With a myriad of teams on bye week in both of these conferences, we have combined each conference’s preview for week five of the football season. After many Charlotte-area schools played on Monday night, these bye weeks couldn’t have come at a better time. The MeCKA will be represented in cross-conference matchups against both the Southwestern and South Meck 8 in week five. After four weeks, teams are positioning themselves before conference play begins next week.
MeCKA teams on bye: Vance, Robinson, Mallard Creek, A.L. Brown, Hopewell
South Meck 8 teams on bye: Ardrey-Kell, Charlotte Catholic, Harding University, Providence, South Meck, West Meck
North Mecklenburg (1-2) at Myers Park (1-3)
North Meck was idle last week, and the last time we saw the Vikings was a 38-7 trashing of East Meck. Brad Baker’s offense was able to get things rolling quickly following two difficult starts against Lake Norman and Independence. Quarterback Nolan Beasley will need another fast start if the Vikings want to win at Myers Park. Scott Chadwick’s Mustangs have dropped three-straight contests, and all three contests have been decided by seven points or fewer. Quarterback Clay Norris put together a solid second half at Providence Monday night, but the Mustangs must limit their turnovers if they want to get the victory.
USA TODAY High School Sports predictor: Myers Park 26, North Meck 20
Olympic (1-2) at East Mecklenburg (1-3)
In a battle of two teams looking for a second-straight win, South Meck 8 foe Olympic visits East Meck. The Trojans picked up a big 35-13 win at Hopewell Monday night, but have been dominated in their two games against Southwestern opponents. Keith Wilkes’ Trojans won’t have it much easier, as they face Providence, Ardrey Kell, and Charlotte Catholic the next three weeks. East Meck got the first victory of the Barry Shuford era when they crushed Harding 58-6. The Eagles have struggled across the board this year, losing three games by 30+ points. With matchups against Independence and Butler looming, this may be the best opportunity for each of these teams to get another victory.
USA TODAY High School Sports predictor: Olympic 35, East Mecklenburg 7
Hough (2-1) at Independence (4-0)
In what many are forecasting as the game of the week, Hough travels to Independence to battle the unbeaten, unscored-upon Patriots. Bishop Ford is a huge factor for the visiting Huskies, as he was impressive in an opening week victory against Sun Valley. The Huskies got off to a slow start against Lake Norman, before a 21-point fourth quarter rally gave the Huskies a 35-31 victory. Hough will need a quick start if they plan on hanging with the Patriots. Joe Evans is out to prove that the Big I is back in 2014. The Patriots have simply outclassed their opponents, outscoring them a combined 149-0 in four-straight shutouts. Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins has played smart football thus far, and the Patriots’ defense is working hard to re-establish the Independence tradition. If the Patriots can get out front early, Hough will have their work cut out for them scoring on a feisty defense. While we don’t expect another shutout, Hough has to show they can beat a team of the caliber after their dismantling at the hands of Mooresville.
USA TODAY High School Sports predictor: Independence 27, Hough 21
Berry Academy (1-2) at West Charlotte (2-1)
Andrew Howard’s Cardinals come into Friday’s contest with West Charlotte on a two-game losing streak. After opening the season with a 35-0 win versus East Meck, Berry has been outscored 92-28 in back-to-back road games at Mallard Creek and A.L. Brown. Berry’s offense will hope to carry momentum from last week, where they were able to score 21 second-half points. West Charlotte is riding a two-game winning streak into Friday, having topped Harding and West Meck in their last two games. Mo Collins is working on rebuilding a tradition-rich program at West Charlotte, and the Lions appear to be on their way. After falling to 0-11 in 2013, the Lions look to be on pace to turning things around at West Charlotte. Look for a close game as both teams attempt to build momentum heading into conference play.
USA TODAY High School Sports predictor: Berry Academy 31, West Charlotte 24