9-22-21 roundup: Pro football and baseball, College football and baseball, High school football and boys soccer, Middle school football and softball

By Richard Walker

Can the Carolina Panthers’ defense keep it up? And can the offense continue it fast starts?

If Carolina can keep doing both, the Panthers will become the first 3-0 team in the NFL this season if they can win Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. game at the Houston Texans.

The Panthers also are seeking their first 3-0 start since the 2015 season in which they won their first 14 games and advanced all the way to the Super Bowl.

Coach Matt Rhule’s team has overwhelmed back-to-back opponents at Bank of America Stadium with dominating first halves.

In a 19-14 win over the New Jets in the Sept. 12 season-opener, Carolina led 16-0 at halftime.

Then last week in a 26-7 win over the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers led 17-0 at halftime.

In addition to outscoring opponents 33-0 in the opening half this season, Carolina has outgained its opponents 450-124 before halftime so far this season.

The Panthers’ defense ranks first or second in virtually every defensive category in the 32-team NFL.

Last week’s performance three historic efforts:

New Orleans’ four yards rushing in the first half was the lowest by a Panthers’ opponent since they limited San Francisco to three yards in the 2017 opener.

New Orleans’ 19 yards passing in the second half was the lowest by a Panthers’ opponent since they limited Green Bay to 13 yards on Dec. 19, 2020.

And the Saints’ 128 yards total offense was the fewest by New Orleans in the long and successful tenure of head coach Sean Payton, who became that team’s head coach in the 2006 season.

Carolina will need to improve upon their NFL Network Thursday night history to improve to 3-0 on the season; The Panthers are only 2-8 in NFL Network Thursday night games and have lost five straight games.

Here is the Carolina Panthers’ 2021 regular season schedule:

Sept. 12 New York Jets (W 19-14)
Sept. 19 New Orleans (W 26-7)
Sept. 23 at Houston, 8:20 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Dallas, 1 p.m.
Oct. 10 Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Oct. 17 Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Oct. 24 at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Nov. 7 New England, 1 p.m.
Nov. 14 at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Nov. 21 Washington, 1 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Miami, 1 p.m.
Dec. 12 Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 or 19 at Buffalo, TBD
Dec. 26 Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Jan. 2 at New Orleans, 1 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m




College baseball

The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Charlotte Knights have announced the 2022 ACC Baseball Championship will return to Charlotte’s Truist Field in Charlotte from May 24-29.

Nearly 59,000 fans attended the 2021 ACC Baseball Championship in Charlotte, which ranks as the fifth-highest attendance in tournament history and the highest since 2015.

“We’re excited to have the ACC Baseball Championship return to the city of Charlotte for the second consecutive year,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said in a news release. “The Charlotte Knights, in conjunction with the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and Visit Charlotte, continue to be outstanding partners. Our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans enjoyed a tremendous experience in Charlotte during the 2021 event, and we know that will only continue as we all look forward to our 2022 ACC Baseball Championship.”

The ACC Baseball Championship has been held at the Knights home stadium three times; Georgia Tech won the 2000 championship and Wake Forest the 2001 title at Knights Castle in Fort Mill, S.C., and Duke won the 2021 championship at Truist Field.

“We are very pleased to host the 2022 ACC Baseball Championship at Truist Field in Uptown Charlotte,” Charlotte Knights Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski said in a new release.. “We would once again like to thank the ACC for its commitment in bringing this week-long collegiate baseball tournament to our region. We’re also very pleased with the continued support from the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, as well as our great partners at the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the Charlotte Sports Foundation.”

Located in Uptown Charlotte, Truist Field opened in 2014 and is the host facility for the Charlotte Knights, a Triple-A minor league baseball team. The stadium hosted the 2016 Triple-A All-Star Game and has been the site of more than 25 college baseball games. Stadium capacity is 10,200 and has hosted more than four million fans since opening.




High school football

Here are standings through Sept. 17 with conference record listed first followed by overall record:

Crest 2-0, 2-1
Kings Mountain 1-0, 3-1
South Point 1-0, 3-1
Forestview 1-0, 2-2
Cramer 0-1, 2-2
Ashbrook 0-1, 0-2
Huss 0-1, 0-2
North Gaston 0-2, 0-5

Statesville 1-0, 3-0
Hickory 1-0, 2-2
North Iredell 1-0, 1-2
St. Stephens 1-0, 1-2
East Lincoln 0-1, 3-1
North Lincoln 0-1, 2-2
West Iredell 0-1, 0-2
Foard 0-1, 0-3

Bunker Hill 1-0, 4-0
West Lincoln 1-0, 4-0
Newton-Conover 1-0, 1-2
Maiden 0-0, 3-0
East Burke 0-0, 1-1
Bandys 0-1, 2-1
West Caldwell 0-1, 0-3
Lincolnton 0-1, 0-4

Thomas Jefferson 1-0, 3-0
Shelby 1-0, 3-1
Burns 1-0, 3-2
East Gaston 0-0, 2-2
Cherryville 0-1, 1-3
Bessemer City 0-1, 1-4
Highland Tech 0-1, 0-4

Olympic 1-0, 4-0
Myers Park 1-0, 3-2
Kell 0-0, 3-1
South Meck 0-0, 4-1
Harding 0-1, 2-3
Berry Academy 0-1, 1-2

Catholic 1-0, 3-1
Butler 1-0, 2-2
Rocky River 1-0, 2-3
Independence 0-0, 1-2
Providence 0-1, 1-3
Garinger 0-1, 0-4
East Meck 0-1, 0-5

Chambers 1-0, 5-0
Hough 1-0, 4-0
Mallard Creek 1-0, 2-1
Hopewell 0-0, 1-3
West Charlotte 0-1, 3-1
West Meck 0-1, 3-2
North Meck 0-1, 2-2

Chase 0-0, 4-0
Clover 0-0, 1-2
Mtn Island Charter 0-0, 3-0
R-S Central 0-1, 0-3

Friday’s games

Ashbrook at Forestview
Cramer at Crest
East Gaston at Cherryville
Hickory at North Lincoln
Highland Tech at Bessemer City
Lincolnton at Newton-Conover
Maiden at West Lincoln
Mountain Island Charter at Community School of Davidson
North Gaston at Kings Mountain
Shelby at Thomas Jefferson
Statesville at East Lincoln
South Point at Huss

Rock Hill, S.C. at Clover, S.C.
North Iredell at St. Stephens
West Iredell at Foard
East Burke at Bandys
West Caldwell at Bunker Hill
Chambers-Hough at Charlotte Memorial Stadium
Mallard Creek at Hopewell
West Meck at West Charlotte
Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons at Myers Park
South Meck at Berry Academy
East Meck at Garinger
Independence at Charlotte Catholic
Providence at Butler
Chase at McDowell
Brevard at R-S Central






High school boys soccer

Here are the standings through Sept. 23 with conference record listed first followed by overall record:

Cramer 3-0, 9-2
Forestview 3-0, 6-2-1
South Point 2-1, 6-4
Ashbrook 2-1, 3-2
Huss 1-2, 4-2
Kings Mountain 1-2, 2-5
North Gaston 0-3, 2-5-1
Crest 0-3, 0-7

Shelby 3-0, 8-1-1
Highland Tech 2-0, 4-2
Burns 2-2, 5-2-1
Thomas Jefferson 1-1, 1-3
East Gaston 1-2, 2-8
Cherryville 0-2, 1-4-1
Bessemer City 0-2, 1-5

East Lincoln 4-0, 6-3
Lincoln Charter 0-1, 4-4-1
Lincolnton 3-0, 5-0-1
Mtn Island Charter 0-2, 3-5
North Lincoln 0-2, 4-5
Piedmont CC 2-0, 4-1
West Lincoln 0-4, 2-9

This week’s schedule:

Lincolnton 3, Bandys 0
East Lincoln 6, Statesville 0
Shelby 1, East Henderson 1
Forestview 5, Kings Mountain 2
Cramer 7, Huss 0
Langtree Charter 5, Lincoln Charter 1
Ashbrook 4, North Gaston 3 (2 OT)
Hickory 6, North Lincoln 1
Pine Lake Prep 6, Mountain Island Charter 0
South Point 8, Crest 0
Bunker Hill 6, West Lincoln 1

Shelby 3, Burns 2
Cherryville at Thomas Jefferson, ppd., Sept. 27
Highland Tech at East Gaston, ppd., Sept. 27
Kings Mountain at Alexander Central, ppd., Oct. 14

Ashbrook at Cramer, no report
Crest at North Gaston, ppd., Sept. 30
Huss at Forestview, ppd., Sept. 23
Kings Mountain at South Point, no report
Lincoln Charter at Christ the King, no report
Lincolnton at West Caldwell, no report
Community School of Davidson 3, Mountain Island Charter 0
East Lincoln 9, West Iredell 0
Newton-Conover 9, West Lincoln 0

Cherryville at Burns
East Gaston at Bessemer City
Huss at Forestview
Piedmont CC at Carolina International
Thomas Jefferson at Highland Tech




College football

Here’s the Carolinas Division I football schedule for this week:
Marshall at Appalachian State, 6:30 p.m.

Middle Tennessee at Charlotte, 6:30 p.m.
Wake Forest at Virginia, 5 p.m.

Massachusetts at Coastal Carolina, noon
Wofford at VMI, 1:30 p.m.
Mercer at Furman, 2 p.m.
William & Mary at Elon, 2 p.m.
Clemson at N.C. State, 3:30 p.m.
Kansas at Duke, 4 p.m.
Charleston Southern at East Carolina, 6 p.m.
N.C. Central at N.C. A&T, 6 p.m.
Western Carolina at Gardner-Webb, 6 p.m.
Kentucky at South Carolina, 7 p.m.
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 7:30 p.m.

Here’s the Carolinas Division II football schedule for this week:
Chowan at St. Augustine’s, 1 p.m.
Fairmont State at UNC-Pembroke, 1 p.m.
North Greenville at Erskine, 1 p.m.
Shaw at Lincoln, Pa., 1 p.m.
Virginia Union at J.C. Smith, 1 p.m.
Newberry at Tusculum, 1:30 p.m.
Elizabeth City State at Winston-Salem State, 2:30 p.m.
Bowie State at Livingstone, 4 p.m.
Catawba at Wingate, 6 p.m.
Mars Hill at Lenoir-Rhyne, 6 p.m.
Barton at Limestone, 7 p.m.
Virginia State at Fayetteville State, 7 p.m.



Middle school football

Gaston County Conference standings through Sept. 15 with division record listed first followed by overall record:

(Division I)
Southwest 2-0, 4-0
Grier 1-0, 3-0
Holbrook 1-0, 3-0
Cramerton 0-2, 2-2
Mount Holly 0-2, 0-3-1
(Division II)
York Chester 2-0, 2-1-1
Belmont 2-0, 2-2
W.C. Friday 1-1, 2-2
Stanley 1-1, 1-2
Bessemer City 1-2, 1-4
Chavis 0-3, 0-4

Wednesday’s games
Cramerton at Mount Holly, ppd., Thursday
Holbrook at Grier, ppd., Thursday
Belmont at W.C. Friday, ppd., Thursday
Bessemer City 40, Chavis 14: Achellies Littlejohn had two rushing touchdowns and Walt McCoy had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown for Bessemer City.
Stanley at York Chester, ppd., Thursday

Sept. 29 games
Grier at Mount Holly
Holbrook at Southwest
Belmont at Chavis
Bessemer City at Stanley
W.C. Friday at York Chester

Tri-County Conference standings through Sept. 22 with division record listed first followed by overall record:

Kings Mountain 2-0, 2-1
East Lincoln 1-0, 2-0
North Lincoln 1-0, 2-0
Lincolnton 0-1, 1-1
West Lincoln 0-1, 0-2
Burns 0-2, 0-2
Shelby 1-0, 3-0
Thomas Jefferson 1-0, 1-1
Crest 0-0, 0-1
East Rutherford 0-0, 0-1
R-S Central 0-1, 1-1
Chase 0-1, 0-2

Wednesday’s games
East Rutherford at Chase, ppd., Thursday
Crest at R-S Central, ppd., Thursday
Shelby at Thomas Jefferson, ppd., Thursday
Kings Mountain 6, Burns 0: Josiah Hill scored the touchdown for Kings Mountain.
North Lincoln at East Lincoln, ppd., Thursday
West Lincoln at Lincolnton, ppd., Oct. 20

Sept. 29 games
East Rutherford at Shelby
Thomas Jefferson at R-S Central
Chase at Crest
Burns at Kings Mountain
North Lincoln at East Lincoln
West Lincoln at Lincolnton




Middle school softball

Gaston County Conference standings through Sept. 20:

Cramerton 5-0 (6-0 overall)
Chavis 5-0
Mount Holly 5-2
Belmont 4-2
Stanley 4-2
Holbrook 3-4
Bessemer City 2-4 (2-5 overall)
W.C. Friday 2-5
Grier 1-5
Southwest 0-7

Wednesday’s game
Cramerton at Southwest, ppd., Sept. 28

Thursday’s games
Grier at Chavis
Holbrook at Bessemer City
Mount Holly at Belmont
W.C. Friday at Cramerton






Pro baseball

The Gastonia Honey Hunters game at West Virginia on Wednesday was postponed by inclement weather. Gastonia (45-57) plays at West Virginia again on Thursday.