Bunker Hill 1, North Johnston 1.<

^Class 1-A=

† 1. Wallace-Rose Hill (12) (3-0) 145 2

† 2. Southwest Onslow (2) (4-0) 135 3

† 3. Pender County (3-0) 107 4

† 4. Albemarle (1) (3-1) 100 1

† 5. Plymouth (4-0) 89 5

† 6. Avery County (4-0) 77 6

† 7. Hendersonville (3-0) 67 7

† 8. Mt. Airy (2-2) 29 10

† 9. Hobbton (4-0) 17

†10. Kernersville McGuinness (3-0) 11

¶ Others receiving votes: Manteo 10, Murphy 9, Williamston Riverside 9, Warsaw Kenan 6, West Montgomery 5, Swain County 4, North Edgecombe 3, East Surry 1, Robbinsville 1.<

Monday, September 13, 2010

West Charlotte Lions roar into Sweet 16 poll

Welcome West Charlotte to the Sweet 16.

The Lions have been ranked for more weeks than any Mecklenburg County team since the poll began in 1984.

After finishing 5-7 last season, West Charlotte changed coaches for the fifth time in five seasons – and it appears the school has found a winner.

Marcus Surratt, 36, is a cousin by marriage to Aaron Brand, who led the Lions in 2008, when West Charlotte won its first conference championship since 1999.

Jeff Simpson coached the Lions in 2009, when West Charlotte finished 5-7 and lost its final four games.

That's changed this season.

Under Surratt, West Charlotte is 4-0 after beating longtime rival Independence 48-33 Saturday, hanging the most points on the Patriots since before the 2000 season began.

In six previous games against Independence, West Charlotte had scored 19 points total.

- The top seven spots in the Sweet 16 remain the same, but there’s much change below.

Indian Trail Sun Valley is in at No. 11 after beating two Mecklenburg County conference title contenders (Vance, Olympic) on back-to-back weeks.

No. 10 Clover (S.C.) improves four spots. Shelby falls six spots to 16 after losing to rival Boiling Springs Crest, which moves up two to No. 9.

Charlotte Latin dropped six spots to 14 after losing to No. 7 Charlotte Catholic.

Rk. Team (Class) Record Previous
1 Butler (4A) 3-0 1
2 Rock Hill Northwestern (4A) 3-0 2
3 Mallard Creek (4A) 3-0 3
4 West Rowan (3A) 4-0 4
5 Lenoir Hibriten (3A) 4-0 5
6 Rock Hill South Pointe (3A) 2-1 6
7 Charlotte Catholic (3A) 4-0 7
8 Marvin Ridge (3A) 4-0 9
9 Boiling Springs Crest (3A) 3-0 11
10 Clover (4A) 4-0 14
11 Indian Trail Sun Valley (3A) 3-0 –
12 Newton-Conover (2A) 3-0 12
13 Charlotte Country Day (IND) 2-1 13
14 Charlotte Latin (IND) 2-1 8
15 West Charlotte (4A) 4-0 --
16 Shelby (2A) 2-1 10
Others receiving consideration (listed alphabetically): 4A South Caldwell (4-0); 4A Indian Trail Porter Ridge (4-0); 3A Kannapolis Brown (2-1); 4A Ardrey Kell (3-0); 2A Lincolnton (4-0); 2A South Iredell (4-0); 1A Albemarle (3-1)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Suspended Garinger football coach won't return

Speaking for the first time since being suspended last month, former Garinger football coach Terry Liggin said he was not going to try to get his job back and will seek to continue his career at a new school.

Liggin, 30, was indefinitely suspended a few days before the start of the season while Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was doing an investigation. Assistant coach Lin Fisher took over the team and has led Garinger to a 1-2 record heading into today's game at Hough High (2-0).

Liggin said he was ultimately suspended a full year because he allowed a player to participate in a scrimmage before the player completed nine full days of practice, per state association rules. Liggin said he returned to campus as a teacher this week. Efforts to reach Garinger officials were unsuccessful.

Liggin said the player had an issue with medical records and was pulled from practice. The player was cleared, Liggin said, a few days before a planned scrimmage with another team.

"The player participated in that," Liggin said, "and I was notified by the trainer that he didn't have enough days and we pulled him. After the scrimmage, (Garinger athletics director Claire Gardin) informed me that it was a violation. From that, I received a suspension letter from school and they suspended me for 365 days from coaching football."

N.C. High School Athletic Association deputy commissioner Que Tucker said it was a CMS decision to suspend for 365 days. She said typically the association asks schools to file reports on these types of incidents and to let the NCHSAA know what their plans for punishment are.

If the NCHSAA feels the penalty is severe enough, Tucker said, it will usually stand by the local decision. In some cases, however, it might levy its own penalties. In this case, Tucker said, the association decided the CMS penalty was severe enough. The NCHSAA handbook calls for a $500 fine and a one-year probation for violation of the preseason conditioning rule. A second violation would bring another $500 fine plus a 365-day suspension.

Liggin was Garinger's 15th coach since 1975. He coached Garinger to a 2-9 record last season, when the Wildcats lost two games by a total of nine points and were close in two more. Those were significant upgrades for a program that has had four losing streaks of at least 18 games since 1989, including a 61-game on-field losing streak that ended in 2008.

Liggin said he was proud of the progress he made at Garinger. He said the school started a booster club, added a junior varsity football team and that the varsity team GPA jumped from 2.1 to 2.6 in the second semester of the 2009-10 school year. "We established an academic tutoring program, and Lin Fisher headed that up," Liggin said. "Even though I wasn't able to see the deal finished, I think they're headed in the right direction."

Liggin said he did not want to return as coach next season.

"There's no bad taste," he said. "It's just time to move on. Coach Fisher will lead them on to better things if he gets it full time. With me being out a year, it's time to explore some different options and spend time with my family. Hopefully somebody will give me another opportunity to coach."

CMS has removed two student-athletes this fall: two cheerleaders at Butler for residency violations. One was a junior varsity and one was a varsity member. They will both sit out for 365 days.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time change and ticket info for Saturday's Butler-Richmond game

The kickoff for Saturday’s Richmond Senior-Butler game at Memorial Stadium has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m.

Gates at Memorial Stadium will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $6.

No senior citizen passes or Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ passes will be honored. Parking will be $3 and $5, depending on lot used.

The kickoff for other CMS games scheduled for Saturday is 7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Butler tops first Associated Press state poll

Here is the first Associated Press football poll of the season. The poll is voted on by a panel of N.C. media members, including the Observer's Langston Wertz Jr.

Class 4-A

1. Matthews Butler (12) (2-0) 138 1
2. Mallard Creek (2) (3-0) 109 8
3. Richmond County (3-0) 79 4
4. Fayetteville Britt (3-0) 72 7
5. Greensboro Dudley (3-0) 59 8
6. Wake Forest-Rolesville (3-0) 55 4
7. Harnett Central (3-0) 53 10
8. Asheville Reynolds (2-0) 48
9. Charlotte Independence (0-2) 24 3
10. Durham Hillside (3-0) 21

Others receiving votes: Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor 20, New Bern 17, Charlotte Vance 9, Lumberton 8, Fuquay-Varina 8, Jamestown Ragsdale 7, Charlotte Olympic 7, Greensboro Page 6, Fayetteville Sanford 5, West Charlotte 5, Charlotte Myers Park 4, Alexander Central 3, Indian Trail Porter Ridge 3, Winston-Salem Reynolds 2, Monroe Sun Valley 2, Greenville Rose 2, Lake Norman 1, Fayetteville Smith 1, Cary 1, West Forsyth 1.
Class 3-A

1. West Rowan (11) (3-0) 134 1
2. Fayetteville Byrd (2) (3-0) 82
3. Asheville (1-0) 79 4
4. Charlotte Catholic (1) (3-0) 68
5. Marvin Ridge (3-0) 65
6. Eastern Alamance (3-0) 53 5
7. Lenoir Hibriten (3-0) 51 2
8. Southern Nash (3-0) 44
9. Shelby Crest (2-0) 43
10. Northern Guilford (2-1) 40 6

Others receiving votes: Belmont South Point 28, Hertford County 15, Havelock 9, South Johnston 8, Northeast Guilford 8, Weddington 6, Charlotte Latin 5, Charlotte Country Day 4, South Brunswick 4, Kannapolis Brown 4, Asheboro 4, Wilson Hunt 4, Western Alamance 4, Anson County 3, Lawndale Burns 2, Franklin 2, Waynesville Tuscola 1.
Class 2-A

1. Reidsville (10) (3-0) 128 1
2. SouthWest Edgecombe (3) (3-0) 100 2
3. Tarboro (1) (3-0) 80 4
4. Lincolnton (3-0) 76
5. Shelby (2-0) 52 8
6. Polk County (3-0) 40
(tie) Kinston (3-0) 40 9
(tie) Newton-Conover (2-0) 40 4
9. East Duplin (2-0) 35 3
10. Boonville Starmount (3-0) 32

Others receiving votes: Thomasville 32, East Bladen 28, Burnsville Mountain Heritage 17, Canton Pisgah 16, Salisbury 12, Jacksonville Northside 10, Catawba Bandys 6, Winston-Salem Carver 6, East Lincoln 4, Whiteville 3, Charlotte Berry Tech 3, Siler City Jordan-Matthews 3, Roanoke Rapids 3, South Iredell 2, Black Mountain Owen 1, North Brunswick 1.
Class 1-A

1. Albemarle (7) (3-0) 128 4
2. Wallace-Rose Hill (6) (2-0) 103 8
3. Southwest Onslow (1) (3-0) 97 2
4. Pender County (2-0) 67 6
5. Plymouth (3-0) 62
6. Avery County (3-0) 61
7. Hendersonville (2-0) 57 10
8. Swain County (2-1) 40
9. Manteo (2-0) 29 5
10. Mt. Airy (1-2) 16 1

Others receiving votes: Hobbton 15, Murphy 13, North Edgecombe 13, Kernersville McGuinness 12, Williamston Riverside 12, Warsaw Kenan 10, East Surry 9, West Montgomery 9, Monroe 6, Chocowinity Southside 6, Robbinsville 5.

Guilford County Schools benches more than 100 athletes for grades

GREENSBORO In an effort to boost academic achievement, Guilford County schools are putting more than 100 athletes on the bench.

The News & Record of Greensboro reported Sunday that at least 111 student-athletes in the district are ineligible to play for their high school teams this semester because they couldn't maintain a grade point average of 2.0, roughly a C, in their spring classes.

The new policy came into effect as part of the school system's effort to enhance the academic achievement of its students.

The rule is more stringent than state eligibility requirements, which don't include a minimum GPA. The N.C. High School Athletic Association requires that a student must pass three of four classes in a block schedule or five of six in a traditional schedule.

"Our superintendent came on board (in 2008), and promoting academic excellence was one of his focal points," said Leigh Hebbard, athletic director for county schools. "The standard of only passing three or passing five classes didn't stand for promoting excellence in any shape or form, and the 2.0 requirement is a step in the right direction."

Hebbard says the total of students cut from teams this fall may actually be higher than 111, because totals are estimated by coaches. The figure also doesn't include students who are ineligible because they failed more than one class.

The new policy isn't sitting well with everyone.

Northeast Guilford High School in McLeansville saw 21 athletes become ineligible under the new policy, including 19 football players.

"We lost kids who needed us more than we needed them," Tommy Pursley, football coach at the school, said. "Participating in sports helps with discipline and self-control and to keep them out of trouble. We're not out here just teaching these kids some silly game."

Kenneth Whitmire's son was to be a starter this year on Smith High School's basketball team, but now is ineligible even though he passed all his classes last spring.

"Now he can't play because he needed another two points on a test?" Whitmire asked.

Guilford school officials, though, are committed to the policy, which resembles those in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County systems.

"Our young athletes are capable young men and women. They have the ability," said Guilford County Board of Education member Nancy Routh. "If they start viewing themselves as being capable of achieving whatever the expectation is for the classes they're taking first, and athletes second, that would be my hope."

-- Associated Press

Monday, September 6, 2010

Prep Football Leaders

Area Football Leaders
Here are area football leaders reported by schools. Get complete individual and team leaders at
Name, School, Yards Per Game, TDs

1. J. Covington, Providence Day, 172.0, 5
2. Q. Jordan, Hough, 139.0, 3
3. S. Simmons, W. Charlotte, 115.0, 3
4. Jahwan Edwards, Butler, 108.5, 2
5. D. Hamilton, Albemarle, 97.7, 4
6. R. Herbin, Waddell, 96.7, 3
7. T. Passenant, Country Day, 94.5, 2
8. M Massardo, Latin, 93.0, 2
9. N. Johnson, Maiden, 88.5, 4
10. S. West, Olympic, 88.0, 1
Name, School, Yards Per Game

1. T. Chadwick, Marvin Ridge, 224.0
2. R. Ferguson, Butler, 202.5
3. S. Spence, Latin, 201.0
4. M. Johnson, Maiden, 193.0
5. E. Guest, Independence, 161.0
6. M. Roberts, Country Day, 155.5
7. C. Beatty, Olympic, 138.0
8. N. Dunlap, Albemarle, 120.0
9. P. Litton, Providence Day, 74.0
10. X. Barrino, Carolina Pride, 71.0
Name, School, Yards Per Game, TD

D. Walker, Butler, 89.5, 1
Ferguson, Butler, 87.0, 0
J. Howze, Marvin Ridge, 83.3, 3
T. Miess, Latin, 82.0, 1
R. Jennings, Olympic, 81.0, 0
H. Hopper, Maiden, 79.5, 3
K. Brent, Marvin Ridge, 76., 3
H. Williams, Albemarle, 67.7, 1
M. Massardo, Latin, 58.0, 1
W. Hamilton, Country Day, 54.0, 1

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mallard Creek QB Williams: I'm still committed to UNC

Mallard Creek quarterback Marquise Williams, a top 15 national recruit at his position, says he is still firm in his commitment to North Carolina.

The Tar Heels have pulled 13 players from tonight's season-opener with LSU due to investigations into possible misconduct by the football players.

Thirteen players - including seven starters on UNC's star-studded defense - remained in Chapel Hill on Friday night as the 18th-ranked Tar Heels prepared for their season opener in Atlanta.

The school said six were ineligible for the LSU game for breaking school and/or NCAA rules. Seven more were held out as investigations continue into possible academic misconduct and inappropriate contact with pro agents.

Williams said he is watching carefully.

“I’m still trying to see what’s going to happen,” Williams said. “My family is trying to see what’s best for us. If they go on probation, I’d have to decommit, but if they don’t go, I’m going to be a Tar Heel."

Williams, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior, has thrown for 13 touchdowns, leading his team to a 3-0 record and a school-best No. 3 Observer Sweet 16 ranking. Mallard Creek has outscored opponents 161-6.

And Williams said the North Carolina situation does cause him some pause.

“To be honest, I’m not worried about it right now," he said. "But sometimes it does worry me. It’s like, if something happens, where will I play next year? Will I find the right place for me? So it does come to my mind, but I’m trying to finish
my high school career out.”, a national recruiting website, ranks Williams No. 13 at his position nationally. Williams chose the Tar Heels over Michigan and Virginia Tech. He also received scholarship offers from Boston College, East Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame, South Florida, Syracuse, UCLA and Wake Forest.

Click here to read a profile on Williams