NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A PREVIEW
The Observer’s high school football previews continue. Past previews are at charlotteobserver.com/prepspreview
Fred T. Foard, Freedom, Hibriten, Hickory, Patton, St. Stephens, South Caldwell, Watauga
South Caldwell: 20 lettermen and 10 starters back from a 12-1 team. Spartans have some depth issues, but if they stay healthy, a deep playoff run is possible.
Hickory: 12 lettermen back from an 8-5 team and the Red Tornadoes have team speed. New coach Mike Helms installing new offense.
Freedom: Patriots have good skill players, 17 lettermen back and a winning junior varsity moving up. Freedom was 12-3 last season.
5 players to watch
Zac Pollard, South Caldwell, RB, Sr (5-11, 190): Preseason all-state pick had 278 carries for 3,082 yards and 36 touchdowns last season.
Khris Gardin, Freedom, WR, Sr (5-8, 165): All-conference star caught 64 passes for 1,157 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Tishawn Daniels, Hibriten, FB/LB, Jr (5-8, 190): All-county star led team in tackles (120) and had two interceptions. Rushed for 425 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hayden Carraway, Patton, LB, Sr (6-0, 215): Had 135 tackles and seven tackles for a loss last year.
Devell Maxwell, Hibriten, RB/LB, Jr (5-9, 189): All-conference and all-county pick ran for 1,086 yards and 13 touchdowns last season averaging more than 10 yards per carry.
Someone will have to stop South Caldwell’s ground game to get into the conference championship race. If South Caldwell stays healthy, particularly on the offensive line, that will be a tough task.
Langston Wertz Jr.
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