All-Gridiron Players to Watch in 2014

The talent pool in North Carolina in strong this season. Thanks to all who nominated their favorite players. Be sure to keep up with all of the Carolina Gridiron 2014 preseason All-Gridiron team.

Defending Champs Lead This Year's Rankings releases Top 15 Rankings every week. Be sure to check back each Thursday to see where your favorite team is ranked.

2014 Coaching Changes

A total of 91 NCHSAA schools made coaching changes before this season. Check out our complete list of coaching changes in North Carolina.

Scrimmages and Jamborees

Thank you to everyone that helped us build our list in 2014. With the regular season underway, our attention is turned towards the action on the gridiron. Please check back here in 2015. With your help, we will once again put together the most comprehensive statewide high school football jamboree/scrimmage in North Carolina.

2014 FAIR Rankings To Be Released During Week 5

Be sure to check back during Week 5 for the updated FAIR Rankings for 2014.

Gardner-Webb’s Lucas Beatty Tabbed FCS National Offensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb quarterback Lucas Beatty passed for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth Saturday against Wofford, and was honored as FCS National Offensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.

Beatty (Charlotte, N.C. / Olympic HS) completed 22-of-33 passes for 233 yards and three scores and punched in a rushing score on a quarterback sneak in the third quarter. He responded with several clutch throws in the game, completing 85.7 percent of his third-down pass attempts. He engineered late scoring drives to end both halves.

With his team facing a 28-14 deficit with no momentum just before halftime, Beatty cranked up the tempo to march Gardner-Webb 52 yards in just six plays. He stepped out of pressure to hit tight end Seth Cranfill on a three-yard touchdown pass with just 6.7 seconds on the clock – trimming Wofford’s lead to one score at the break. He completed 5-of-6 passes on the drive for 37 yards.

Beatty took over late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 36, and again led a key scoring drive. He hit on 4-of-6 passes to spark the 10-play, 59-yard march, eventually connecting on the game winner to All-America receiver and Walter Payton Award candidate Kenny Cook from five yards away and just 2:04 remaining in the game.

Beatty completed six of his final seven pass attempts in the game, and had two different stretches with five consecutive completions. The performance keyed the Runnin’ Bulldogs, who topped 40 points at home against an NCAA Division I foe for the first time since beating Presbyterian, 47-21, on October 18, 2008. The 43 points scored nearly matched Gardner-Webb’s total scoring output (44 points) through the first three games combined.

Gardner-Webb converted 25 first downs and had a season-high 358 yards offensively. Beatty’s distribution of passes was excellent, hitting seven different receivers in the game. The 43-36 win marked the first time Gardner-Webb defeated Wofford in Spangler Stadium since a 36-3 win in 1987.

Beatty also topped the 6,000-yard mark for his career with the performance and now has completed 556-of-911 passes for 6,152 yards and 31 touchdowns in 36 games. He ranks fifth in school history in passing yardage with eight regular season games remaining in his career. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder also has a 10-2 record in his last 12 starts at home, which includes three wins over top-25 opponents.

Beatty graduated in May, 2014, with a degree in business administration and is an Academic All-America candidate after earning first-team Capital One Academic All-District III honors in 2013. He is currently pursuing an MBA at Gardner-Webb.

Gardner-Webb travels to The Citadel this weekend, playing the Bulldogs for the first time on Saturday, September 27 at 6:00 pm in Charleston.

Courtesy of Gardner-Webb Media Services

East Carolina Earns First National Ranking Since 2008 After 3-1 Start

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Following a convincing 70-41 victory over then No. 25 North Carolina Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, East Carolina finds itself nationally-ranked for the first time since 2008 after being tabbed No. 23 in the Associated Press and No. 24 in the USA Today/Amway Coaches Polls Sunday afternoon.

The Pirates, who have gotten off to a 3-1 start under fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill, own consecutive wins over top-25 opponents after downing 17th-ranked Virginia Tech on Sept. 13 before knocking off the Tar Heels. The triumph over North Carolina, which was highlighted by a school-record 789-yard offensive performance, also marked ECU's fourth-straight against an Atlantic Coast Conference member dating back to last year.

The return to the national polls marks a first for East Carolina since 2008 when the Pirates broke in at No. 14 on Sept. 7 after defeating No. 17 Virginia Tech and No. 8 West Virginia to open the season. ECU fell to No. 15 and No. 23 in successive weeks before exiting the poll following a home loss to Houston on Sept. 27.

The Pirates also made AP appearances in 1976 (No. 20/Oct. 19), 1983 (ranked three weeks/No. 20 in final poll), 1991 (ranked eight weeks/program-high No. 9 in final poll) and 1999 (ranked 11 weeks/No. 20 on Dec. 5).

After a bye week, East Carolina will host SMU for its inaugural American Athletic Conference contest on Oct. 4. A kickoff time and television broadcast information is expected to be released by conference officials later this week.

Courtesy of ECU Media Services

Elon Takes Down Charlotte 20-13

ELON – In a game that was decided by turnovers and the kicking game, the Elon Phoenix defeated the Charlotte 49ers 20-13 Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 11,203 at Elon's Rhodes Stadium.

Elon won the toss and deferred, choosing to kick to a Charlotte offense that had been averaging forty-three points a game so far this season. The Forty-Niners never got a chance on their first drive, however, after a fumble gave Elon the ball at the Charlotte 35.

Elon was not able to take advantage of the turnover, though, after a big sack by Tyler DeStafani (Carolina Pride) on third down forced Elon to attempt a fifty yard field goal, which the Phoenix kicker pushed wide.  The Charlotte offense went to work on the next drive, looking to atone for the previous turnover. The Forty-Niners drove down the field through a mix of passes and runs and ended with quarterback Matt Johnson (Maiden) finding Austin Duke (Independence) on a nineteen yard pass across the middle. The Blake Brewer (Cannon School) PAT was true and Charlotte held an early 7-0 lead over the Phoenix. The rest of the first quarter played like two teams figuring each other out and punting when third down conversions failed.

Elon opened the second quarter inside of Charlotte territory. The Phoenix almost got on the board, but quarterback Mike Quinn overthrew Kierre Brown (Independence), who had managed to sneak past the 49er defense. He wouldn't do it a second time, though, as he found the junior wide receiver at the 12:26 mark of the second quarter to tie it at 7.

Charlotte had an opportunity to swing the momentum back in their favor with an interception by redshirt freshman Dustin Croucer, but quarterback Matt Johnson's misread on a pass hit Phoenix linebacker Jonathan Spain (Page) right in the numbers and the Phoenix had the ball in Charlotte territory. Elon was ultimately unable to take advantage of the turnover, punting it back to Charlotte.

The Forty-Niners offense came alive on their next drive, moving almost ninety yards in thirteen plays, aided by two big catches by Austin Duke. But, Kalif Phillips (A.L. Brown) was stopped just short of the goal line on fourth down, ending the drive and allowing the Phoenix to run out the clock to end the half.

The second half seemed to mirror the game play of the first half with the Phoenix marching down the field with the same short passing game that plagued Charlotte defenders in the first half. The Phoenix were forced to settle for a 24 yard John Gallagher field goal. Trailing for the first time this season, the Forty-Niners turned to Blake Brewer to tie up the game with a 27 yard field goal. Not wanting to be outdone by his counterpart, Gallagher added a 26 yarder to help the Phoenix regain the lead, 13-10 for the final points of the quarter.

Elon sought to extend its lead early in the fourth quarter, attempting a 49 yard field goal. The kick was no good, and Charlotte took over possession. A personal foul penalty on Elon gave the 49ers great field position and Blake Brewer tied the game with a 43 yard field goal.

In the fourth quarter, the Phoenix broke the streak of field goals with another scoring pass from Mike Quinn to Kierre Brown. The ensuing PAT made it 20-13 and it was up to the Elon defense to do the rest. And the Phoenix defense responded, coming up with an interception and sack to seal the deal.

This was Elon's first win of the season and the first for new head coach Rich Skrosky. The Phoenix play at Coastal Carolina next week while Charlotte, who fell to 3-1 on the season, will host Charleston Southern.


Scoring Summary

TeamQtrClockTypePlayDrive P-Y-TScore
CHA110:17TDDUKE, Austin 19 yd PASS from JOHNSON, Matt11 - 67 - 3:140-7
ELON212:26TDK. Brown 14 yd PASS from M. Quinn12 - 61 - 4:087-7
PAT KICK by J. Gallagher (GOOD)
ELON311:49FGJ. Gallagher 24 yd10 - 62 - 3:1110-7
CHA308:34FGBREWER, Blake 27 yd9 - 65 - 3:1510-10
ELON305:00FGJ. Gallagher 26 yd10 - 62 - 3:3413-10
CHA411:17FGBREWER, Blake 43 yd7 - 43 - 2:1813-13
ELON403:57TDK. Brown 5 yd PASS from M. Quinn12 - 63 - 4:3320-13
PAT KICK by J. Gallagher (GOOD)

Offense Comparison

Rushing Attempts3834
Average Per Rush3.23.6
Rushing TDs00
Yards Gained168144
Yards Lost4520
Avg Per Completion7.712.4
Passing TDs21
Rushing 1st Downs106
Passing 1st Downs1712
Penalty 1st Downs12
Avg Yds/Play4.74.7

Exchange Three Pairs of Socks For Free Admission to Saturday’s Gardner-Webb Football Game

BOILING SPRINGS – Fans who bring three pairs of socks to donate to charity will receive free admission to Saturday night’s football game between Gardner-Webb and Wofford.

The effort is being made in conjunction with the Family Weekend Sock Drive on campus.

Fans are asked to donate three pairs of new men’s socks at the Henderson Gate ticket location to assist local homeless ministries prepare for winter.

Socks will be distributed to homeless shelters in the region surrounding Gardner-Webb University, as well as additional communities.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 6:00 pm in Ernest W. Spangler Stadium.