The team we saw on Saturday is named the Top Team in the State

Charlotte Christian, the team Smith played and held their own with on Saturday at Manzi Stadium, has been named the Top Team around……

I was just standing behind this team’s bench yesterday and now they have been named as the top pre-season team in the state of North Carolina or at least they are the Top Team in the Charlotte Observers’ Sweet 16 poll.

The top team in our state usually comes out of Charlotte, more times than not with the great runs by Independence, and you have to think if Charlotte Christian is named #1 in the Charlotte area among all schools, then they would have to be #1 in the entire state……

Here’s the article and read it all from Lanston Wertz Jr. go to and click on the big team picture of Charlotte Christian.

It took 25 years for a private school to start at No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 preseason high school football poll.

Today Charlotte Christian makes history with a team coach Jason Estep believes is better than last season’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association champions.

It was Christian’s first state title since 1992. The Knights enter the 2009 season as heavy favorites to repeat.

“We’re more confident than last year,” said Estep, whose team returns 12 starters and has played in the past two state championship games. “We think we’re better. If we’re developing our program the way we should be, middle school through varsity, we should be better every year.”

Estep said his team is deeper, but still only has 35 players, so injuries are an issue.

“With our (starters),” he said, “we feel we can compete with anybody in town and anybody outside of that, but we’re still not as deep as we’d like to be. If we have injuries, we’re in trouble. Our No. 1 thing is to stay healthy.”

If they’re able to do that, 2009 could be special.

The Knights have what might be the best linebacking core in the state. Ty Linton (North Carolina), David Durham (Ohio State) and Kelby Brown (Duke) have committed to major college programs. New quarterback John Kincaid replaces Luke Bard, but Kincaid threw for more than 400 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 loss to Northern Guilford when Bard was injured last October.

Offensive lineman Sam Fulginiti (6-3, 280) has committed to Elon, and the Knights have added freshman kicker Wes Medeiros, who has been featured in YouTube videos and kicked in a Pittsburgh Steelers training camp with Steelers kicker Jeff Reed holding for him. Medeiros, then 13, regularly hit from 45 yards.

“I think we can be as good as we want to be,” Durham said. “We could be the best team in the state. It’s all up to us. It’s all about team. You see a lot of talented teams not doing so hot because they can’t play as a team. We all love each other and care about each other. That’s what is special.”

The Sweet 16 Poll from Mr. Wertz


No. 1 Charlotte Christian IND 9-3

Trio of linebackers committed to major colleges join deep, experienced team hoping to repeat as state champs for the first time.

No. 2 West Rowan Falcons 3A 15-1
The Falcons won the N.C. 3A title last year and return one of the state’s best players, RB Kevin Parks, and three other Associated Press all-state picks.

No. 3 Butler Bulldogs 4A 12-2
38 lettermen and 14 starters back from a squad that had the most wins in school history. Bigger than in recent years and stocked with Division I talent again.

No. 4 Independence Patriots 4A 13-1
First time since 2001 the Patriots haven’t started No. 1. Independence has one of the state’s best offenses but questions on defense. If they stop people, they might soon return to their old spot.

No. 5 Mallard Creek Mavericks 4A 0-10
27 lettermen and 7 starters return, including a bevy of Division I recruits. QB Marquise Williams, a 6-4 junior, is one of the nation’s best, and the Mavericks have plenty of size and speed.

No. 6 Rock Hill Northwestern Trojans 4A 13-2
Last season, the Trojans reached their first state championship game since 2001. The only team to beat them in ’08 was Division II state champion Rock Hill South Pointe.

No. 7 Kannapolis Brown Wonders 3A 13-3
Six starters return, including 6-foot, 260-pound LB Terrance Howard, who is back after knee injuries his junior year. Brown goes for its 32nd consecutive winning season.

No. 8 Charlotte Catholic Cougars 3A 11-3
The Cougars have played in three of the past four N.C. 3AA championships. Only about seven starters return, but Catholic’s Wing-T offense has looked sharp in preseason. And the last time Catholic’s pass game looked this good, it won a state title.

No. 9 Rock Hill Bearcats 4A 11-3
14 starters return from an S.C. 4A Division I state semifinalist, including RB Tyler Montgomery (1,218 yards, 14 TDs), who missed the ’08 playoffs with a hip injury. Rock Hill was 43-4 this summer in 7-on-7 passing leagues.

No. 10 Boiling Springs Crest Chargers 3A 8-5
QB Reggie Wilkins (841 yards, 13 TDs rushing; 774 yards, 5 TDs passing) leads deep, athletic team. DB Aldrick Watson had five interceptions and lineman Martavis Burris had more than 100 tackles.

No. 11 Rock Hill South Pointe Stallions 4A 15-0
The defending Division II champions start their fourth season. In 2010, the Stallions will drop to 3A for at least two seasons and hope to leave 4A with a repeat state title.

No. 12 Belmont South Point Red Raiders 3A 13-2
Six starters back on defense and QB Josh Justice (700 yards rushing, 6 TDs) and RB Aaron Crumbley (1,900-plus yards, 39 TDs) return on offense. The Red Raiders are poised for a title run.

No. 13 Shelby Golden Lions 2A 9-4
Perennial state title contenders have nine starters back, including six on offense. All-conference FB Michael Copeland (1,038 yards, 17 TDs) will be the featured back this season.

No. 14 East Mecklenburg Eagles 4A 10-3
13 starters return and lots of new faces. Coach Greg Hill said he graduated good players people knew, but has good players people don’t know – yet.

No. 15 Albemarle Bulldogs 1A 12-2
The Bulldogs, always fast and talented, return one of the state’s best kicker/punters in Shane McConlogue. He can change field position in a hurry.

No. 16 (tie) Lancaster, SC, Bruins 4A 10-4
Lancaster won four games in 2007. The Bruins won 10 in ’08 under former Waddell coach Bennie McMurray, who starts his 36th season after leading Lancaster to the S.C. semifinals last season.

No. 16 (tie) West Charlotte 4A 9-4
Expected to challenge Mallard Creek for an I-Meck Conference title, the Lions have a wealth of skill players, including junior running back Jalen “Scoot” Simmons, one of the state’s top players.


  1. Independence is ranked #24 in the nation in the USA Today HS poll, Andy let me know where Charlotte Christian is ranked in that same poll, I will be waiting for your reply.

  2. This is a Charlotte area poll only however there is still some talent in that poll. Independence is in that national poll on reputation. CC is known yet on the national scene. Writers vote for who they know.

  3. The Charlotte area schools don’t want to play Charlotte Christian. They are afraid of losing to CC and that it would make them look bad.

    I still can’t believe what CC is doing and they are doing it with just 35 players…..

    The Charlottte poll gets interesting when you think our guys will play their guys later on in the playoffs.

  4. CC has a great system. Great coaching. They run like a well-oiled machine. They’ll play more athletic teams but not many can execute like CC.

  5. and to think Northern Guilford knocked off Charlotte Christian last year…

    w/ no seniors…

  6. Charlotte Christian is not the best team in the state.

    Thats just good ole Langston Wertz Jr. making a poll that is controversial to get some read and comments out of people on the Charlotte Observer site.

    I think Christian would lose to East, Indy, and Butler. If Providence is back close to a few years ago I will call that an L for Christian.

    If they are like the other teams from there conference they will have very strong coaching, intelligent footballers, robo athletes that are aggressive and very fundamentally sound. I think against the top four to six CMS teams they would keep it close initially but run out of gas due to the numbers and the size difference. I also think they would have a tough time with some of the athletes they would face. Example would be Indy’s receiving corp.

    The poll is not designed for who can beat who head to head unless they actually play. It is more a list of what teams will have the best season in their respective leagues. Langston does not make out the poll but is one of several voters and then delivers it to us.

    Langston did his job, we are all talking about it.

  7. And a good reason why the article ended up on this site.

    Discussion is good for the mind and soul and don’t be surprised to see many of the Charlotte area teams facing some of our Guilford County teams when playoff time rolls around.

    As far as CC being the best, we won’t know if the other CMS schools won’t play them, but I for one hope CC keeps on winning so the speculation will continue…….

    The CC kicker looks like he is 8 years old, but he kicks the ball like he is 28. That kid will be going places other than the Elementary playground.

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