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I've been around high school football in North Carolina for a long time.  During that span, I've seen teams come and go and I've seen regions have runs of dominance over the competition.  

 

I think back to the runs the Southeastern 4A has had with Richmond County winning numerous 4A titles, and of course we all remember the ME-CA and Southwestern 4A conferences that ran roughshod over everyone back in the Independence and Butler dynasties, but have we ever seen a conference as stacked as MeCka?  

 

The recent dominance from this league is something I've not seen a while.  A conference so stacked that its top-five teams could probably all compete for and possibly win in multiple other top 4A conferences.  We should all relish in what we've seen, and will see for one final year in this terrific league. 

 

Obviously it doesn't take an expert to say that Mallard Creek is going to win the league. Baring an unforeseen disaster, or maybe insane Charlotte traffic keeping the Mavericks from reaching an opponents field, they will win this league. 

 

Last year it was pretty close, Hough played their A+ game for most of the season and took the Mavs to the brink and defeated them in the regular season only to be humiliated by them later on in the postseason. 

 

This year should be different however, Mallard Creek not only brings back a wealth of experience from their most recent state championship team, they have size and speed to go along with it and should pretty much overwhelm the opposition. 

 

Of course that's not to say that the Mavericks will go 15-0, the schedule is as ambitious as any I've seen from a North Carolina squad.  Road trips to Dillon, S.C. and Rock Hill South Pointe will test their mettle, and hosting national power Byrnes at home gives this team ample opportunities to stub their toe, but something tells me that this year will be different. 

 

I've seen a different look in the eye of the assistant coaches, I've heard a different rumble coming from this squad, and a very quiet, steely eyed approach from veteran head coach Mike Palmieri.  There isn't the chest pounding you may expect from a 3-Peat team, they have a bring your lunchpail to work mentality that scares me and truthfully should scare the competition, and furthermore, they have that same quiet determination that I saw from the Tom Knotts Independence Patriots teams, and we all know what kind of success they had. 

 

I would love to start naming names of the movers and shakers on this team, but honestly, where do you start?  They are so loaded with playmakers, that 75% of the roster probably should be mentioned. 

 

Lets start with Ryan Jones, this 4-star receiver is huge at 6'2/219, and he has the best body control I've seen out of a receiver in NC since Northern Guilford's Keenan Allen.  He is an amazing deep threat, inside threat, and can block well.  He has committed to UNC. 

 

How about the pounders up front, Eric Douglas, T.J. Moore, and Monte Livesy  that anchor that dominating offensive line. 

 

Or what about Darnell Walker who is a great offensive athletes, or Jaquez Taylor at receiver, or Chancery Caldwell at QB?  

 

On defense they will be scary up front, when you have linemen like Grant Gibson who's 6'1/288, Gerald Bass who's 6'0/225, and youngsters like Jordan Davis who is 6'6/318, that gives you a lot of options, or other veterans like Angel Rivera.  Of course I still haven't mentioned the college bound linebackers like Larry Matkins, Kalen Allen, or Cam Lowery

 

The point is, this is one loaded team, quite possibly the most talented team I've seen and I feel bad for the kids I didn't mention. 

 

But we can sit here and talk about Mallard Creek until we're blue in the face, they're not the entire story of this amazing conference. 

 

Look at the squad Aaron Brand has going for him at Vance.  The Cougars may have the most talented quarterback in the state in Kingsley Ifedi.  At 6'4/220, he is a beast and a true talent that will get major opportunities at the next level (Verbal to ECU), and with targets like Nate Jones and Jeremiah Hall, the Cougars will be explosive on offense. 

 

Hough still will be a force as well.  One thing I've learned about head coach Miles Aldridge, is that his teams are always well prepared, very disciplined, and play exceptional football.  While he lost an amazing playmaker to graduation in Marquill Osborne who's headed to Tennessee, they will still have some dangerous playmakers left. 

 

Jackson Gibbs, the grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs is a very mistake free QB with a good arm.  I expect junior Jarrett Nagy will help carry some of the load on offense as well as Rashad Williams who gives the Huskies plenty of punch on the ground. 

 

Speaking of ground game, don't sleep on North Mecklenburg.  The Vikings may be poised to have their best seasons since the Glen Padgett era, and head coach Brad Baker has really established these guys as true hard-nosed contenders. 

 

Junior running back Emanuel Wilson is a true talent and will be a chore to tackle.  At 6'0/215, he is a beast at the high school level. If they can shore up some inexperience on the offensive line, they will be a threat to win nearly every Friday. 

 

The other top team worth mentioning is the Wonders at A.L. Brown in Kannapolis.  It goes without saying that they've been a solid team for a long time, and while they lost a ton of talent (93% of last years offensive production), head coach Mike Newsome has been very excited about this years team and the potential they have. 

 

While it may be tough for the Wonders to match last year's 10-win record, it would not surprise me in the least to see them fight hard and potentially finish as high as second in this league. 

 

The other surprise team that won't really be a surprise to me is West Charlotte.  I think a lot of fans have written them off in recent years, but don't sleep on them, or their head coach Daren Hart who has really brought some life, and much needed organization to this once proud program.  It would not surprise me at all to see them play giant-killers and knock off one of the top, unsuspecting programs. 

 

The relative unknown could be Hopewell.  With a new coach coming down from the prep-school ranks, it's hard to speculate what we'll see, but Brian Hurlocker has a strong background coaching at one time under legendary coach Russell Stone, so we'll give him a chance to build the Titans back up. 

 

Ranking the Coaches of the MeCka (By wins): 

1. Mike Newsome (A.L. Brown): 138-37 (Shrine Bowl '09)

2. Mike Palmieri (Mallard Creek): 96-28

3. Aaron Brand (Vance): 26-14

4. Miles Aldridge (Hough): 22-6 (Multiple wins in SC)

5. Brad Baker (North Meck): 16-28

6. Daren Hart (West Charlotte): 2-9

7. Brian Hurlocker (Hopewell): New Coach in NC

 

Previous Conference Winners: 

2015: Hough

2014: Mallard Creek

2013: Mallard Creek

2012: Mallard Creek

2011: Mallard Creek

2010: Mallard Creek

2009: Mallard Creek

 

My Projections: 

1. Mallard Creek

2. Vance

3. A.L. Brown

4. Hough

5. North Meck

6. West Charlotte

7. Hopewell

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ive always thought coaches make a conference. That top 5 have been in place a minimum of 3 years and have really begun to establish their programs.

 

Last year was a dogfight just about every night. I expect this year to be the same but Chris you are right. Look out for this MC defense. This one could really be scary.

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Footballforever!

 

Other than the 1st season. MC has never lost more than 2 games a season.People have got to just give the guy the credit he deserves.(Although he could care less) Coach Palmieri is that good. He has built a culture that is year round.The bar and expectations for the coaching staff is very high. There is no off season. You should see some of the players that leave, who nobody seems to talk about. A lot of players left the program before the 1st day of practice this year. Strength and conditioning program is unreal.Kids lift year round. A starter for 15-0 South Carolina state championship team will be playing behind a kid who played JV last year.10 seniors have already committed to D1 programs.

 

Out of the new players that decide to make the move and compete for a position. Which is probably less than 5%. 95% of the players @ MC have been with the program since the 9th grade. If you're looking for a program that is obsessed with Football. Look no further than 3825 Johnston Oehler Rd, Charlotte, NC 28269. Lot of programs like the process, but MC is obsessed with the process. 

 

In regards to the BIGS. All the big kids must live in 28269.  :)

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I could see AL Brown, North Meck and Hough all finishing at any spot from #3-5. They'll battle it out and Vance is no lock at #2, but if they avoid the troubles they had last season I think they'll be fine and finish 2nd. 

just came from Brown and saw them scrim Indy, the D is way ahead of the O, not impressed with either team yet other than a little O line size from Indy and the D as a overall group from Brown because its just to early.  I can see Brown just as easy 3rd as 5th just depends on when they bring it together on the O side. they will with ease win the lock games on there schedule, against Hough i think its even, against North Meck they have the edge but if there ever was a year for N Meck to think of beating Brown this may be it(big if) ,, Brown could sweep those two and it come down to them and Vance for 2nd for sure.  I believe Brown is set to scrim Butler Friday at Brown so they are getting the work in for sure.

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When a school is replacing 93% of their offense I'd expect a bit of struggles, they may struggle a bit on O vs Concord, but the D will be key for them all season I think. I can't wait, just 8 days till kick off @ Concord. I'll be there. 

true, i stated at the end of last season the loss of point % scoring from the O would be a struggle for them , but that being said they arn't bad its just a different looking weapon than the big back,high point offense of days past, i call it the learner meaner new look, there D will lead and win alot of games for them, There D as a whole may be there best weapon overall,, My Spiders will be breaking in a new Qb and they like to get 3yrs out of them, so both players will be Soph's this yr, i feel more of a rebuilding year myself and with not many returners. Like all years with the spiders i see the first game against brown the worst idea,  not being in shape yet and then like always building and coming along to peek near the later half of year... hope i'm wrong but my early guess a week out is brown 28-14, lead by there D.

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From studying the great college and pro coaches of all-time, the greats will not tell their squads "what they are going to do" but instead "how they are going to do it".  

 

Work7 hit the ball out of the park when he mentioned the obsession about the process.  If you look at the dynasty teams from college and the pros, you will see an obsession to the process.

 

Here is a video example of the passion of the process at Mallard Creek....

 

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true, i stated at the end of last season the loss of point % scoring from the O would be a struggle for them , but that being said they arn't bad its just a different looking weapon than the big back,high point offense of days past, i call it the learner meaner new look, there D will lead and win alot of games for them, There D as a whole may be there best weapon overall,, My Spiders will be breaking in a new Qb and they like to get 3yrs out of them, so both players will be Soph's this yr, i feel more of a rebuilding year myself and with not many returners. Like all years with the spiders i see the first game against brown the worst idea, not being in shape yet and then like always building and coming along to peek near the later half of year... hope i'm wrong but my early guess a week out is brown 28-14, lead by there D.

jacks2start is a sandbagger,, he knows his spiders are gonna be huge faverites in tge BELL game, we jus hope to compete ;)

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Exceptional job of developing players! Gamecock commit Eric Douglas CpHl3v9WYAAbdRe.jpgCpHl3wRWEAAt7D7.jpg

does it bother anyone besides me that work7 takes so many pictures of teenage boys??? lol

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jacks2start is a sandbagger,, he knows his spiders are gonna be huge faverites in tge BELL game, we jus hope to compete ;)

wish i was, LOL,, butler will tell where it lies a little more.

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Work7,,, im calling u out this year til u meet me for a hotdog,,, jim west said hes buying :)

Only if you take a picture with me! :) 

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Chris,

 

Im curious. You have Hough ranked far ahead of Vance in your power rankings but have Hough 4th here. What has changed your mind?

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Chris,

 

Im curious. You have Hough ranked far ahead of Vance in your power rankings but have Hough 4th here. What has changed your mind?

Wow, are we nitpicking today or what!!!

 

Don't forget those rankings were done months ago. I also have said that the margin between those teams was thin, just like I feel that the teams in the Top-25 from about 11-12th down to 25th, and really down to about 40th is razor thin.

 

After having seen a lot of teams, sure there would be some shuffling if I were to release a Wk.0 ranking before this opening week, but again it's the preseason, they're the hardest rankings of all to do.

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Wow, are we nitpicking today or what!!!

 

Don't forget those rankings were done months ago. I also have said that the margin between those teams was thin, just like I feel that the teams in the Top-25 from about 11-12th down to 25th, and really down to about 40th is razor thin.

 

After having seen a lot of teams, sure there would be some shuffling if I were to release a Wk.0 ranking before this opening week, but again it's the preseason, they're the hardest rankings of all to do.

Not nit picky at all. Just curious if there was something that you have seen or heard that changed your thought process.

 

I thought you had Vance a bit low back then. They have a handful of transfers that i dont think were there in July.

 

Saw Hough Friday.. they are going to be very solid again. I think the top 3 Mecka teams are top 15 in the state.

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