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State champ Harding No. 1 in final Magnificent Seven rankings
Rams won N.C. 4A title; first since 1953
 
Published Sunday, December 17, 2017 5:12 pm
by Herbert L. White

PHOTO | HARDING UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL
N.C. 4A champion Harding High is No. 1 in The Post's Magnificent Seven football rankings, a first for the school.

There’s a new No. 1 and Magnificent Seven champion.


Harding High, which won the N.C. 4A football title Saturday with a 30-22 win against Scotland County, capped the season with its first Magnificent Seven championship, joining Mallard Creek, Butler and Charlotte Catholic. The Rams, who finished 14-1, were 1-10 three seasons ago when coach Sam Greiner took over the program.

Mallard Creek, which was No. 1 for 14 weeks, slipped to second after losing 21-0 to Wake Forest in the 4AA championship game.

The Mavericks were the top seed in the West Region in 4AA and made their fourth finals appearance in five seasons. Harding, likewise was the top seed in the 4A West draw but last made a state championship appearance in 1987. Their last win was in 1953.

The Rams are the only team outside the I-Meck to make the top four. Hough, which lost to Mallard Creek in the 4AA West final, is third.

This final rankings:

1. Harding (14-1) – The Rams’ transformation from doormat to champs took just three seasons. Coach Sam Greiner was nothing short of brilliant in rebuilding the program from scratch1

2. Mallard Creek (14-1) – Aside from falling short in the state final, the Mavericks were a far better team than the group that lost in the second round of the 2016 tournament.

3. Hough (11-4) – The Huskies were pretty frisky with first-year coach Matthew Jenkins running the show. Half of their losses were to Mallard Creek.

4. Vance (11-4) – The Cougars recovered from a 3-2 start to a third straight appearance in the 4A region championship game. They still haven’t advanced to the state title round.

5.  Myers Park (12-2) – The Mustangs were good, but left expectations on the table. Toppling Butler is an elusive goal.

6. North Mecklenburg (9-4) – The Vikings were better than anyone expected in 2017 and have every reason to expect another competitive season in 2018.

7. Providence (9-4) – Brad Bowles pointed the Panthers in the right direction. The SoMeck 4A will be really competitive next year, and Providence should be in the mix.

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