|Independence High School|
|Charlotte, North Carolina, US|
|Number of students||3000(approx.)|
|Color(s)||Green and Gold|
|Information||1967 Patriot Dr, (980) 343-6900|
Independence High School (or, The Big I) is a high school in Mint Hill, North Carolina near southeast Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. The school mascot is the Patriots and the school colors are green and gold.
Independence is known locally for students' academic achievements. Independence is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools high school. Contrary to popular belief of non Charlotte residents the school does not have magnet programs as many schools in the county have. The International Baccalaureate program was relocated to another school several years ago. In 2006, more than twenty students participated in an exam to be able to attend the Governor's School of North Carolina, a state-sponsored program for extremely gifted students, begun by NC senator Terry Sanford. The previous year, six students from Independence met all the requirements to participate in the School. The requirements include writing two essays and receiving teacher recommendations. Though school officials expected more students to be accepted into the program, only two students made the cut in 2007
In sports, Independence High School, also known as "the Big I"or"Indy" is a member of the Southwestern 4-A Conference, along with the following schools:
Most notably, the Independence varsity football team, coached by Tom Knotts, won 109 straight games and won seven straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) State Championships (4-AA). As of November 24, 2006, the Big I held the second longest winning streak in high school prep football, and also held the most consecutive wins in US public high school football history. Their streak was ended, however, On September 1, 2007 when Cincinnati's Elder High School defeated Independence in overtime, 41-34. De La Salle High School (Concord, California) holds the longest winning record in football, at any level (high school, collegiate, and professional) in the United States (151 Wins from 1992-2005).
The Patriots continued the winning streak even in the absence of Head Coach Tom Knotts. Coach Knotts left for a season to be the quarterbacks coach for Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) Blue Devils football program, but returned to Independence after a single season at his alma mater.
During the 2006-2007 season, ESPNU was prepared to televise the November 3 Independence vs. Butler matchup, but North Carolina High School Athletic Association rules prohibit the live broadcast of regular season high school football contests on Friday night. Because it was the last Friday of the regular season the playoff brackets were scheduled to be published the next afternoon making a Saturday game impossible. In that game, the Patriots squared off against the RB Ryan Houston-led David W. Butler High School Bulldogs, another Charlotte-Mecklenburg School, located in neighboring Matthews, North Carolina. The game was played at American Legion Memorial Stadium, located in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Butler, a formidable adversary, was touted as the one team in that season which might actually end the Patriots winning streak, but the Patriots squeaked out yet another win in double overtime. Butlers' Ryan Houston fumbled in the first half of the second overtime period. Independence tailback Dequan Leak scored three plays later and the game was over.
The NCHSAA sold broadcast rights for the state finals to News 14 Carolina and that game was carried live on December 9, 2006. The game was played at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, against the Riverside High School Pirates (Durham, N.C.). The Patriots handily defeated the Pirates 49 to 19.
In recognition of their long winning streak, the football team was invited to appear on the NFL pre-game show before the Carolina Panthers game on Sunday, October 1, 2006. Independence alums QB Chris Leak and WR Mohamed Massaquoi have gone on to impressive college careers in Florida and Georgia, respectively.
Independence's winning streak ended at 109 games on September 1, 2007 with a 41-34 loss to Elder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. They would go on to lose to the rival Butler Bulldogs in the last game of the 2007 regular season by a score of 21-20.
The men's varsity basketball team also won the NCHSAA State Championship (4-A) in 1997 versus Richmond Senior High who ironically would become a notable football rival of the Patriots. The woman's varsity volleyball and softball teams each have state championships to their credits.