Coming into his fourth year in Concord, Cannon football coach Donnie Hayes continues to put his school on the map.There are still people around who dont know we even have a football team, Hayes said. We want everybody to know we are playing football at Cannon School.For now, the Cougars dont compete in the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association because its roster isnt large or deep enough. Instead, Cannon busses its team to Fayetteville, Raleigh and elsewhere to match up with similar Division II private-school teams.So far, Hayes has been successful.In 2011, he led the Cougars to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state semifinals. After its first three years of existence, Cannon is 15-15. Im sure there were a lot of teams over the last couple of years that circled us as an easy win and found out different, Hayes said.But Hayes will face one of his toughest tests this year.Cannon returns just two starters on offense and will have few seniors on the squad when it kicks off this fall. Hayes said freshmen make up a third of the roster.We are going to be real young on offense; we are going to be real young across the board, Hayes said. You can call it a rebuilding year or whatever you want to call it. We will have freshman starting on both sides of the ball at what some would consider critical positions, but youve got to play who you got.Theyve got skills and they can play, but theyre freshmen. Well see how it all pans out.Cannon lost some key contributors.On offense, Hayes lost quarterback Myles Grier and running back Myles Martino, who will play college football at California University of Pennsylvania. Cannon also graduated John-Morgan Wilson, a defensive back who holds the schools tackle record and will play in college at Averett University (Va.). The Cougars lost starting defenders who moved out of state or had to leave the program for academic reasons, too.Former all-state kicker Blake Brewer was a huge weapon, Hayes says. Brewer was known for getting touchbacks on kickoffs and forcing the coaching staff to consider 50-yard field goals; now hes doing that for UNC Charlotte.This year is a special one in the growth of Cannons program. Six years ago this fall, seventh-graders played in the inaugural season for the Cougars. Next spring, the only player from that squad will graduate.Cannon will be rebuilding its team for the fall.Its going to be how well they play together and learn to play with each other with a bunch of new guys coming in and new guys playing positions theyve never played, Hayes said. We are going to have to be a team this year.
Monday, Jul. 15, 2013
NCISAA: Cannon School Cougars football team will field young lineup
Cannon Coach: Donnie Hayes (fourth year, 15-15 at Cannon). 2012 record: 4-6. Starters Returning: 7 (2 offense, 5 defense). Key players: • RB Mitchell Carlson, Jr.: Collison served as a solid backup last season, but he will be asked to carry a heavier load this year as Cannon attempts to replace nine offensive starters. • FB Ben Wyatt, So.: The 210-pounder’s job is crucial in the Cougars’ run-heavy offense. He will also anchor the defense at middle linebacker. • OLB Sam Oddo, So.: The former safety’s ability to transition to outside linebacker could determine the success of a young defense. Can’t miss games: North Raleigh Christian, Aug. 23; Ravenscroft, Oct. 4.
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