Houston to Play on National TV

As if the rivalry between Charlotte (N.C.) Independence and Matthews (N.C.) Butler couldn't get any bigger, ESPN will televise the annual bout on its ESPN2 affiliate live on November 3rd.

For North Carolina, the televising of the game means one of their prized verbal commits, Ryan Houston, will represent the school in the national spotlight

"The chance at beating Independence on national TV, I was excited myself," said Houston. "We knew this since school let out [last June]. We just kept it to ourselves. Coach [Mike Newsome] had to finalize it, but I knew he would love to play Independence on ESPN, so I knew he was going to accept it."

Houston, a 6-foot-3 255-pound tailback, is hoping Butler's young – but talented – roster doesn't get caught up in all the hype.

"I hope that everybody isn't going to be intimidated by all the cameras that are going to be there," said Houston. "It's going to be at Memorial Stadium and they're probably going to be undefeated and we're probably going to be undefeated – I just hope we don't let up and get scared to play them. I want to go in the game confident."

Despite the excitement of playing on ESPN2, Houston's focus as of today is on the nine games prior to the showdown with the Patriots.

"Right now, I'm thinking about that we need to go into the game undefeated," said Houston. "We've got to work through our schedule. On Friday, we've got a good [Charlotte (N.C.)] Vance team and we play [Charlotte (N.C.)] Providence in a couple weeks – Providence is real good. As a matter fact, Providence might beat Independence before we get to them."

Last Friday, Houston opened up his senior season with a 36-13 victory over Huntersville (N.C.) Mecklenburg. However, Houston wasn't happy.

"I thought I sucked Friday," said Houston, bluntly. "I dropped two balls, I dropped a handoff. I mean I had 130 yards and two touchdowns, but I feel like I'm senior and last year I averaged 160 yards, so I really have to step my game up."

This coming Saturday, Houston is "80-percent" certain that he'll attend North Carolina's season opener in Chapel Hill. But, he added he'll "definitely" be in Chapel Hill for the Virginia Tech game the following Saturday.

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