There are terrific football games each and every night in Union County. As fans, we know it’s impossible to get to each and every game, but here are six that you don’t want to miss and that we guarantee will be worth the price of admission.
Aug. 31: Porter Ridge at Weddington
This is a juicy matchup with two county heavyweights going head to head. Weddington has won three of five games in the series, including last year’s nine-point win. The Warriors are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and are expected to be one of the county’s top teams. The Pirates, however, would love to play spoiler in their first of two consecutive extremely tough opponents.
Sept. 7: Sun Valley at Porter Ridge
This is an intriguing non-conference battle in the final game before the conference gauntlet begins for each team. The Spartans, with quarterback Sam Howell and Co., lost by three points in the regional final and are expected to be good again. The Pirates have been steady under coach Mike Hertz, but this is the year they could break out with Grayson McCall and Jaylen Coleman leading a potent offense. These teams played to a 42-41 overtime thriller last season, and the same is expected this time around, but the Spartans have won five in a row in the series.
Sept. 21: Charlotte Catholic at Monroe
The Redhawks won their opener and looked great doing it. The Cougars lost their opener and didn’t look so good on offense when it mattered the most. The Catholic defense was on point, though, holding a vaunted Charlotte Christian offense to just six points. This will be the conference opener for both teams. How will they respond? Will Monroe become a contender this year in a league packed with talent? Will the Cougars go unbeaten again and steamroll their way to another state title? We will find out on this night.
Sept. 21: Weddington at Sun Valley
These two are expected to challenge Charlotte Catholic for the rights to the league championship, but this game is an early season test that kicks off the conference schedule for both teams. After the Spartans won eight straight in the head-to-head matchups from 2006 to 2013, the Warriors have rebounded to win four straight, including last year’s 36-35 thriller. But remember, Sun Valley star QB Sam Howell missed the second half of that game and the Spartans had wide receiver Anthony Marple at quarterback. Howell is back, and the Warriors must be careful because they have Catholic up the following week. A split in those two games would be good, whereas an 0-2 stretch could eliminate Weddington from the league championship race.
Nov. 2: Marvin Ridge at Charlotte Catholic
These teams met in the regular season finale last year with both teams unbeaten. I don’t see the Mavs being unbeaten at that point having gone through Weddington on the road and Sun Valley at home in the two weeks before this. I think Catholic has a chance to be undefeated at this point again if they can take care of Charlotte Christian in Week 1. At any rate, this could go a long way in determining how the league will shake out.
Nov. 9: Who is going to make a run?
The first round of the playoffs are going to be interesting. I think Metrolina Christian, Weddington, Charlotte Catholic, Marvin Ridge, Porter Ridge and Sun Valley all have a chance to not only make the playoffs, but challenge for titles. Could teams like Cuthbertson and Monroe become contenders? We’ll see, but buckle up because it’s going to be a fun ride to get to that point.