1. Myers Park (7-0)
Last week: No. 1
Result: Beat Butler 31-13
This week: Hickory Ridge (6-1)
The Mustangs faced one of their first real tests of the season last week against Butler. Myers Park started sort of slow with a 13-7 halftime lead, but quarterback Drake Maye was 10-of-11 passing in the second half where he threw his two touchdown passes after scoring once on the ground in the first half. The Mustang defense was dominant once again, stopping the Bulldogs power run game at opportune times throughout the night. They have another tough test with Hickory Ridge coming to town this week, but there may be no stopping the Mustang train.
2. Ardrey Kell (6-1)
Last week: No. 2
Result: Beat West Meck 38-14
This week: Olympic (6-2)
Quarterback Jared Joseph threw for three more touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown as the Knights ran their win streak to six consecutive games. Cedric Gray hauled in touchdown receptions of 67 and 92 yards and teammate Michael Hetzel reeled in a 40-yard catch and run to provide the bulk of the offense, and the Knights defense limited the Hawks to just 14 points. During their six-game win streak, the Knights have allowed just a shade over 20 points per game, but Joseph has orchestrated an offense that has failed to score 30 or more points just once during that same stretch of games. Olympic has been revived this season, but the Knights are unbeaten at home this year.
3. Charlotte Latin (7-0)
Last week: No. 5
Result: Beat Providence Day 17-14
This week: Charlotte Christian (4-2)
The Hawks did it again, this time scoring late to get past Providence Day, a team which had won three of the past four meetings in the series and two straight. The Chargers got up 14-7 in this one, but the Hawks continued to chip away until quarterback Charles Watson found senior receiver Daniel Haughton with a 7-yard touchdown pass to win it. It was a big win for the Hawks, but this is where the gauntlet starts as Latin has Providence Day, Charlotte Christian and Country Day on its schedule to close the year. Christian snuck past Christ School by one point last week, but the Hawks can make a big statement against the Knights, who have won by a combined 75-7 the past two seasons in this series.
4. Country Day (7-1)
Last week: No. 6
Result: Beat Ravenscroft 45-7
This week: Christ School (4-2)
The Bucs played without star running back Quentin Cooper, who came out of the Catawba Ridge game the week before with an injury. With Cooper sidelined, sophomore Rickey Saunders was the next man up for the defending champion Bucs and shined with 29 carries 210 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns as Country Day went run-heavy and dominated Ravenscroft last week. This team is coming up on its stretch run with Christ School and Charlotte Latin awaiting, but the Bucs have been one of the biggest surprises of the season as they have looked great to this point. Another tough test awaits with Christ School’s air attack, but the Bucs picked off three passes last week and will be ready.
5. Providence Day (5-2)
Last week: No. 3
Result: Lost 17-14 to Charlotte Latin
This week: at Trinity Christian (5-1)
The Chargers blew a golden opportunity last week as they let a 14-7 lead evaporate late in their loss to unbeaten Charlotte Latin. Much like last season, the Chargers have started hot and looked like they could be the team to overtake Charlotte Christian, but two straight losses have them reeling. Worse, high-scoring Trinity Christian and Charlotte Christian await in very tough matchups to close the season. The Chargers will need to refocus in a hurry, but if they can win their last two games they could still earn a top four seed in the state tournament. Trinity Christian, however, averages more than 50 points per game on offense.
6. Butler (4-3)
Last week: No. 4
Result: Lost 31-13 to Myers Park
This week: at Independence (4-3)
To be fair, Butler had a perfect game plan and executed it well Myers Park coach Scott Chadwick said following his team’s win over the Bulldogs. With sophomore quarterback Ty Moore starting his first game, the Bulldogs ran the ball early and often with Jamal Worthy, who scored both Butler touchdowns, and Jaurice Alexander. Another positive is this: Butler played the Myers Park receivers straight man most of the day against all-American quarterback Drake Maye and they more than held their own. It’s always fun when Butler and Independence mean something, and this week’s game is enormous for both sides.
7. Charlotte Christian (4-2)
Last week: No. 7
Result: Beat Christ School 28-27
This week: at Charlotte Latin (7-0)
The Knights had to stop a 2-point conversion attempt with just under 1:30 to play to defeat Christ School, but this is the kind of tough victory that could propel them to race through the rest of their schedule with momentum. LJ Brown scored on a run and on an interception, quarterback Brett Adams threw a TD to freshman Liam Groulx and ran one in on his own in the win. Henry Rutledge (17 carries, 80 yards) and Logan Jones (five catches, 47 yards) also played well offensively for the Knights. Christian has dominated Charlotte Latin in the past two seasons, but this Hawks team looks legit. This is a big game for the Knights, especially after they have already lost to Country Day in conference play.