After a long summer of workouts and practices, football season finally arrives across the Lake Norman area Friday.
North Meck and Hopewell should finish near the top of the I-Meck this season, but the clear favorite to take the conference crown in November is Mallard Creek.
The Mavericks, who will be led by North Carolina-bound QB Marquise Williams, could go undefeated during the regular season and even contend for a state championship.
West Meck and Vance should finish in the middle of the pack and so should Lake Norman, which along with Mooresville, will have to adjust to a new head coach this season.
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The I-Meck also adds a new team, with Hough High joining the conference.
Although Hough shouldn't make much noise on the field, the opening of the Cornelius school will have a strong effect at North Meck and Hopewell as these schools lose talent to the Huskies in all sports.
This season will mark the first varsity season at Cannon and Lake Norman Charter, as well as the inaugural football season at Davidson Day, which will play at the JV level this year.
On the west side of the Lake, East Lincoln, which has won 15 consecutive Southern Piedmont Conference games, should finish at the top of their conference again.