1. Charlotte Christian
Week 1 will go a long way in how long the Cougars hold onto this spot, but no matter what happens against Charlotte Christian, they are too talented and too experienced to fall far. This is coach Mike Brodowicz’s fifth season. His teams have lost four games during that stretch, and he thinks this team has all the makings to be one of his best teams yet.
2. Charlotte Catholic
The Knights have southern Mecklenburg’s best quarterback in Mississippi State commit Garrett Shrader and a wealth of talent surrounding him. That defense is really good, too. This team isn’t the clear-cut favorite to win it all like they probably were last year, but they’re a pretty safe bet to repeat.
3. Myers Park
I predicted the Mustangs to go 10-1 this season in the conference breakdown piece, and I stand by it. Even so, the Myers Park may still be just the third-best team in our coverage area. Myers Park is absolutely loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, but they are also pretty thin in spots. They are in for another huge year, though, but if the Mustangs stay healthy they could challenge for a title.
4. Providence Day
The Chargers are Team 1B in the NCISAA title race to start the season, but they perhaps have more Division 1 guys than any other team. If they can get all of that individual talent and mesh it into one, the Chargers could easily win their first title since 2011.
It looks very strange to see Butler down this far because they’re always good and everyone knows they’ll be very competitive again this year. As always, they have a brutal start with Scotland, Mallard Creek, Richmond and Providence to open the year, but they will again dominate the Southwestern 4A and challenge Myers Park for the league title.
The Panthers were no flash in the pan with last year’s nine wins. They are legit and will compete with defending state champion Harding for So. Meck 7 supremacy. Coach Brad Bowles is looking to turn this program into a consistent winner, and he’s got the players to do it again this year.
7. Charlotte Latin
The defending NCISAA Division II champs enter the Justin Hardin era, where they should thrive. The Hawks are always well-coached and a tough out in their conference, and they will win their share of games and rank among the area’s best teams.