|2018 high school football schedule includes intriguing rivalry games|
|Local heavyweights square off early, often|
|Published Friday, August 3, 2018 1:14 am|
Mecklenburg County has some of North Carolina’s best high school football leagues.
It also has the most intriguing games of the season.
A glance at the 2018 schedule reveals a slew of high-profile matchups that will go a long way toward determining The Post’s Magnificent Seven rankings, N.C. 4A playoff seeding and league championships. From opening weekend to the regular-season finale, there are attractive games with major implications.
Does one matchup stand out in a sea of big games? It’s hard to quantify, considering the depth and quality of competition, but here are some of the best must-see contests of the year:
Harding at Hough – The Rams, who are third in the preseason Magnificent Seven, served notice last year they’d be a force with a win against the No. 6 Huskies. This game will likely offer similar conclusions.
• No. 2 Vance at No. 5 West Mecklenburg – Another pairing of Magnificent Seven squads. The Hawks rolled the Cougars last year in the opener, which is more than enough motivation for Vance.
Dutch Fork vs. No. 1 Mallard Creek (Memorial Stadium) – Mecklenburg coaching legend Tom Knotts returns with the S.C. 4A champions.
Mallard Creek, last year’s N.C. 4AA runner-up, has its work cut out early with a daunting early schedule.
Mallard Creek vs. No. 4 Butler (at Sportsplex, Matthews) – Suffice it to say, this is the biggest football game ever played at Sportsplex.
The Mavericks and Bulldogs often measure the early portion of their seasons on the result of this cross-county rivalry, so it’s a big deal.
Richmond Senior at Butler – Richmond isn’t what it used to be, but the Raiders are still pretty good. They always get up for Mecklenburg squads, and this is no exception in what’s expected to be a high-scoring duel.
Harding at Mallard Creek – The Rams threw a scare in Mallard Creek before the Mavericks rallied in the second half to win at Harding. Are the Rams capable of returning the favor at Mallard Creek?
Harding at West Mecklenburg – This westside rivalry game will likely set the stage for the SoMeck 4A title.
The winner sits in the driver’s seat, while the loser will likely need help down the stretch in order to grab the league’s top seed.
Mallard Creek vs. Vance (at UNC Charlotte) – Mavericks-Cougars has turned into one of the county’s best rivalries over the last four years.
The winner won’t wrap up the I-Meck title with a win – Hough and No. 7 North Mecklenburg will have some say late in the schedule – but bragging rights are on the line.
Myers Park at Butler – The Mustangs made their season by knocking off Butler in last year’s state playoffs.
The Bulldogs are not likely to have forgotten the sting, especially if Myers Park is battling for the Southwestern 4A title.
North Mecklenburg at Hough – The I-Meck is top-heavy with outstanding teams. Can the winner of this clash grab first place in a stacked league?
Mallard Creek at North Mecklenburg – Same question, different game.
Mallard Creek at Hough – Half of a pivotal pair of I-Meck 4A games with title and playoff implications.
• North Mecklenburg at Vance – The other half of I-Meck’s judgment day.
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