The Lake Norman area football teams came into the season looking to rebuild or reload in most cases.
SouthLake Christian was probably the most surprising team: the Eagles won eight games - after winning two last year - and went all the way to the NCISAA Division II state semifinals.
Meanwhile, Mooresville was a close second, going from 0-11 to 8-4 in Hal Capps' first season.
East Lincoln and Hopewell again were contenders in their conference and playoff pictures, but neither could make it far in postseason.
In the meantime, Lake Norman and North Mecklenburg were rebuilding with young teams, while Hough's football program started off with a respectable two wins in their inaugural campaign..
Lake Norman News Coach of the Year: Rich Landis, SouthLake Christian
Three years ago, the SouthLake Christian football program seemed on the verge of stardom, going 9-3 and advancing to the state semifinals in its third year as an 11-man football program. But after winning six games in the last two years, some may have begun to wonder.
SouthLake Christian football coach Rich Landis wasn't one of those people, as he again guided the Eagles to an 8-5 record and a state semifinal berth, one year after winning two games.
Landis did it with a veteran team led by the senior quarterback-wide receiver duo of Sam Remick and Travis Hallman.
Lake Norman News Player of the Year: Dondre Lewis-Freeman, Hopewell
Dondre Lewis-Freeman may be short - at 5-foot-7, 185 pounds - but whatever he lacks in size, the senior tailback has made up for with heart and determination. He finished his Hopewell career as one of the best runners in school history.
Lewis-Freeman, who had more 2,700 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns in his career, capped it with 1,120 yards and 15 scores this season to help lead the Titans to an 8-5 record and a birth in the state playoffs, where the Titans lost in the second round to Vance.
All-Lake Norman News football team
QB - Sam Remick, SouthLake Christian: Senior accounted for nearly 3,300 yards total offense and 31 TDs.
RB - Dondre Lewis-Freeman, Hopewell: Senior rushed for 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns .
RB - Marcus McDowell, East Lincoln: "Bubba" led the vaunted Mustang rushing attack.
RB - Quintarius Jordan, Hough: Junior was one of the top performers for first-year program.
WR - Travis Hallman, SouthLake Christian: Had 48 catches for 1,100 yards and 11 TDs.
WR - Rashaan Brown, North Meck: Sophomore had 36 catches, five TDs and has big-time potential.
WR - Shawn Lester, Mooresville: Two-sport star had 34 catches and seven touchdowns.
TE - Zeke Clarke, Lake Norman: All-purpose threat scored seven touchdowns.
UTIL - Patrick Rendleman, East Lincoln: Junior played QB, RB, WR and safety throughout the year.
OL - Dylan Stortz, East Lincoln: All-conference OL makes line move for Mustangs.
OL - Josh Holbrooks, Mooresville: The 6-foot-3, 270 pounder was a big reason for Blue Devils' improvement.
OL - Kevin Auten, Hopewell: Senior was a big help for Titans' running game.
OL - Charles Hazzard, SouthLake Christian: 6-foot-5, 250-pounder paved way for Eagles' offense.
OL - Ronald Albritton, Davidson Day (JV): Eighth-grader has bright future and will play at 2011 Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl.
DL - Tevin Stevenson, Hopewell: Junior defensive stopper has Division I potential.
DL - Wesley Scott, Cannon: Former Concord player led young Cougars with 79 tackles this year.
DL (LB) - Latham York, North Meck: Senior playmaker had 10 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss.
DL - Charles Wilkes, Mooresville: Junior finished the season with 71 tackles, nine sacks.
LB - Andrew Yost, North Meck: Senior had eye-popping 151 tackles, eight sacks and four INTs.
LB - Denzel Heath, Hopewell: Big-time hitter was instrumental for Titans on both sides of ball.
LB - Connor Donoghue, Lake Norman: Senior had 63 tackles in six games after injury.
LB - Scott Markofski, Mooresville: Recorded 99 tackles to lead Blue Devil defense.
DB - Michael Russell, Hopewell: Three-sport star had 42 tackles, five INTs, three fumble recoveries.
DB - Devin Easter, East Lincoln: Versatile player, team captain was among area's best.
DB - Tyler Threat, Mooresville: Had 98 tackles and three INTs, while forcing four fumbles.
DB - Andre Diouf, SouthLake Christian: Sophomore was a big-time playmaker for Eagles.
K - Tyler Roberts, Hopewell: Senior was consistent all year, but highlight might have been game-winning field goal against West Charlotte.
P - Nathan Deering, Hough: Versatile punter/kicker averaged 38 yards per punt in Huskies' first season.