The football powers that have long dominated the four major conferences in Union County, Matthews, Mint Hill and southern Mecklenburg County are idling while threats are emerging all around them, ready to assert their domination as we head into the 2020s.
I spent last Friday on the sidelines at Weddington High School in utter disbelief. I’ve been covering Charlotte Catholic for over a decade now, and the whooping they got from the Warriors was something I’ve never seen before and may never see again.
Weddington, the defending 3-AA champs, is hardly an underdog, but the Warriors were 0-6 all-time against Catholic entering that game.
Weddington lost a good portion of their offensive firepower – save for all-American running back Will Shipley, who is spectacular by the way – and much of their defense.
But they’ve retooled in a big way.
Weddington beat Catholic 45-0 last week. The Cougars hadn’t lost a conference game since 2009, a streak of 66 consecutive games. I don’t think they’ve ever lost quite like that.
The Warriors are emphatically now the new class of the Southern Carolinas.
But look around … it’s happening everywhere.
Take the Southwestern 4A, where Butler has set the standard for so long. They beat Myers Park to win it last season but needed overtime to beat winless Rocky River two weeks ago.
They rebounded to beat Porter Ridge last week, but still.
On Oct. 12, Butler will face nationally ranked Myers Park, who is trying to take over that conference after falling in the regional final last year.
How about in the So. Meck 7? Ardrey Kell was awarded the conference title last year after three teams finished 5-1 in league play, but the Knights finished with a losing record.
That didn’t seem very championship-worthy to me.
The Knights are 5-1 overall this season and flexing their muscles as the league standard.
It looks like similar things could be at play in the CISAA, a league mostly dominated by Charlotte Christian over the past decade or so.
The Knights had a shocking 50-point loss earlier in the season and were defeated by Country Day to end a long conference winning streak.
I’m not ready to say Charlotte Christian is losing its grip on the top spot, it’s that others have come up to challenge the Knights.
Country Day is 6-1, off to its best start in at least a decade. Charlotte Latin, despite losing its starting quarterback early in the season, is 6-0 and off to its best start since Daniel Jones was its quarterback.
Providence Day looked unstoppable until they sort of stopped themselves in a 14-13 loss to Christ School that dropped the Chargers down to 5-1.
Providence Day and Latin meet this week in a critical battle, which will have the winner that much closer to joining Country Day as they challenge Charlotte Christian.
The Knights aren’t out of it. Christian is on its third quarterback already this season, but starter Matthew Tuomala is due back from injury soon and they’re talented and well-coached.
This week will be a big one with huge conference matchups across the board, and time will tell how it all will play out.
But don’t say I didn’t tell you so if the powers change across the board in 2019.