Beginning today (June 28), the Observer will begin county-by-county high school football previews.
Correspondent Jay Edwards has compiled capsules for the Observer’s area schools. These will be presented by county.
Here is a link to the 2016 high school football schedules.
IREDELL COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL CAPSULES
Head Coach: Rob McNeely (7th year as Lake Norman head football coach; 41-32 overall)
2015 Record: 8-4 (5-2 in the North Piedmont conference (NPC))
Key Returning Starters: Cole Jackson, Jr., RB (5-10, 180); Max Thornhill, Sr., LB (5-10, 195); Justin Pearo, Sr., OL/DL (6-5, 305); Ryan Taylor, Sr., DB (5-10, 175); Cole Ladowski, Sr., QB (5-11, 175); Dylan Bahr, Jr., WR (6-3, 200); Hunter Smith, Sr., OG (6-0, 290); Nate Pena, Sr., OT/DT (6-2, 310).
Key Newcomers: Austin Robinson, So., FS (6-0, 165); A.J. Lanton, Jr., DB/Slot/WR (5-9, 165).
Returning Starters: 13
Returning Lettermen: 30
Outlook: The Wildcats have 29 wins in the last three seasons and will look to a strong running game and defense to remain both a North Piedmont conference championship contender and a dangerous N.C. 4A postseason matchup.
Head Coach: Marty Paxton (1st year as Mooresville head football coach; 56-53 overall)
2015 Record: 8-4 (6-1, co-North Piedmont conference champions)
Key Returning Starters: Chris Ingram, Sr., CB (6-0, 175); Donshel Jetton, Sr., RB (5-10, 200); Matt Martinez, Jr., FS (6-2, 175).
Key Newcomers: Chris Murrell, So., QB (6-0, 180); DaMarcus Mills, So., OL (6-7, 315).
Returning Starters: 8
Returning Lettermen: N/A
Outlook: Former Hickory Ridge coach, Marty Paxton, takes on a new challenge at Mooresville, where he replaces Hal Capps (29 wins last three seasons), who had a lot of success with the Blue Devils. While Paxton will have to reload with only eight starters back, but he has some major play makers in senior RB Donshel Jetton (1878 yards rushing last year) and senior CB Chris Ingram (N.C. State commit). Mooresville will look to repeat as North Piedmont conference champions and make another postseason run.
Head Coach: David Lewis (1st year as North Iredell head football coach)
2015 Record: 3-8 (2-5 in the North Piedmont conference)
Key Returning Starters: Justice Millsaps, Sr., LB/ATH (6-0, 215); Ka
Key Newcomers: Jacob Welborn, Jr., WR/DB (5-10, 165); Luke Sipes, Sr., OL/TE/LB (5-11, 180); Luke Johnson, Sr., OL/DL (6-0, 230).
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Lettermen: 15
Outlook: First-year coach, David Lewis, believes his Raiders can vault up the NPC standings this year as his squad has “the heart, attitude and effort,” to battle for league supremacy.
PINE LAKE PREP
Head Coach: Brett Hayford (3rd year as Pine Lake Prep head football coach)
2015 Record: 10-2 (6-1 in the Southern Piedmont 1A conference)
Key Returning Starters: Will Harwood, Sr., RB/LB (5-10, 175); Taylor Hochman, Sr., RB/LB (6-2, 205); Josh Antonic, Sr., OL/DL (6-2, 230); Alex Wrench, Sr., TE/LB/P (5-11, 180); Dillon Embrey, Sr., TE/LB (5-11, 210).
Key Newcomers: Jack Long, So., RB/LB (5-10, 175); Broghan Turner, FILL, OL/DL (6-0, 230); Kris Petroski, Fr., RB (5-10, 170).
Returning Starters: 14
Returning Lettermen: 22
Outlook: The Pride look to follow their best season in school history (10 wins in 2015) by making another run at an Southern Piedmont 1A conference title. Pine Lake was conference runner-up in 2015. It appears they have the talent to challenge again, with play makers like senior running backs, Will Harwood (1,106 yards rushing last year) and Taylor Hochman (1,357 yards rushing last year).
Head Coach: Scott Miller (7th year as South Iredell head football coach)
2015 Record: 11-3 (6-1 in the North Piedmont conference co-champions)
Key Returning Starters: Brady Pope, So., QB (6-3, 175); Lundon White, Jr., WR/Slot/DB (5-10, 165); Cameron Miller, Jr., DL (6-0, 270); Dydrion Leach, So., ATH (5-9, 165); Jeremiah McMillian, Jr., WR (6-2, 185).
Key Newcomers: Chandler Medeiros, So. DE (6-3, 235); Trey Page, So., WR (5-11, 165); Nick Hall, So., SS (6-0, 180).
Returning Starters: 7
Returning Lettermen: 13
Outlook: Coach Scott Miller believes the Vikings can reload quickly around sophomore QB, Brady Pope, and challenge for the North Piedmont league title and be a factor again deep into the playoffs.
Head Coach: Randall Gusler (11th year as Statesville head coach; 76-53 overall)
2015 Record: 9-4 (5-2 in the North Piedmont conference)
Key Returning Starters: Brock Hoffman, Sr., OL (6-4, 295); Jabril Williams, So. OL (6-2, 280); Deandre Moore, Sr., OL (6-3, 260); John Mott, Sr., FS/RB (5-8, 190); Ed Johnson, Jr., OL (6-1, 260); Jordan Williams, Sr., OL (6-2, 230); Josh Bailey, Sr., OL (6-0, 250); Ticari Clark, Jr., DL (6-2, 265).
Key Newcomers: N/A
Returning Starters: 10 (5 offense; 5 defense)
Returning Lettermen: N/A
Outlook: The Greyhounds will have reload their skill position quickly if they want to contend for the North Piedmont championship, and will have to lean on experienced offensive/defensive lines to lead the way early on.
Head Coach: Angelo Cox (2nd Year as Statesville Christian head coach, 35-13 overall)
2015 Record: 3-8
Key Returning Starters: Brennan Settle, So., QB (6-1, 180); Deshon Holmes, So., WR (6-0, 182); B.J. Lomax, So., LB/SS (5-10, 175); Kevin Dewalt, So., DT (6-0, 285); Canaan Cox, So., ATH (5-8, 165).
Key Newcomers: Casey Zarbynicky, Jr., OL/DL (6-2/270; Lake Norman transfer); Sharod Phelps, Jr., MLB (6-0, 180; South Iredell transfer).
Returning Starters: 15
Returning Lettermen: 15
Outlook: The Lions believe they can surprise some teams in their first year at the NCISAA Division III level, and the second-year team has some pieces to build around with sophomore QB Brennan Settle leading the way.
Head Coach: Monte Simmons (2nd year as West Iredell head coach)
2015 Record: 0-11 (0-7 in the North Piedmont conference (NPC))
Key Returning Starters: Anthony Summers, Sr., RB (5-10, 185); Dillan Davis, Jr., QB (6-0, 170); Xavier Little, Sr., S (6-0, 190); Damian Gregory, Sr., DE (6-0, 225); Johnny Barnett, Sr., OG (6-1, 300); John Payne, Jr., LB (6-1, 180).
Key Newcomers: Kennan Bunch, Jr., WR/Slot (5-8, 165).
Returning Starters: 13 (8 offense; 5 defense)
Returning Lettermen: 28
Outlook: Coach Monte Simmons and company took their lumps in a winless 2015 season. But with 15 starters back, led by senior QB Dillan Davis and senior RB Anthony Summers, West hopes to have a big turnaround season.