Butler-Mallard Creek matchup headlines opening night

The Butler defensive backfield will have its hands full on Friday, Aug. 17, when the Bulldogs face Mallard Creek at Memorial Stadium. The Bulldogs’ secondary features (from left) Robbie Kinneburgh, Malachi Hanes, David Moore and Jordan Henry. Michigan recruit Channing Stribling (not pictured) also is a standout with the group.

The opening week of the 2012 high school football season features a doozey right off the bat.

Butler High School, which is No. 1 in Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s Southern Mecklenburg Preseason Super 7 rankings, begins its pursuit of its third state title in four years by taking on new rival Mallard Creek on Friday, Aug. 17.

In the eyes of many area fans, the Butler-Mallard Creek game has become one of the county’s most appealing matchups because both programs are among the best in the state, if not the nation. It also matters that Mallard Creek ended the Bulldogs’ 31-game winning streak in last year’s season-opener. It was one of just two losses for the Bulldogs last season, who finished 11-2 and reached the third round of the Class 4AA state playoffs.

This year’s season-opening contest will be played at Memorial Stadium in uptown Charlotte, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

But while the Butler-Mallard Creek game is taking center stage Friday, it’s not the only highly anticipated game involving Matthews-Mint Hill teams, as Independence and Rocky River also will take the field.

Independence, which is ranked fifth in the Southern Mecklenburg Super 7, plays host to Hough. The game is expected to be the final home opener for Patriots coach Bill Geiler, who said he will step down at the conclusion of the season.

Also on Friday, unranked Rocky River travels across town to take on up-and-coming West Mecklenburg. Rocky River is looking to repeat last year’s season-opening win over the Hawks, which was the first football victory in school history for the Ravens.

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