CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Langston Wertz, Jr./The Charlotte Observer) - Saturday was quite the day for Charlotte-area high school football teams.
Five teams went to N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship games.
Four came home with titles.
In the 2AA final, two area teams played each other. Shelby beat Salisbury 34-0. In 3A, Charlotte Catholic beat Southern Nash 23-7, rallying to win its third straight N.C. 3A state championship. In 3AA, Weddington won its second straight N.C. 3AA championship and its third in four years, running past Lee County 34-14.
And in 4AA, Vance High made its case for having one of the best defenses in N.C. history, slamming the door on Leesville Road’s state title dreams, winning 24-3.
Charlotte Catholic (12-3), Weddington (16-0) and Vance (13-2) each beat an unbeaten state final opponent.
It was, quite simply, an impressive display of power for Charlotte-area football.
↑The big proposal: Moments after Weddington’s state championship win, Warriors assistant coach Hayden Crooks picked up a second win. He proposed to his girlfriend on the sidelines at N.C. State.
She said yes.
↑Trent Simpson, Mallard Creek: While Simpson wasn’t playing for a state title like he hoped, he picked up a scholarship offer from his dream school, Clemson, while on his official visit. The 5-star recruit, ranked among the nation’s top 15 overall players in the class of 2020, committed on the spot. Click here for his exclusive interview with the Observer.
↑Shelby defense: Shelby held Salisbury to five first downs, minus-6 yards rushing and 39 total yards in its 2AA state finals win.
↑Vance defense: Vance held Leesville Road to 80 yards total offense in its state final win. Vance allowed 24 points in five postseason games against some of the state’s elite large class teams. All five games were on the road and two were against top 50 nationally ranked teams. And nearly half of Leesville’s total yards Saturday came on its final drive against some of the Vance reserves.
SATURDAY’S #BIG5 TOP PERFORMERS
Diavonni Daley, Shelby: eight catches for 120 yards and a touchdown in the Salisbury win.
Power Echols, Vance: MVP of the N.C. 4AA state final, the junior linebacker had 6.5 tackles, 0.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for a loss. On offense, he had a rushing touchdown.
Alec Mock, Weddington: 21 total tackles plus an interception in the Warriors’ state final win.
Paul Neel, Charlotte Catholic: 27 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the 3A championship game. He also had 25 yards in kickoff returns.
Will Shipley, Weddington: Gatorade N.C. player of the year ran 26 times for 257 yards and four touchdowns in Weddington’s state final win. Weddington finished with 271 total yards of offense.
3 QUICK THOUGHTS
1. I’m not sure I’ve seen too many defensive players in my time here better than Vance HIgh’s Power Echols. He does a fantastic job of reading the plays and has an innate understanding of where to be. His speed and ferocity are scary. He told me after the game that he has narrowed his college choices to Clemson, North Carolina and Penn State (listed in alphabetical order).
Echols was state defensive player of the year as a sophomore. Well, his junior year has been better than that.
2. It’s a pretty amazing achievement for two teams in the same conference to win a state championship in the same year. Well, now Charlotte Catholic and Weddington have done it back-to-back years. The only team to beat Weddington in the past two years is Charlotte Catholic. The only N.C. public school team to beat Catholic in the past three years is Weddington.
▪ Catholic’s seventh state title ties Independence for the most in Mecklenburg County public school history.
3. Shelby has put together one of the great dynasties in state history. Shelby won its second straight N.C. 2AA state title Saturday and its fifth in six years. In that run Shelby is 84-10.