The Observer’s county-by-county high school football previews began last week. Today, the newspaper continues the previews with a look at schools in Union County
Look for additional previews throughout the week.
Correspondent Jay Edwards has compiled capsules for the Observer’s area schools.
Never miss a local story.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school/article88208422.html#storylink=cpy
Union County Previews
Head Coach: Shane Griffin (2nd year as Central Academy head football coach)
2015 Record: 4-6 (0-5 in the Rocky River conference)
Key Returning Starters: Clemson Allen, Sr., QB (6-3, 210); Nate Burnette, Sr., CB (5-11, 185); Earl Styne, Sr., C/DE (5-11, 245); Devon McCarthy, Sr., WR (6-4, 190); Kevin Maxwell, Jr., DB/WR (5-11, 160); Isaiah Hamilton, Jr., DE/LB (6-0, 187).
Key Newcomers: Bryson Miller, Jr., WR/DB (5-10, 165); Elijah Wynn, Jr., WR/DB (5-8, 150)
Returning Starters: 10
Returning Lettermen: 24
Outlook: The Cougars had a tough end to the 2015 losing their final six games. But with senior QB, Clemson Allen, back to lead the way, they believe they can be more competitive in Rocky River conference.
Head Coach: David Johnson (4th year as Cuthbertson head football coach; 33-30 overall)
2015 Record: 8-5 (3-2 in Southern Carolinas)
Key Returning Starters: J.T. Cauthen, Sr., WR (6-3, 205); Casey Stamper, Sr., WR (5-11, 185); Kendric Ivey, Sr., RB/DB (6-0, 175); Alex Karas, Sr., LB/OT (6-2, 215); Carter Kendall, Jr., DE/TE (6-2, 220).
Key Newcomers: Chase Eighmy, Jr., QB (6-2, 200); Josh Sepe, So., LB (6-2, 175).
Returning Starters: 14 (9 offense; 5 defense)
Returning Lettermen: 32
Outlook: 2015 was a bit disappointing after going to the state semifinals the previous season. This year, with nine starters back just on offense, led by senior WR, J.T. Cauthen, Cuthbertson looks to get back on top of the SCC and deep into the 3A playoff bracket.
Head Coach: Cory Smith (1st year as Forest Hills head coach)
2015 Record: 8-4 (4-1 in the Rocky River conference)
Key Returning Starters: Tyrese Marsh, Sr., MLB (5-10, 220); T.J. Brewer, Sr., SS (5-10, 175); Treyon Grace, Sr., WR (6-0, 195); Jacquez Deese, Sr., DE (5-8, 200); Titus Sanders, Sr., RB (5-7, 180).
Key Newcomers: Nigel Wingo, Sr., LB (5-9, 190); Ander Griffin, Sr., LB (6-1, 195); Tyson Davis, Jr., QB (6-2, 210); Kendrick McLaurin, So., RB (6-0, 185).
Returning Starters: 9
Returning Lettermen: 21
Outlook: It’s a new era of football at Forest Hills with Cory Smith taking over for John Lowery, who has led the Yellow Jackets’ program for the last three decades. If Smith and company are going to contend for a conference title, they will have to do so with a young team (replacing 13 starters), especially at the skill positions.
Head Coach: Aubrey Carter (2nd year as Marvin Ridge head football coach)
2015 Record: 8-4, (5-0 in the Southern Carolinas)
Key Returning Starters: Emeka Emezie, Sr., WR (6-3, 200); D’Mitri Emmanuel, Sr., OL (6-3, 300); Caleb Deveaux, Jr., RB (6-0, 220); Austin Colonna, Sr., QB (5-11, 180); Alex Leshock, Sr., WR (6-1, 175); Ben Cook, Sr., S (5-11, 180); Cole Hopkins, Jr., DE (6-2, 215).
Key Newcomers: Jacob Carroll, So., RB (5-9, 200); Myles Hunt, Jr., WR/DB (5-10, 160); Will Smith, So., LB (5-10, 190).
Returning Starters: 15
Returning Lettermen: 26
Outlook: Marvin Ridge coach Aubrey Carter breathed new life into the Mavericks in his first year in charge, leading them to SCC title. But with 15 starters back, led by a potent offense triggered by senior QB Austin Colonna, Carter and company are eager to prove they win the league again and go deeper into the postseason.
Head Coach: Thomas Langley (7th year as Metrolina Christian head football coach)
2015 Record: 8-1
Key Returning Starters: Braxton McClendon, Sr., WR (6-4, 195); Ashton Thomas, Sr., LB (6-0, 200); Jacob Titherington, Sr., WR (5-9, 165); Tyrek Funderburk, Jr., WR/DB (5-11, 150); C.J. Parker, So., DL (6-1, 230).
Key Newcomers: Myles Saxton, So., QB (6-1, 175); Walker Leslie, So., OL (6-2, 230); Nathan Clark, Sr., DE (6-4, 200).
Returning Starters: 12
Returning Lettermen: 21
Outlook: Last year’s unbeaten run ended with a thud in a NCISAA Div. III state quarterfinal loss to Concord First Assembly, also ending all-state QB Rudiger Yearick’s high school career. This year, the Warriors -- who have never had a losing season in their six years as a varsity program -- will need some of their younger players, like sophomore QB Myles Saxton, to step up immediately if they are going to continue their winning tradition.
Head Coach: Johnny Sowell (12th year as Monroe head football coach)
2015 Record: 16-0, (5-0, Rocky River conference champions)
Key Returning Starters: Zephaniah Wall, Sr., QB (6-0, 195); Jadarious McManus, Jr., WR/DB (6-0, 170); Dashawn Goings, Jr., DL/OL (5-11, 260); McKinley Nelson, So., RB/LB (5-11, 195); Miquille Bryant, Jr., LB (5-8, 166); Jaqwaun Coffie, Sr., LB; Deandre Staton, Sr., LB/DT.
Key Newcomers: Trey Shepherd, Fr., QB/DB (6-2, 162); Jonathan Phillips, So., RB/WR (5-8, 155); Treayon Kenion, So., DE/WR (6-4, 180); Hasson Lane, So., OL/DL (6-2, 240); Christopher Colon, Fr., LB (5-11, 170).
Returning Starters: N/A
Returning Lettermen: N/A
Outlook: The Redhawks believe they can repeat as N.C. 2AA state champions with another perfect season. With senior QB Zephaniah Wall (passed for 3,572 yards and 45 touchdowns last season) back to lead the team, there’s no reason to think the Redhawks can’t have a repeat performance.
Head Coach: Lynn Coble (6th year as Parkwood head football coach)
2015 Record: 5-7 (2-3 in the Rocky River conference)
Key Returning Starters: J.J. Benton, Jr., RB (5-10, 170); Seth Shimer, Jr., LB (6-1, 200); Nick Stitt, Sr., WR (5-8, 180); Bryant Springs, Sr., RB/WR/DB (5-10, 175).
Key Newcomers: N/A
Returning Starters: 16
Returning Lettermen: 30
Outlook: The Rebels have been on the rise in the past three years with 20 wins in that span. In three seasons before that, Parkwood won just twice. This season, Parkwood has 16 starters back, with RBs Bryant Springs and J.J. Benton looking to lead the Rebels back up the brutal, Rocky River conference ladder.
Head Coach: Luke Hyatt (2nd year as Piedmont head football coach)
2015 Record: 6-6 (1-4 in the Southern Carolinas
Key Returning Starters: Garrett Hinson, Sr., LB (6-0, 190); Josh Collura, Sr., FB (6-0, 200); Matt Price, Jr., RB (5-9, 160); Tyler Crotts, Sr., DB (6-2, 170); Tucker Mullis, Sr., OL/LS (6-1, 235).
Key Newcomers: Camden Baucom, Jr., QB (6-3, 170).
Returning Starters: 11
Returning Lettermen: 21
Outlook: The Panthers double-wing offense (3,496 yards rushing last year) makes them a tough matchup each week, but climbing up the unforgiving SCC standings is not an easy task in any season.
Head Coach: Michael Hertz (1st year Porter Ridge head football coach)
2015 Record: 1-10 (1-5 in the Southwestern 4A (SW4A)
Key Returning Starters: Will Reed, Sr., LB (6-1, 210); Mason Mills, Sr., RB (6-2, 210); Nick Chiaravalotti, Sr., TE/DE (6-2, 230); Eli Tarlton, Sr., DT (5-5, 230); Jerran Caldwel, Sr., WR/DE (6-2, 195).
Key Newcomers: Grayson McCall, So., QB (6-1, 185); Austin Richardson, Jr., RB/WR (6-1, 170).
Returning Starters: 9 (4 offense; 5 defense)
Returning Lettermen: 20
Outlook: First-year coach, Michael Hertz, looks to spark a program that has won only three games over the last two seasons, but with a younger overall team moving up the SW4A conference will not be an easy task.
Head Coach: Tad Baucom (3rd year as Sun Valley head football coach)
2015 Record: 5-7 (2-3 in the Southern Carolinas
Key Returning Starters: Sam Howell, So., QB (6-1, 180); Jeremiah Miller, Sr., WR (6-2, 185); Anthony Marple, FILL, WR (6-2, 185); Ishod Finger, Jr., RB (5-7, 165); Fabrice Funderburke, Sr., RB (6-1, 185); Luke Burnette, FILL, TE (6-5, 230); Roy Artolozaga, Jr., LB (6-0, 215).
Key Newcomers: C.J. Maddox, Sr., DB (6-2, 180); Darius Huntley, Jr., RB/DB (6-2, 190).
Returning Starters: 9 (5 offense; 4 defense)
Returning Lettermen: 18
Outlook: Spartans’ sophomore QB Sam Howell (3,685 yards plus 36 touchdown passes), triggered one of the state’s most potent passing attacks last season. As a freshman, he led an offense that averaged averaging 35 points per game. He returns with some major weapons in WRs Jeremiah Miller and Anthony Marple. But Sun Valley has to be able to stop their opponents on defense (allowed 38 points per game) to challenge for an SCC title and be a factor in the playoffs.
Head Coach: Justin Frashier (1st year as Union Academy head football coach)
2015 Record: 4-8 (3-5 in the Yadkin Valley 1A conference)
Key Returning Starters: Mannasseh Missick, Sr., QB (5-11, 200); Jeremy Miller, Jr., LB (5-10, 165); Josh Bitgood, WR (6-0, 175).
Key Newcomers: N/A
Returning Starters: 7
Returning Lettermen: 14
Outlook: After an up and down season last year, the Cardinals have so momentum after winning a playoff game, and now look for senior QB Mannasseh Missick and junior LB, Jeremy Miller (125 tackles) to help them make a move up the Yadkin Valley conference standings.
Head Coach: Tim Carson (6th year as Weddington head football coach; 85-72 overall)
2015 Record: 11-3 (4-1 in the Southern Carolinas)
Key Returning Starters: Joey Hobbs, Sr., LB (5-11, 200); David Bayha, Sr., QB (6-2, 205); Wyatt Furlong, Sr., OT (6-0, 230); Eamon Murphy, So., WR/DB (6-1, 180).
Key Newcomers: John Williamson, Sr., DE/LB (6-3, 210); James Shipley, So., WR/DB (5-9, 155).
Returning Starters: 10 (5 offense; 5 defense)
Returning Lettermen: N/A
Outlook: Coach Tim Carson and his Weddington team have gotten used to winning big games with 45 victories over the past four seasons. This season, the Warriors look to get back on top of the SCC (runner-up to Marvin Ridge last season) and make another deep run in the 3AA playoffs and will need seniors in QB David Bayha, LB Joey Hobbs to lead the way.