Charlotte Christian football coach Jason Estep wanted to make sure his team would be ready when conference play began, so he frontloaded the Knights’ schedule with tough opponents. On paper, the Knights were struggling, as they began with a 2-3 record, but Estep believed it would help in the long run.
Last week, the Knights beat Super 7 No. 2 and previously unbeaten Charlotte Country Day, 27-21. And with a 5-3 record, including a 2-0 mark in the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association, Charlotte Christian is right where it wants to be: in the driver’s seat for the conference championship.
“That win (against Country Day) was huge,” said Estep, who leads the only CISAA squad with two conference victories. “In our league, when you only play three games, each game is important. We put our guys in position to make plays, and they responded. We talk about it all the time that we want to be one of the teams who are playing our best when it matters.”
The Knights showed a flair for the dramatic in the Country Day victory, as junior tight end Jeb Blazevich hauled in a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eric Lynch in the final minutes. It was the only catch of the game for the 6-foot-5 Blazevich, who already has scholarship offers from several major-college programs.
Christian has won three consecutive games and closes the season on Oct. 26 with a huge game against defending state champion Providence Day. A win would make the Knights the outright conference champions.
But first, Estep will lead his team to Raleigh Ravenscroft on Friday, Oct. 19.
“They are a 3-4 (defensive) team, and they bring a lot of pressure on defense and they run the Spread and the Power-I and mix it up a lot offensively,” Estep said. ”Last year we went up there and laid an egg (in a defeat), but I think we’ll be ready this time.
“This is an important game. They’re all important, but this is another common opponent and a team in our state association. They are aggressive, but Country Day was able to put up points (in a 41-7 win on Sept. 21), and we’ll look to do the same.”
Estep said for the most part his Knights are healthy, something a lot of teams can’t say at this point in the season, and are playing some of their best football.
“We’re playing well right now, but we have to make sure we continue this,” Estep said. “Providence Day is a good team, and we lost to Ravenscroft last year, so we have to be ready. I think we’re in a good spot right now.”