CHARLOTTE - The Carolina Panthers are bringing high school football to Bank of America Stadium for the first time with the team's inaugural Keep Pounding High School Classic, a season-opening regional matchup between state powers Rock Hill Northwestern and Charlotte Providence Day School on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.
On Monday, coaches and players from both schools were on hand at Bank of America Stadium as part of a formal event to announce the game.
"This game is really meaningful to me as the coach of the Panthers in this stadium," Panthers head coach Frank Reich said at Monday's event. "My dad was a longtime high school football coach for many, many years. I grew up as a little kid going to high school football training camps and games. Those are some of my best memories. If you talk to our players, any one of them will tell you how high school football impacted their lives."
Representing Northwestern High School and the Rock Hill area, Trojans head coach Page Wofford spoke about the special opportunity that this presents for his players and community.
"We're so thankful to the Panthers to be a part of this great opportunity," Wofford said. "All of our great alumni, including NFL draft picks, put us in this position to be here today. I'm thankful that football gives our kids the opportunity to be on this stage, but we know that our job is to use football to help these young people grow into better people and better adults."
Northwestern enters 2023 following a 14-2 campaign and SCHSL Class AAAA state championship game appearance.
Providence Day head coach Chad Grier has a special connection to the Panthers, having coached 2022 first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu at Providence Day through 2018. Grier is also the father of former Panthers quarterback Will Grier.
"Myself and my family have always had such pride in this stadium and this team," Grier said. "We had PSL tickets from the first season and made a lot of memories in this stadium. It's going to be really special to give another generation of kids a chance to make special memories here."
Last season, Providence Day posted a 12-1 mark while winning its second straight NCISAA state championship.
"Supporting youth and high school football is a pillar of the Carolina Panthers community endeavors," said Riley Fields, director of community relations for the Carolina Panthers. "The Keep Pounding High School Classic will provide an opportunity to celebrate high school football and the important role that it plays in communities across our region. I'd like to thank David and Nicole Tepper for their enthusiastic support of this game and their support in the many ways that the Panthers organization works to serve youth and high school football in the two-state region. I would also like to thank Panthers team president Kristi Coleman for her committed support."
Tickets for the game will go on sale this summer for $5, providing an affordable price point for high school football fans and the broader community. More information about the ticket on-sale will be shared later.
View photos from Monday's event as Panthers coach Frank Reich met with Northwestern's Page Wofford and Providence Day's Chad Grier to officially announce this year's high school football matchup at Bank of America Stadium in the fall.