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Chris Hughes

Charlotte dominance could continue in a big way

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While very similar to the Raleigh/Wake County thread, I think we're on the verge of seeing Charlotte/Mecklenburg dominance grow to new heights for 2016 and beyond. 

 

As I was chatting with a few close coaching friends at this past weekends Shrine Bowl Combine at South Johnston HS, some Raleigh coaches started picking my brain about the Charlotte teams and why so many are so good. 

 

While everyone loves to talk about Mallard Creek, Butler, and Independence, and rightfully so, there is far more to Charlotte football than those three standard-bearers. 

 

As I've said before, I think it's Mallard Creek with a gap, and then everyone else, but I still contend that Butler has closed that gap considerably and I suspect that beginning in 2017 and beyond, the Bulldogs could regain their spot as top-dog in the county and state. 

 

I get hate mail, nasty Twitter responses, and other forms of trash talk every time I start talking about how the Charlotte teams have and will continue to dominate, but unfortunately the truth hurts.  Again, it's not popular for me to say this, but I think there are nearly a dozen teams in Mecklenburg County that are considerably better than even the top perceived teams from other regions. 

 

Lets take Rocky River for instance, while they may be a 6-5 or 7-4 team in the SW4A, I have no doubt whatsoever that if you inserted them into the CAP8, they would most likely be a 10-win team.  I think the exact same thing could be said about East Meck, North Meck, Vance, and possibly even West Charlotte. 

 

Call it what is is, but I think Charlotte teams will continue to put a choke hold on other regions, and while the records may not be impressive during the regular seasons, as in years past, what appears to be sub-par Charlotte teams will do numbers on perceived top-dogs from around the state. 

 

While I try to be fair, balanced, and spread out the love the best I can when doing my research and putting together the CP Top-25 Power Rankings, I truly feel that nearly half of the 4A squads could be from Mecklenburg County this year. 

 

Mallard Creek

Butler

Charlotte Catholic

Myers Park

South Meck

Hough

Vance

Rocky River

East Meck

Ardrey Kell

Providence

West Charlotte

Independence

 

 

 

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The only team I have seen that I feel would have finished top 5 or better in the West was 2014 Wake county. Partially because I thought that was a good team. I also think that was a softer year in Meck county.

 

I believe right now is one of the most competitive times in Meck county history. I think this is the case largely because of depth in the HC ranks.

 

That said it could switch quickly as two of top guys in Hales and Palmieri are reaching a point where you have to wonder if the cash draw might be too much.

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A key element of this is the continued growth in population in the Charlotte MSA. It's one of the fastest growing metros in the country. Recent data shows that about 75,000 people per year move to the Charlotte MSA. To put that in perspective, it would be like the whole city of Asheville moving to Charlotte every year.

 

I also agree that most middle of the pack 4A teams in the Charlotte metro area would have significantly greater success in most other metros around the state. We'd be lying if we didn't say that no less than half the top 25 4A teams in the state reside in greater Charlotte. Charlotte has done a tremendous job in growing football culture at the high school level. Administrators, AD's and coaches get it. They put time and resources into those programs knowing how they benefit the school as a whole. It's a snowball affect.

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I looked at the Observer's Top 25 rising seniors in NC yesterday.  4 of the 25 are from Mallard Creek alone.  Only one was from "The West" and that was a DT at Freedom.  I dare say that Triad area football is better than Wake-Raleigh Metro.

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Generally speaking, the Indy, butler and mallard creek school districts also benefit greatly from what i would call an abundance of solid middle income housing. In a growing MSA like Charlotte where in certain areas housing starts at the 300's with little to no options below that, the areas of Indy, butler and the creek are much more "attainable" for a large portion of the population that is living or moving to the Charlotte area. Not to say these areas still don't have high income housing because they do but I think you'll find much more middle income housing than in south Meck, providence, Myers park, etc

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Generally speaking, the Indy, butler and mallard creek school districts also benefit greatly from what i would call an abundance of solid middle income housing. In a growing MSA like Charlotte where in certain areas housing starts at the 300's with little to no options below that, the areas of Indy, butler and the creek are much more "attainable" for a large portion of the population that is living or moving to the Charlotte area. Not to say these areas still don't have high income housing because they do but I think you'll find much more middle income housing than in south Meck, providence, Myers park, etc

That is 100% the case.

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Would you say that West Meck, East Meck, Olympic, Vance, and Rocky River also have the same type of neighborhoods.

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Would you say that West Meck, East Meck, Olympic, Vance, and Rocky River also have the same type of neighborhoods.

Yes in varying levels. The growth in Charlotte mirrors the 485 corridor especially West and North now. East Meck and Vance are mostly inside that corridor and while real estate probably skews a bit lower they have much less new growth.

 

The farther you go North or South the higher the housing prices get. Huntersville used to be 10-15% higher than University area. My guess is that number has increased.

 

The area between Olympic and South Meck along the state line is experiencing big growth on both sides of the border as is the North Meck / Hough area especially east of 77.

 

At some point new high schools will be built and it is those areas that will most likely see them. That will change the competitive balance as it always does.

 

I have always thought that West Meck with a good stable coaching staff could be a potential powerhouse. They have had some good teams and as recent as 2013 had Shaun Wilson( Duke),Van Smith ( Clemson) and Jalen McClendon ( nc state) all on the same squad.

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