After 15 straight winning seasons as head football coach at Western Alamance High School, Hal Capps is leading Mooresville back to victory lane on a regular basis.
The Blue Devils are 6-3 and have won three straight games this season after going 0-11 last year.
"The biggest turnaround we have made is our attitude," Capps said. "That itself has made a big difference in our program and translated into a lot of success on the field."
After winning its first three games by a combined score of 116-21, Mooresville ran into two of the better teams in the state in No. 1 West Rowan (3A) and No. 2 Mallard Creek (4A), then fell at Vance.
Never miss a local story.
But the Blue Devils have rebounded with three straight impressive wins, over West Charlotte, 35-34, Hopewell, 19-3, and Hough, 62-12.
Senior quarterback Patrick O'Brien has been the leader, passing for 1,012 yards and 10 touchdowns and running for another five scores.
"For most of the year, we've kind of played how Patrick has played," Capps said. "But we are growing up fast, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised at how fast we've turned things around."
Mooresville is hoping to earn a home playoff game Friday when it travels to archrival Lake Norman, which Mooresville hasn't beaten since a 31-10 win at home in 2007.
(This story went to print before Friday's games.)
Mooresville has turned it around, but Lake Norman and North Mecklenburg's football teams have gone in the opposite direction, for now.
Under first-year head coach Rob McNeeley, Lake Norman has struggled after losing nearly 80percent of last year's starting lineup.
The Wildcats (1-8), who have lost five straight, are having their worst season since 2006, when they went 1-10.
North Mecklenburg (3-5) is enduring similar pains after losing a huge chunk of their program to brand new Hough High. The Vikings, 6-6 a year ago, were shut out in back-to-back games by Mallard Creek, 48-0, and Vance, 33-0.
Up and down
After one of its best starts ever at 6-1, the Hopewell football team has stumbled, losing to Mooresville (19-3) and getting blown out by Mallard Creek. The Titans (6-3) hope to right the ship at archrival North Meck Friday.
East Lincoln (6-3) is having a solid season, but the Mustangs lost a Southern Piedmont 3A Conference game for the first time since November 2007.
East Lincoln lost to archrival Lincolnton 42-28 this month, ending the 15-game conference winning streak. The Mustangs are focused on finishing strong Friday at North Lincoln.
After stumbling to a 2-8 record in 2009, Southlake Christian is at 7-3 this season, in third place in the Carolinas Piedmont Conference.
The Eagles have been led by seniors Sam Remick, quarterback, and Travis Hallman, wide receiver/linebacker.
Lake Norman senior Jenny Gallagher, one of the state's top runners, won the I-Meck cross country title this month, finishing at 18:54 to beat the field by 31 seconds.
State of golf
North Mecklenburg senior Katie Kirk will finish her high school golf career at the 4A state tournament at Pinehurst starting Monday morning.
Kirk shot an 80 at regionals last Monday to finish fifth overall in that event.