As the 4A South Meck 8 conference enters its third week of conference play, separation is beginning to be seen across the board. Four teams currently sit 2-0 and the other four teams are 0-2. Just as luck would have it, the four winless teams will square off with unbeaten teams, which means those 0-2 teams will have a tough challenge Friday night to get back into the race.
With the season approaching the halfway mark, Charlotte Catholic appears to be the strongest team in the conference, with South Mecklenburg, Providence, and Ardrey Kell hot on their heels. Ardrey Kell’s only loss was to undefeated Weddington opening night, while Catholic’s only defeat occurred to No. 1 ranked Mallard Creek in a lightning-delayed game. The “new” South Meck has quietly won five-straight, putting the Sabres in position to win the conference and have their first winning season since a 7-5 record in 2010.
Charlotte Catholic (5-1) at Olympic (2-4)
Catholic comes into this game on the heels of a 42-0 thrashing against Harding University. The Cougars are red hot on offense, averaging 36 points per game this season. Jaret Anderson leads the Cougar’s rushing attack that averages nearly 300 yards per game. Olympic has struggled this year, picking up their two victories against Hopewell and an inexperienced East Mecklenburg squad. The Trojans have some outstanding athletes, but new coach Keith Wilkes and his staff have yet to get everything clicking offensively. Olympic hasn’t won this battle since 2010, and if the Trojans want to pull the upset they’ll need a solid game with very few mistakes.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Charlotte Catholic 42, Olympic 14
West Mecklenburg (1-5) at South Mecklenburg (5-1)
South Meck hosts West Meck in a battle of teams whose seasons are on the line. For South Meck, a 5-1 start has put the Sabres in a position they rarely find themselves in–first place. West Meck enters this game on a three-game losing streak, and the Hawks’ lone victory came against a bad Garinger team. In three home games, West Meck has been outscored 124-0, so a road trip might be good for the Hawks. South Meck has a matchup with Charlotte Catholic looming, so Rocky White’s team must stay focused or they could find themselves in trouble as the conference season picks up steam.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: South Meck 24, West Meck 20
Harding University (1-4) at Ardrey Kell (5-1)
Harding travels to Ardrey Kell High School Friday, and the Rams are in desperate need of something good to happen. After an opening night win against Garinger, the Rams have been outscored 160-24, including a 42-0 shutout at Charlotte Catholic last week. Ardrey Kell has put together five-straight wins after a 31-28 loss against Weddington in week one. The Knights’ offense has been stellar, scoring at least 35 points the last three weeks. As one of the most improved teams in Charlotte, Ardrey Kell is now in position to battle for the South Meck 8 conference title. Harding is going to have a hard time winning this game, but the Rams can take pride in not giving up given the circumstances they face on the field. Ardrey Kell should pick up the win here as they get ready for a huge battle at Providence next week.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Ardrey Kell 42, Harding 6
Berry Academy (2-4) at Providence (5-1)
At 2-4, Berry Academy is on the cusp of having their season unravel in a hurry. The Cardinals played Charlotte Catholic extremely close in a 40-18 loss two weeks ago. Andrew Howard has Berry playing more competitive than many expected, and the schedule is favorable if they can pull out a victory at Providence. Providence enters Friday’s game on a five-game winning streak. The Panthers are led by tailback Brian Mattar’s 112.7 yards per game and six touchdowns. Providence has more talent, but if they get caught looking ahead, Berry could give them a scare.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Providence 36, Berry Academy 16