Usually, the arrival of autumn means the celebration of cooler temperatures, and a much-needed break from the oppressive warmth and humidity that we’ve been experiencing in these previous few waning weeks of summer time.
Along with the crisp fall breezes and the colourful arrays of foliage that may quickly blanket our landscapes, we particularly sit up for these weekly gatherings with our fellow group members underneath the glow of our native highschool soccer stadiums on Friday nights.
It’s additionally laborious to imagine that we’re already at Week 6. The place has the time gone? That is formally the mid-point of the common season so in the present day I’ll provide you with full mid-season report card and discover out who has made the grade up to now.
If you happen to assume again to final week, I attempted to teach everybody about how a lot we’ve grown as a state concerning the quantity of expertise we’re placing within the Nationwide Soccer League. When you concentrate on it, it’s an astonishing development curve to go from an also-ran state at producing pro-ready gamers, to now being firmly within the Prime 7.
To indicate development like that, it implies that we’ve bought some very particular gamers which are leaving their marks on the native prep gridirons.
The Tar Heel State has at all times had a historical past of manufacturing some top-flight operating backs. You’ll be able to learn the historical past books and study legendary figures like Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice, the College of North Carolina halfback from Asheville who was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in each 1948 and 1949.
Or how about Excessive Level’s Ted Brown, the legendary N.C. State tailback who slashed his manner by ACC defenses for four-straight years earlier than shifting on to an eight-year professional profession.
Even in the present day, our home-grown stars are getting the job carried out on the main faculty degree. Within the SEC, Zamir White (Scotland) has been carrying the mail for Georgia, whereas within the ACC, Christian Beal-Smith (East Forsyth) has been making performs at Wake Forest, and native stars Ricky Particular person, Jr. (Heritage) and Zonovan Knight (Southern Nash) have been stable performers for the Wolfpack.
That brings me to present Cleveland Excessive Faculty operating again Omarion Hampton. His head coach Scott Riley informed me about this younger man when he was a freshman. That evening, I watched him of their huge recreation in opposition to cross-town rivals Clayton.
Whereas he didn’t get a lot taking part in time that evening as a back-up, I may see that he was actually going to be a really particular participant.
From his sturdy and lean muscular body, his slashing strikes that seemingly tie-up the legs of opposing linebackers, his unbelievable imaginative and prescient for making the fitting cuts on the proper instances, and willingness to ship at punch on the finish of runs, Hampton is the whole package deal on the operating again place.
Quick-forward to 2021, and about 3,800 yards and 60 touchdowns later, it has change into apparent that this participant has what it takes to change into an impression performer on the subsequent degree. The College of North Carolina commit has all of the intangibles that will lead you to imagine that he could possibly be a day-one contributor for the Tar Heels.
Whereas he was sidelined within the Rams state championship recreation again in Could, he’s again to full pace now and he and his teammates look poised to make a powerful run within the 4A East playoffs developing in November.
Wake County soccer rising
Soccer in Wake County has been on the rise for a few decade. The extent of teaching has improved tremendously and naturally, expertise has been on hearth. Garner was among the many standard-bearers for years, dominating the Wake County gridirons, however extra just lately Wake Forest took that torch and ran with it, profitable three-consecutive state championships between 2016-18.
Now there are a number of groups within the county who’re attempting to stake their declare at being number-one. The trio of Cardinal Gibbons, Leesville Highway, and Rolesville have all made state championship recreation appearances up to now two seasons, but neither have been capable of convey residence the trophy.
All three of those 4A packages are wanting sturdy as soon as once more on the midpoint of the season, and it’s not a stretch to assume that after of them may push onward to a different state title recreation. Nevertheless, there’s additionally one other newcomer to this get together in Millbrook, who sits at 5-0.
Clarence Inscore’s Wildcats have been dominant within the first half of the yr placing up spectacular offensive numbers behind the efforts of the quarterback-receiver combo Mason Fortune to Wesley Grimes. If this duo continues to supply huge numbers, they might each find yourself within the Mr. Soccer dialog.
To date Millbrook will get an A from me.
Is New Bern elite in 4A
Seeking to Japanese N.C., is New Bern now proving to be an elite group within the 4A ranks? The Bears have regarded very dominant within the early going, and so they have signature wins over Tidewater powerhouse Maury and final week with a convincing victory over Havelock.
There are athletes all around the discipline for head coach Torrey Nowell, however operating again Aronne Herring has been particularly spectacular. He has already rushed for 787 and 9 touchdowns on this younger season.
I’ll give the Bears an A+ thus far.
Myers Park can reply questions in opposition to Cardinal Gibbons
Is there a surging group that could possibly be popping out of nowhere to shock us all? I feel there’s, and on Friday we’ll discover out simply how sturdy they’re.
I really feel that Myers Park simply could also be that sleeping large that’s ready for one of many entrance runners to journey up. The Mustangs will host Cardinal Gibbons on Friday, capping two of probably the most aggressive non-conference schedules for each packages.
Don’t ever accuse Myers Park head coach Curtis Fuller or Gibbons head coach Steven Wright for avoiding a battle, as a result of they’ve each actually challenged their groups with powerful non-league video games.
In his first 5 video games, quarterback Lucas Lenhoff has been exceptional, passing for 1,425 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s one other participant who has vaulted his manner up into the Mr. Soccer discussions for the tip of the yr.
For now I’ll give the Mustangs an A-, however they will definitely enhance on that within the again half of the common season.
This week’s high video games
Now let’s check out some huge video games going down this week.
Cornelius would be the place to be on Friday at 7pm as Hough hosts Chambers. These are definitely the 2 high groups within the state, and I think about that this recreation will dwell as much as the hype. I anticipate a festive ambiance and a packed grandstand, so arrive early!
In a battle of unbeatens, New Bern will journey to Jacksonville. Senior quarterback Josh Benton has been stable so far, whereas he has solely thrown for 223 yards in three video games, the shifty dual-threat athlete has rushed for 399 yards and eight touchdowns on the bottom.
Within the NCISAA, the highest non-public college battle will happen within the Queen Metropolis as Charlotte Latin travels to face perennial energy Charlotte Christian.
If you happen to like excessive scoring affairs, you may think about heading to Mocksville to see East Forsyth tackle Davie County. This could possibly be an thrilling back-and-forth recreation the place the winner is the group with the ball final.
So be sure you head to your native college and soak up an thrilling recreation this Friday and catch a few of tomorrow’s stars in the present day, whereas serving to assist these packages and colleges.