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The fall 2021 football season is less than two months away, and a return to normal is expected after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 season to be postponed this past spring.

There will be some changes in Union County as the realignment of the NCHSAA created a new Union County conference in the 4A classification, while the smaller Monroe, Forest Hills, Parkwood and Central Academy schools in a 3A / 2A split conference will take place.

The first month of the fall 2021 season has a handful of interesting non-conference matches that could set the tone for the rest of the campaign. Here are three of the highly anticipated non-conference games scheduled for the upcoming season.

August 20: Monroe at Marvin Ridge

There should be a barn burner in the first week of the regular season as Monroe and Marvin Ridge clash as non-conference opponents in their first meeting in years.

In the spring, the Redhawks defeated Marvin Ridge, 33-17, thanks to three defensive touchdowns and a big game from senior running back Ricardo Brown. Monroe and Marvin Ridge have traded wins for the past five years, with the Mavericks winning in 2017 and 2019 and the Redhawks in 2016, 2018 and 2021.

This matchup should include two of the top offenses in the county. Monroe returns as starting quarterback Khamoni Robinson and 4-star recipient Shaleak Knotts, while Marvin Ridge quarterback Evan Medders will look to build on a successful freshman campaign starting this spring.

September 3: West Forsyth in Weddington

Weddington couldn’t win a third consecutive 3A state championship this spring as they fell in the state playoffs against Mount Tabor. The Warriors will find out if they’re ready for the 4A title pretty soon when they face 4A Power West Forsyth in a non-conference home game on September 3rd.

That spring, West Forsyth went 4-1 overall, with Davie County’s only loss, 36-35, in overtime in the team’s final regular season game. In 2019 the Titans were 11-2 and fell in the second round of the state playoffs against eventual 4A champion Vance.

Weddington has a lot of production to replace this off-season. The Warriors completed all five starters on the offensive as well as quarterback Dante Casciola. Ascending senior Grady Brosterhous is expected to get his first chance to start quarterback for the Warriors this fall.

September 10th: Butler at Porter Ridge

Porter Ridge is now attending a Union County-only 4A-level conference, but the Pirates won’t be missing out on encounters with some of the best teams in the Charlotte area this fall. Former conference opponent Butler will drop by the Indian Trail on September 10th.

Butler defeated Porter Ridge, 42-21, last season en route to 8-2 aggregate and lost to eventual national champions Grimsley in the 4A semifinals. The good news for the Pirates is that Butler graduated from his top quarterback, running back, and receiver in the off-season.

Expected to start quarterback for Porter Ridge, rising senior Myles Carroll completed 47 of 77 attempts for 708 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions while running for an additional 254 yards and six scores.

In defense, Porter Ridge returns with the all-county talents of the first team Malachi Howell (3.0 sacks, 11.0 tackles if lost) and Stephan Zayachkowsky (35 tackles, 5.0 tackles if lost, two interceptions).

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