Cabarrus News 2014 high school football preview
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Friday, Aug. 15, 2014

Cabarrus News 2014 high school football preview

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    NELL REDMOND - NELL REDMOND
    Concord running back Rocky Reid, right, rushed for a Cabarrus County record 3,355 yards and 41 touchdowns.
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    - JOE HABINA
    1 – The Ragin’ Bulls, led by coach Marty Paxton, won the South Piedmont Conference in 2012 and return with a veteran team.
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    NELL REDMOND - NELL REDMOND
    3 – Concord running back Rocky Reid rushed for a Cabarrus County record 3,355 yards and 41 touchdowns.
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    JOE HABINA - JOE HABINA
    2 – A.L. Brown, led by coach Mike Newsome, hopes to be a contender for the MECKA 4A title in its second year in the league.
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    - JOE HABINA
    4 – Central Cabarrus must replace two key pieces in starting quarterback Hasaan Klugh, right, and tailback Kenny Purvis, left.
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    5 Top Players

    •  Rocky Reid, Concord, Sr., RB: Tennessee commit became one of the state’s best running backs (6-foot, 222 pounds) last season, rushing for a Cabarrus County record 3,355 yards and 41 touchdowns.

    •  Josh Stewart, Central Cabarrus, Sr., LB: All-SPC linebacker had 87 tackles and six sacks last season.

    •  Nate Mullen, Hickory Ridge, Sr., WR/RB/KR: Charlotte 49ers’ commit accounted for 2,650 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns last season.

    •  Keenan Black, Concord, Jr.: Spiders’ 6-foot-2, 180-pound quarterback passed for 1,603 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore.

    •  Tyler Rawson, Mount Pleasant, Sr., LB: 6-foot-1, 190-pound linebacker recorded 214 tackles last season, averaging 17 stops per game.


    5 Top Teams

    •  Concord: The Spiders are 28-4 in the past two seasons, falling to Havelock in two straight 3A state-championship games. Coach Glen Padgett believes they can get back to the finals despite fielding a younger team.

    •  Central Cabarrus: The Vikings have steadily improved under coach Donnie Kiefer, going 18-7 in the past two seasons including a school-record 11 wins a year ago. They would love to knock Concord out of the top spot in the SPC standings.

    •  A.L. Brown: The Wonders made a big jump from the class 3A SPC to the MECKA 4A conference last season and now look to be a contender in their second year.

    •  Hickory Ridge: The Ragin’ Bulls won the SPC in 2012, and with a veteran team returning – including do-it-all senior Nate Mullen – Hickory Ridge is eager to climb the league standings.

    •  Mount Pleasant: The Tigers moved from class 3A to 2A last season but still have to compete in a tough Rocky River Conference with Monroe, Forest Hills, Parkwood and others.

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    5 Must-see Games

    •  A.L. Brown at Concord, Aug. 22: 84th Battle for the Bell is the season-opener for the second straight year. The Spiders have won the last two in the series, giving Brown a lot of motivation this year.

    •  Cannon School at Concord First Assembly, Aug. 29: Early-season matchup of Cabarrus County private schools could be a good indicator of each team’s success.

    •  Concord at Central Cabarrus, Oct. 3: A 63-50 Concord win decided the SPC title last year. The Vikings hope to take league bragging rights away when they host the Spiders.

    •  West Rowan at Concord, Oct. 24: Another big SPC game with the perennial state power Falcons visiting the Spiders late in the season.

    •  Mallard Creek at A.L. Brown, Oct. 24: If the Wonders are going to contend for a MECKA 4A conference title, they will have to go through the defending 4AA state-champion Mavericks.


    5 On The Rise

    •  Damon Johnson, A.L. Brown, Jr., QB: Wonders’ quarterback started to emerge in 2013, passing for 609 yards and nine touchdowns and rushing for 350 yards and seven more touchdowns.

    •  Austin Parker, Mount Pleasant, Sr., QB/P/K: Duke commit (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) is an NCPreps.com all-state punter, averaging 44.7 yards per punt last season.

    •  Conner O’Donnell, cfa Academy, Jr., WR: SouthLake Christian transfer, all-state pick and Virginia Tech commit (6-foot, 160 pounds) had 48 catches for 1,308 yards and eight touchdowns for the state champion Eagles.

    •  Daiyaan Fuller, Central Cabarrus, Sr., QB/WR/RB: No matter where he lines up, Fuller is likely to have an impact on his team, especially with QB Hasaan Klugh and RB Kenny Purvis gone after graduation.

    •  Ryan Matson, Cox Mill, Sr., OT: 6-foot-7, 320-pound tackle paves the way for the Chargers’ run-first offense and has offers from Charlotte and East Carolina.

In every season from 1987 to 2011, either A.L. Brown or Concord won the South Piedmont Conference title.

In 2012, Hickory Ridge ended that streak when it went 11-1 – 7-0 in SPC play – in the final year the league was an All-Cabarrus County conference, before realignment shifted several teams.

A.L. Brown and Jay M. Robinson moved to the MECKA 4A conference, while Mount Pleasant shifted to the Rocky River 2A. Carson, East Rowan, South Rowan and West Rowan joined the new SPC.

Concord (15-1 overall) regained control of the new-look SPC last season, going 8-0 in league and finishing as 3A state runner-up for the second year in a row.

But with only seven starters returning this season, the Spiders’ grip on the conference seems to have loosened.

Central Cabarrus was 11-2 (7-1) in 2013, with a record-breaking offense that averaged 44 points and 457 yards per game. But the Vikings must replace two key pieces, in starting quarterback Hasaan Klugh and tailback Kenny Purvis.

With 16 starters returning, coach Donnie Kiefer has his Viking team believing they can challenge for the SPC title.

Hickory Ridge and coach Marty Paxton return 15 starters to help the Ragin’ Bulls climb back up the SPC ladder.

After finishing fourth in its first year in the MECKA 4A, A.L. Brown will challenge Mallard Creek and Hough for the top spot in the league.

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