Larry Sullivan mug

Larry Sullivan

Ring-ring! Ring-ring!

The phone calls keep right on coming to the Mooresville High School football operations office. They are made direct and from long distance. And none of them are collect. In fact, the ones making the connection on the other end are eager to foot the cost.

The reason is a simple one.

The Blue Devils, whose own campaign stretched for a second straight season into the second round of the still ongoing N.C. High School Athletic Association’s playoffs, still can’t keep from talking about football on a strategic level to all making the incoming phone calls. The Devils remain one of the last teams to actually give one of the remaining teams still in action entering the upcoming next-to-the-last round of statewide postseason play a major fit.

Flash back to the past. In the second week of play in the talented I-Meck Conference, Mooresville paired up opposite a Vance entry in memorable play held at Richardson Field on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. With both teams at the time coming off defeats in their respective circuit openers the previous week, each entered play in a near must-win situation.

Matters evolving out of the field reflected the importance. The two teams scrapped one another on dead-even terms during the course of regulation play for force overtime. Then and only then did the Devils bend and endure the loss. But the effort was not overlooked by any and all caring to take a closer look.

As it turned out, it was as close as only one other team since that second weekend in October has come to dealing Vance a loss.

Flash forward now to the present.

The Cougars, competing as participants in the larger-enrollment 4AA class field, earned the right to reach this week’s NCHSAA West Regional finals serving as the equivalent to the state semifinals. Vance is on track to take on a Richmond Senior entry boasting of an undefeated record, a number-one ranking in the area-wide Sweet 16 poll and a prohibitive favorite’s role to capture the state’s top title within its largest classification.

As a result, Mooresville keeps fielding calls asking for the way it was able to keep Vance well within striking distance during that regular-season meeting.

It marks the third straight season in which the I-Meck, considered one of the premier football based conferences in the state, will be represented as far as the state’s semifinal round. Vance is making its second consecutive such dig after making it all the way to the championship contest last year. The year before that, I-Meck member Mallard Creek reached the finals as well.

Should Vance somewhat manage to maintain its push and register a third straight surprising outcome on the home field of a higher-seeded foe, expect an even additional number of phone calls to reach the Blue Devils’ football office.

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