Putting up some big numbers
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013

Putting up some big numbers

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/18/11/27/alQwi.Em.138.jpeg|209
    Concord running back Rocky Reid (4) takes off for a 57-yard touchdown run during the Spiders’ 33-20 victory over A.L. Brown in the school’s annual “Battle for the Bell Game” Aug. 23, 2013, in Kannapolis.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/18/11/27/FEO4c.Em.138.jpeg|209
    Concord running back Rocky Reid (4) takes off for a 57-yard touchdown run during the Spiders’ 33-20 victory over A.L. Brown in the school’s annual “Battle for the Bell Game” Aug. 23, 2013, in Kannapolis.

It was the second offensive play in Central Cabarrus’ game at Concord two weeks ago when Vikings running back Kenny Purvis took a handoff from Hasaan Klugh and bolted straight up the middle for a 56-yard touchdown.

In an almost mirror image, Rocky Reid ran straight up the middle for a 72-yard touchdown on Concord’s first play from scrimmage 24 seconds later, setting the tone for a wild offensive showing in which the teams would combine for 16 touchdowns in a 63-50 Spiders victory.

Such is life for Cabarrus County’s elite teams over the last couple years. This season, teams including Concord, Central Cabarrus and Kannapolis’ A.L. Brown are scoring points at amazing rates, sometimes in the same games.

What’s happening locally is part of an offensive trend among high school football teams across the state. In recent years, teams have been more likely than ever to win with massive point production rather than opt for a low-scoring, defense-dominated approach.

This season, the Cabarrus County teams with the best records – Concord at 7-0, and Brown and Central Cabarrus both at 6-1 – are the teams scoring the most points. The Vikings average 51.5 points, the Spiders score at a rate of 40.7 points per game, and the Wonders have a 37 ppg average.

Concord is the only team to defeat both Brown and Central Cabarrus.

There are so many variables that it is impossible to objectively measure an offense’s efficiency and effectiveness. The quality of the opponent’s defense certainly plays a part. And a team’s own defense may surrender points at such a rate that it affords its offense more opportunities to score.

Still, coaches agree that offense is different than it was years ago.

“I think the offensive game is evolving,” Concord head coach Glen Padgett said. “Defenses nowadays, it’s a lot different because there are so many things offenses can do. They are so multiple and create tough situations for defenses.”

Padgett said the South Piedmont 3A is represented by a wide array of offensive schemes. A.L. Brown, though in the MECKA 4A, runs versions of the Power I, the spread, and the wing-T.

With their versatility and wide-open approach, high school offenses are emulating the college game which has developed a reputation over the last several years of yielding plenty of results that resemble basketball scores.

Cabarrus County produces its share of outstanding teams, but not even its most recent state champions scored at a rate that some of this year’s teams are scoring. In 1997, A.L. Brown averaged 36 points per game, but it also shut out five opponents and held four more to a touchdown or less.

Concord’s state championship teams in 2004 and 2006 averaged 33 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 29 points per game.

The recent outbreak in scoring did not start this season.

A.L. Brown has averaged over 40 points per game since head coach Mike Newsome took over the program in 2011. Last year, Central Cabarrus and Hickory Ridge both averaged over 40 points per game.

Newsome has a theory of why high school teams are scoring more. He says high school coaches are putting their best players on offense, that youth program offenses are more sophisticated, and that skilled players receive pressure from parents to want to play offense.

“Even a team that’s not very good, they’re playing their best athletes on offense and it leads to defenses not being that good,” Newsome said. “So more points are going to be scored.”

To be fair, A.L. Brown and Concord have two of the stingiest defenses in the county, respectively yielding 19.7 and 23.4 points per game. But the team that has allowed the fewest points is Mount Pleasant (17.5 ppg.).

The Tigers have held Concord and Central Cabarrus to half or better of their scoring averages. That team has won two of seven games this season.

Padgett cautions that high-scoring teams could be only a fad.

“Football is cyclical,” he said. “It’s like anything in life. Right now the fad is big scores and offenses and somewhere down the road it will change.”

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at joehabina@yahoo.com.

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