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.