High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: South Point

After games on Saturday, May 12

It's been a tough last three years for Providence. In 2010, the Panthers lost in the first round of the playoffs. In 2011, the Panthers and their big bats fell in the second round. This past week, the state's top-ranked squad again fell in the opening round, this time by the count of 5-3 to Mount Tabor.

South Point, the defending 3A champs who had lost just once all regular season, fell to Asheville, while Ardrey Kell lost to Winston-Salem Reagan.

The developments allowed T.C. Roberson and its 13-game win streak to move to No. 1 in the state and No. 44 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. T.C. Roberson (Asheville) 25-2 (3)
Rams take over top spot after beating Hopewell to open the playoffs and stretch win streak to 13.

2. Southeast Guilford (Greensboro) 23-2 (4)
Falcons beat Glenn 8-3 and face West Forsyth in Tuesday's second-round action.

3. South Caldwell (Hudson) 23-2 (6)
Spartans racked up 10 runs in the fifth inning to pull away for a playoff win against McDowell.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 9 POWERADE baseball rankings

May, 8, 2012
After games on Saturday, May 5

Conference championships, and subsequently, playoff seeding were on the line last week for many teams. Providence sought vengeance for its loss to Ardrey Kell (and the Panthers got it Monday in the SW4A title, after these rankings were finalized), TC Roberson and South Point defended their conference titles and New Bern somehow finished atop their conference despite losing their last two games.

With the playoffs starting this weekend, Providence remains the team beat and is ranked No. 19 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Providence (Charlotte) 24-2 (1)
After falling to Ardrey Kell to close the season, the Panthers beat Rocky River and Butler to set up a rematch with Ardrey Kell in the Southwest 4A conference title game.

2. Ardrey Kell (Charlotte) 22-3 (3)
Knights scored big win against Providence last week and are peaking at right time.

3. T.C. Roberson (Asheville) 24-2 (2)
Rams have won 12 straight and haven't lost a home game since 2010.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 8 POWERADE baseball rankings

May, 2, 2012
After games on Saturday, April 28

Let's get this out of the way: these rankings were finalized before Ardrey Kell beat Providence in the season finale to take a share of the Southwestern 4A title and snap the Panthers' 15-game win streak.

So with that said, Providence cracked the top 10 in this week's POWERADE FAB 50 at No. 8 and still looks strong entering the Class 4A playoffs. There was also lots of movement in the state rankings, as New Bern and Scotland make their debuts after peaking at the right time. On the other hand, South Point suffered its first two losses of the season while J.H. Rose is reeling after losing three straight.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Providence (Charlotte) 22-1 (1)
Mike Herbert was strong on the mound and added two double at the plate during an 8-2 win against South Mecklenburg.

2. T.C. Roberson (Asheville) 21-2 (3)
Rams have now won 44 straight at home after avenging a loss to North Buncombe last week.

3. Ardrey Kell (Charlotte) 19-3 (5)
Knights riding 10-game win streak as season comes to a close.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 7 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 25, 2012
After games on Saturday, April 21

In the first six weeks of the baseball season, it's been hard to separate the cream of the crop. Last week, the first five teams have three losses combined.

Things separated a bit in this week's rankings, as JH Rose and Southeast Guilford saw their 15- and 10-game win streaks snapped, respectively. Providence, meanwhile, moved even closer to entering the top 10 by moving to No. 12 in the latest POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Providence (Charlotte) 17-1 (1)
Panthers continue to roll behind strong pitching and play at the plate.

2. South Point (Belmont) 18-0 (2)
Red Raiders are on cusp of securing their fourth Big South Conference title in five seasons.

3. T.C. Roberson (Asheville) 19-2 (6)
Rams will put 43-game home win streak on line Tuesday as they look to avenge a loss earlier this season to No. 10 North Buncombe.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 6 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 17, 2012
After games on Saturday, April 14

Providence continues to establish itself as the team to beat in North Carolina, moving to No. 13 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and having outscored its opponents 119-26 through 18 games. But several other teams are showing that they too are to be reckoned with.

There's South Point, which is 15-0 and looks to be primed for a repeat Class 3A title. There's JH Rose, which is also off to a 15-0 start and always possesses a stable of players who can put together a deep playoff run. And there's Northwest Cabarrus, which appears to be peaking at the right time and has a monster player in Corey Seager.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Providence (Charlotte) 17-1 (1)
Panthers won their 10th straight, beating South Mecklenburg 15-0. They have outscored opponents 119-26 this season.

2. South Point (Belmont) 15-0 (2)
Beat Forestview in the Gaston County Baseball Tournament, leaving them one win from tying last season's 16-game win streak.

3. Southeast Guilford (Greensboro) 16-1 (3)
Win streak is now at nine games.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 5 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 10, 2012
After games on Saturday, April 7

While the preseason favorites have lived up to the hype, with Providence rising to No. 19 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and defending Class 3A champ South Point simply dominating the competition, there's another team to watch.

Winning seasons are nothing new for JH Rose, but during their 14-0 start, the Rampants have looked downright impressive. They have put up more than seven runs per game and held off No. 8 North Buncombe 5-3 by holding the Black Hawks to just five hits.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Providence (Charlotte) 15-1 (1)
Panthers beat a tough Charlotte Christian team 5-4 to win the Jack Sink Invitational and maintain their hold atop the rankings.

2. South Point (Belmont) 12-0 (4)
Defending Class 3A champs have given up one run in last six games and shut out half of their opponents.

3. Southeast Guilford (Greensboro) 14-1 (5)
Have won seven straight games.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 4 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 4, 2012
After games on Saturday, March 31

Four teams remain undefeated in the latest top 10, including defending Class 3A state champ South Point and North Buncombe, which at 11-0 is off to its best start in school history. Top-ranked Providence is not included in this bunch, as the Panthers boast a record of 13-1, but after a big win against rival Ardrey Kell, the Panthers are now No. 19 in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

One worthy sidenote: Cardinal Gibbons' junior Robbie Thorburn tied a state record with a hit streak of 14 at-bats. (Key word: at-bats, not games). According to this News & Observer article, the second baseman hit and reached base safely 14 times over 16 plate appearances, with the two outliers being a walk and a hit by pitch. Thorburn's streak, which came to an end March 29, tied him with Kevin Jordan of Jordan-Matthews in the state record book.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Providence (Charlotte) 13-1 (1)
Mike Herbert's two-hitter helped the Panthers beat rival Ardrey Kell 4-1.

2. South Caldwell (Hudson) 10-0 (3)
Four Spartans had two hits each to help the team beat Hibriten 5-0 and continue its hot start.

3. T.C. Roberson (Asheville) 10-1 (2)
Rams bounced back from their first loss with by scoring 10 runs each in wins against Erwin and Asheville.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.
The football playoffs are in full swing (highlighted by Weddington's huge upset of Class 3AA favorite South Point in last weekend's first round), but not to be lost in the mix are this past weekend's cross country state championship meets.

The Class 3A meet had an upset of sorts, as Cardinal Gibbons dethroned two-time defending champ and preseason favorite Chapel Hill. Before the season, Tigers coach Ron Olsen told me that Cardinal Gibbons was one team that was a serious contender this year.

Sure enough, the Crusaders narrowly held off Chapel Hill, 47-48, behind Steven Phillips' first-place finish in a time of 15:49. Chapel Hill's Mitch McLeod (16:08) and Chris Reeder (16:13) finished third and fourth, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Crusaders' seven runners in the top 41 finishers.

In Class 4A action, Mark Blackmon accomplished a rare feat by winning his second state title in as many states. In 2009, Blackmon won the crown at Fort Mill (S.C.) and then after transferring to West Charlotte, the senior finished first again with a time of 15:34.45.

The Broughton boys won the team title, topping Mount Tabor by a count 92-100.

Click here to read more about the state meet results on Dyestat.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Conference titles on the line in Week 10 North Carolina football

October, 27, 2011
Some are looking ahead to the playoffs, but several regular-season finales will have a intense postseason feel with conference titles being on the line. Here are the games to look out for in Week 10 North Carolina football:

No. 9 Richmond at No. 3 Scotland
The SEC title and playoff implications will be on the line in this much-anticipated matchup between top-10 teams. The Fighting Scots enter the contest with great momentum, winning their last four games by nearly 30 points each. All four of those opponents (Purnell Swett, Pinecrest, Lumberton and Hoke County) are ones that Richmond has either lost to or barely defeated in the same span.

The firepower that characterized Richmond at the start of the season has faded some, but there's still playmaking ability in standouts like Steve Houston. The Raiders will have to focus on slowing down Scotland QB Kwashaun Quick, who has picked apart defenses with his dual threat ability.
My pick: Scotland 35, Richmond 24

No. 5 Charlotte Catholic at Olympic
After both teams topped a solid Berry Academy team, they now end the regular season with a makeshift MEGA-7 conference championship. The difference could be made on the defensive end, as Charlotte Catholic has allowed just 14.3 points per game. And when the Cougars D is clicking, it allows sophomore RB Elijah Hood to break big plays like he has all season.
My pick: Charlotte Catholic 27, Olympic 20

No. 7 Wake-Forest Rolesville (9-1) at Leesville Road (9-0)
Few teams in the nation, let alone the state, can score like Leesville Road. The Pride has put up 55.7 points per game and has racked up 63 or more points on three occasions. But they will face their stiffest competition yet this weekend when Wake Forest-Rolesville comes to town. The Cougars can light up the scoreboard, too, and continue to find emerging stars with each passing week. Defense could be at a minimum in this contest, but a big turnover could be the deciding factor.
My pick: Wake Forest-Rolesville 38, Leesville Road, 35

Crest at No. 10 South Point
After a slow start, Crest has emerged as the intimidating squad that most thought the Chargers would be, winning seven straight behind an evolving offense and defensive playmakers Rhaheim Ledbetter and Jonathan Bullard. This duo will be tested, though, by powerful fullback Troy Leeper, who has had his way against most defenses this season.
My pick: South Point 34, Crest 24

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

South Point debuts, Richmond falls in Week 7 NC rankings

October, 3, 2011
After games ending Sunday, Oct. 2.

An upset that few saw coming as well as a powerful squad that keeps on coming highlight this week's POWERADE ESPNHS North Carolina football rankings.

Let's start with the upset. In 34 prior meetings, Richmond had never lost to Hoke County. But that all changed Friday, as the Raiders fell 24-21 in their Southeastern Conference opener. Hoke County forced two fumbles and held the Raiders to just 14 plays in the first half. Richmond held a 21-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bucks went ahead for good on a David Walrath touchdown. Just like that, Richmond went from having Hoke County's numbers to looking up at the Bucks in the conference standings.

Also on Richmond's heels is a surging South Point squad, whom I mentioned last week was on the cusp of entering the top 10. Led by fullback Troy Leeper, the Red Raiders have won their last three games by an average of nearly 41 points, outscored opponents 349-88 and downed a solid Burns program during a 7-0 start. Plus, during last week's 56-7 win against Ashbrook, they unleashed another weapon in quarterback Patrick Horne, who threw for 414 yards and ran for another 159 and two scores. With that type of power (along with the fact that former No. 10 A.L. Brown lost its lone game to a ranked team by 28 points), it's impossible to keep the Red Raiders out of the top 10 any longer.

Nationally, Mallard Creek continued its move up the POWERADE FAB 50 by securing the No. 24 spot while Butler stood pat at No. 39.

Without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Mallard Creek (Charlotte) 6-0 (1)
Mavericks avenged last year's loss in the 4AA West region semifinal, easily beating Vance 55-20 behind quarterback Andrew Goodman's five touchdown passes. The state's top team will play North Mecklenburg this Friday.

2. Butler (Matthews) 5-1 (2)
The Bulldogs posted their first shutout of the season, downing East Mecklenburg, 45-0. Riley Ferguson threw for three touchdowns, two of which went to older brother, Zach. An intriguing matchup against surging Ardrey Kell is up next.

3. Greensboro Page 6-0 (4)
After resting up on their bye week, the Pirates rolled to a 49-0 win against Grimsley and, amid Richmond's loss, cemented their new No. 3 spot. Next up: Ben L. Smith.

Click here for the full POWERADE North Carolina weekly football rankings.

Burns, South Point on cusp of Week 6 NC rankings

September, 26, 2011
After games ending Saturday, Sept. 24

The rich seem to keep getting richer in North Carolina. Mallard Creek and Butler continued to establish their dominance with routes of Lake Norman and Rocky River, respectively. Meanwhile, Richmond, Page, Scotland and Porter Ridge all had time to rest before looking to continue their undefeated runs this week. Thanks to heavy rain showers, No. 8 Garner also got some rest before facing East Wake on Monday, but the Trojans now have two games in one week.

All of these teams should keep a watchful eye on their rearview mirror, though. A.L. Brown appears to be back on track, shutting out its second straight opponent in Central Carrabus. Plus, Burns looked impressive in a 27-26 win against previously undefeated Freedom while South Point continues to roll behind star fullback Troy Leeper.

On the national front, Mallard Creek moved up to No. 27 while Butler re-entered the top 40 at No. 39 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Mallard Creek (Charlotte) 5-0 (1)
Behind Jela Duncan's 192 rushing yards and four touchdowns, the Mavericks blanked Lake Norman, 55-0. Next up: Vance.

2. Butler (Matthews) 4-1 (2)
Sparked by Uriah LeMay's 56-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game, the Bulldogs racked up 312 rushing yards en route to a 52-6 win against Rocky River. A matchup with East Mecklenburg is next.

3. Richmond (Rockingham) 5-0 (3)
The surging Raiders got some time to regroup during their bye week before facing Hoke County this Friday.

Click here for the full POWERADE North Carolina weekly football rankings.

While others rest, conference battles begin in Week 5 NC football

September, 23, 2011
Four of the top 10 teams have byes this week, including Richmond, Page, Scotland and Porter Ridge. Everybody's gotta rest sometime and with a 20-0 combined record, they've earned it. Still, the games must go on, and there are several good conference matchups on slate.

Let me start off by giving some props where props are due. South Point's Troy Leeper has topped the 1,000 yard mark through just five games, doing it all from the fullback position. Fresh off last week's career high 285 yards, Leeper has amassed 1,085 yards and 17 touchdowns to help the Red Raiders put up 47 points per game during their 5-0 start. For more, check out this Charlotte Observer story on the senior phenom.

Now for those enticing games I was talking about...

East Wake (2-3) at No. 8 Garner (5-0)
East Wake has lost three straight games. Garner is undefeated and boasts the powerful backfield tandem of Demetrius Fairley and Juwan Moye, who have combined for 1194 yards. Sounds like a mismatch, and yes, the Trojans should win. But remember three weeks ago, when the Warriors upset defending Class 4AA runners-up Wake Forest-Rolesville? Yeah, I'm sure Garner does, too.
My pick: Garner 38, East Wake 20

Freedom (5-0) at Burns (4-1)
Behind talented QB Michael Helms, Freedom is off to its best start in a decade and is a favorite to win the loaded SMAC conference. But to do, the Patriots must get by a Burns team that has won the last two meetings. The Bulldogs have several solid wins and have their own playmaker in tailback Darius Ramsey. Should be a close one, but I think the more battle-tested Burns pulls this out.
My pick: Burns 28, Freedom 24

Panther Creek (4-1) at Fuquay-Varina (4-1)
Panther Creek has rolled to a 3-0 start in the Tri-Nine conference, boasting tailback David Mayaka and his 610 rushing yards. Meanwhile, Fuquay-Varina has a three-headed monster in rushers Carlton Bridges and Ricky Ferguson and quarterback Evan McNeil. While their records are the same, what separates these two squads is their strength of schedule. The Catamount's four wins have come against teams with losing records after losing 48-0 to undefeated Leesville Road. On the other hand, the Bengals have proven their mettle in a win against previously undefeated Cary and a overtime loss to Middle Creek.
My pick: Fuquay-Varina 30, Panther Creek 17

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

NC rankings stand pat as Mallard Creek and Butler roll in Week 4

September, 19, 2011
At least for this week, North Carolina's top football teams played as expected, with every top-10 squad winning in convincing fashion. Mallard Creek, Butler and Richmond all solidified their spots with blowout victories while Porter Ridge showed its for real in a tough 10-7 win against Providence Day. Also, A.L. Brown bounced back from last week's loss to Porter Ridge in a big way, beating Robinson by a count of 48-0.

Four of the top 10 teams have a bye this week, but watch out for bubble teams like Hillside, which bet Southern Durham behind Khris Francis' 184 yards and three touchdowns, as well as Douglas Byrd and South Point.

Nationally, Mallard Creek continued its move up the rankings by taking over the No. 30 spot while Butler stood pat at No 43 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here's this week's state rankings:

1. Mallard Creek (Charlotte) 4-0 (1)
Coming off a bye week, Mavericks didn't skip a beat, routing Mooresville 45-3 by forcing seven second-half turnovers. Next up: Lake Norman.

2. Butler (Matthews) 3-1 (2)
The Bulldogs showed no mercy to Myers Park, beating the former 3-1 squad by a count of 77-14. A road contest against Rocky River is next on the schedule.

3. Richmond (Rockingham) 5-0 (3)
The Raiders continued their rampage, defeating West Forsyth 41-13. Richmond is now averaging 47.2 points and held opponents to just 17.8 points per contest. Next up: a bye week, followed by a battle with Hoke County.

Click here for the full POWERADE North Carolina weekly rankings.

Scotland triumphes, A.L. Brown loses in Week 4 football

September, 12, 2011
Blame it on the third quarter.

Up until then, No. 7 Jack Britt was sitting on a 9-7 lead and appeared to have the tools necessary to knock off the state's fifth-ranked team. But just as Buccaneers coach Richard Bailey warned against in our Thursday conversation/Friday preview, Scotland's skill players eventually went to work.

Quarterback Kwashaun Quick led the charge, posting 159 of his 284 total yards during the 12-minute period to produce 17 unanswered points and a 27-15 win. Following a lost fumble by the Buccaneers, Quick threw a 28-yard touchdown and ran for a 58-yard score in a 45-second span to push Scotland ahead.

Bailey's hope of mixing it up against the Fighting Scots with a strong rushing attack didn't come to fruition. Jack Britt mustered just 85 yards on 28 carries as a team, sending the Buccaneers to their second loss on the year.

Porter Ridge 41, No. 6 A.L. Brown 13
Skill players also proved to be a problem for Porter Ridge, but an entirely different reason. Six starters sat out Friday's contest, further pushing the advantage to A.L. Brown — or so it seemed.

Pirates quarterback Lee McNeil picked up the slack, passing for 212 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 145 yards and two scores during the big win. McNeil's favorite target on the night proved to be the team's kicker, Stephen Muscarello, who caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Any questions surrounding the mettle of the 4A Pirates, who have played 2A and 3A schools up to this point, were answered Friday. After Wonders standout Damien Washington (215 rushing yards and two scores) cut the deficit to 14-13, Porter Ridge reeled off 27 straight points to make for the final margin.

No. 2 Butler 45, Vance 28
For the first half, Butler looked like its old, dominant self, building a 31-0 lead and outgaining the Cougars 188-8 in total yardage. But a Vance pick-6 before halftime and big return after the break cut the deficit to 31-14. Ultimately, though the Bulldogs' firepower was too much, from Uriah LeMay (118 receiving yards, three total touchdowns) and Josh Glisson (216 rushing yards, two scores) to the Ferguson brothers (Zach: two interceptions; Riley: 267 passing yards, three TDs). Speaking of LeMay, check back later this week for a story on the star junior wideout.

South Point 45, Burns 42 (OT)
A matchup of two top 3A teams lived up to the hype, as South Point won a thriller in overtime. Fullback Troy Leeper paced the Red Raiders with 245 yards and five touchdowns, but kicker Dayton Rogers made the difference, kicking the decisive 27-yard field goal in overtime.

No. 9 Wake Forest-Rolesville 30, Southeast Raleigh 27
Southeast Raleigh QB David Washington put on a first-quarter clinic, racking up 100 passing yards and two touchdowns. But interceptions by Tevin Barnes (a pick-6) and Nighee Walker fueled the Cougars in their comeback victory.

Garner 35, Middle Creek 21
For three quarters, it was smooth sailing for Garner as it piled up 28 points to Middle Creek's zero. But after turning two consecutive stops into touchdowns, it appeared the Mustangs would put together a comeback victory for the second straight week. Garner held on though, blocking a punt to set up an easy score and its fourth win in as many games.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.