A historic season for the Concord Spiders
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013

A historic season for the Concord Spiders

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/15/09/38/ObrKj.Em.138.jpeg|186
    Concord High’s varsity football team went 11-0 during the regular season, its first undefeated run since going 10-0 in 1926.
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    Concord running back Rocky Reid set the Spiders’ single-season rushing record with 2,471 yards, passing Jamie Scott’s old record of 2,456 yards. Reid also had 31 touchdowns during the regular season as Concord went 11-0, its first undefeated regular season since 1926.
  • The record book Concord records that were eclipsed this season: • The Spiders finished 11-0 for the first time in school history. They last finished a regular season undefeated in 1975, when they went 9-0-1. • Junior running back Rocky Reid set the school’s all-time single-season rushing mark with 2,471 yards, passing Jamie Scott’s previous mark of 2,456.

Concord High’s 70-6 win over Garinger capped a historic regular season for a Spiders’ football team that laid waste to several long-held records.

The South Piedmont 3A champions finished the season with a perfect 11-0 record, passing their previous mark of 10-0 set in 1926.

The last time Concord went undefeated during the regular season was 1975, when the Spiders finished 9-0-1 before falling in the second round of the playoffs.

“Obviously we’re very proud of our players, we’re very proud of our coaches and our entire program,” said Concord coach Glen Padgett, who took over the program in 2009.

“Our kids are very dedicated, and our coaches are as well. It’s a great accomplishment, and it’s something these kids can take with them the rest of their lives. Nobody can ever take it away.”

But Padgett is trying to guard against overconfidence heading into the NCHSAA playoffs. The Spiders begin the 3A playoffs with a rematch against Northwest Cabarrus, which they defeated 52-21 on Nov. 15.

“I’m excited about (our record), and I’m proud of it,” he said. “But this week we have to focus on an outstanding team in Northwest (Cabarrus) that we just played two weeks ago. So it’s a double-edged sword.

“We told our team when the regular season came to a close and we were 11-0, that, right now, there’s 32 teams that are 0-0,” Padgett said.

“What they did in the regular season doesn’t matter in terms of what’s going to happen Friday night. What matters now is playing hard each week, because if you lose you’re done.”

Spiders junior running back Rocky Reid – who rushed for 169 yards against Garinger – also did some record-setting himself. He broke Concord High’s single-season rushing mark with 2,471 yards, passing Jamie Scott’s previous record of 2,456 yards.

Reid also finished the regular season with 31 touchdowns.

“The key for us, like every good high school football team, was finding our identity,” Padgett said. “You have to find out what your players do well and adapt your philosophy as coaches to get the most out of whatever that talent is.”

In Padgett’s case, that meant finding ways to get the ball in Reid’s hands and going from there. The longtime Spiders coach knew his team wasn’t going to be able to pass for more than 4,000 yards, as it did last season.

“Reid’s rushed for well over 2,000 yards, and a lot of times people would load the box to try to take what he does away,” Padgett said.

“But, truthfully, he’s made us a better passing team because we’ve been forced to throw the ball in certain situations. Because of that, we’ve gotten a lot more confident in our abilities as the year’s gone on.”

Reid has been a force on the ground all season for the Spiders, helping them to overcome the loss of starting quarterback Graham Pruette, who suffered a bruised spine in the second game of the season and had to be rushed away in an ambulance.

“I think it says a lot about the players that we have and their belief in each other,” said Padgett, whose offense still managed to average 42.4 points per game. “Our backup quarterback has stepped in and really done a great job. He’s managed our offense.”

In 11 games this season, backup QB Keenan Black, a sophomore, has thrown for 1,046 yards, 16 touchdowns and just one interception.

Pruette has since completed a tough course of rehabilitation and returned to action, but the Spiders have continued to ride the hot hand of Black.

The Spiders have also been helped by their defense, which has surrendered just 18.4 points per game. It is led by starting senior linebackers Logan Sedergren and Jerry Burk.

Sedergren, a 6-foot-inches, 195-pound linebacker, finished the regular season with a team-high 92 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Burk, who’s 6-4, 240, finished just behind Sedergren with 87 tackles, 17 of which went for losses.

“Jerry Burk and Logan Sedergren are three-year starters for us and three-year all-conference players,” Padgett said. “They’ve both had not only great seasons, but careers here for us. They’ve been a huge part of our success.

“It’s been a team effort more than anything. (The players) understand that this is not an individual sport and it’s not about individual success.

“We are very proud of these accomplishments,” Padgett said. “But at the same time, we know we have to keep playing great because we know we have some tough matches ahead of us in the playoffs.”

Seth Lakso is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Seth? Email him at sethlakso@gmail.com .

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