Christ School’s reward for an 8-1 season in which it outscored opponents 325-145?
A first-round date in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I football playoffs with a powerhouse that has won three state championships the past five years.
The very difficult road opponent in a 7 pm kickoff on Friday is Charlotte Christian (8-1).
The Greenies have had a lot of postseason success recently, reaching the Division II state title game each of the past two years and three times in the past five seasons under coach Mark Moroz.
But extending that level of postseason success will be a huge uphill climb against a program ranked No. 4 in the Charlotte Observer’s Sweet 16 ranking.
And that’s OK with Moroz, who sees his team’s inclusion among Division I not a bad draw but very flattering.
“We’re very excited at a great opportunity to play one of the best teams in the state on any level, public or private,” said Moroz, who is 63-16 in his seventh season with the Greenies.
Charlotte Christian, where NBA standout Steph Curry went to school, has an enrollment of over 1,000 students, more than four times the Greenies’ enrollment of approximately 250.
The Knights feature junior quarterback Garrett Shrader, who has a scholarship offer from Alabama.
“This is a team that beat a real good Hendersonville team (63-14), a team that is ranked fourth in the state by MaxPreps regardless of classification,” said Moroz.
“This will be a good test for us. This is the first time since I’ve been here and I think the first time ever we’ve been Division I. That’s like us being Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State (in the College Football Playoff rankings).
“For us to be considered in the top four, to be in Division I, is a huge accomplishment.”
Christ School’s only loss this season came against Providence Day (8-2), a 42-25 defeat to a team that is also in the four-team Division I playoffs.
Charlotte Christian defeated Providence Day 52-14 earlier this season. The fourth team in Division I postseason play is High Point Christian (9-1), which lost to Charlotte Christian 44-12.
Shrader has thrown for 1,747 yards and 20 touchdowns this season to lead a team that has outscored opposing teams 427-131.
The Christ School offense is paced by junior running back Sidney Gibbs, who has rushed for 1,824 yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games.
Asheville School (4-6), which lost to rival Christ School 47-6 last week, is in the eight-team NCISAA Division III playoffs and will play Friday at Concord First Assembly (5-5).