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December 7, 2013

Mavericks advance to 4AA championship

CHARLOTTE - Coach Mike Palmieri knew he had a special team when the season began. After two straight seasons of double-digit regular season wins followed by losses in the regional finals, Palmieri though this was the team that would finally be able to break through the glass ceiling that the Mavericks had found themselves facing after losses to Page and Butler in 2011 and 2012. And Palmieri was right, as Mallard Creek (15-0) defeated Butler (11-4) 56-14 to advance to the 4AA state championship game.

The offensive star of the game for the Mavericks was running back Lawrence Pittman, who finished the night with 315 yards and four touchdowns. The senior had been garnering Division I interest and will certainly attract more after Friday night's performance. Another key player on offense for the Mavericks in their victory was Jaylen Samuels who added two more touchdowns for Mallard Creek.

The Mallard Creek defense found a way to get on the scoreboard too, recovering a Butler fumble in the end zone in the third quarter. The Mavericks have only given up an average of 9.3 points per game while going 15-0 for the first time in school history.

Butler, who was thought to be in a rebuilding year, surprised many with their deep run in the playoffs. And Coach Brian Hales and the Bulldogs have plenty to be excited about for the future. Anthony Ratliffe, a junior quarterback, ran for two touchdowns in the game. The Bulldogs also have a sophomore running back in Benny Lemay who has found the end zone many times this season.

With the victory in the game, Mallard Creek advances to take on Wake Forest in the 4AA title game and a win would cement the Mavericks as a Charlotte and state power for years to come. Wake Forest, the number twelve seed, defeated Middle Creek 24-23 to advance to their second title game in four years.

Butler-Mallard Creek Photo Feature (Curt Fowler)

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