Cabarrus

Spiders aim high, want to take SPC crown

Glen Padgett's first year at Concord didn't get off to the right start.

But after an 0-6 beginning, something seemed to click for the Spiders, as the team finished the season with five back-to-back wins before Hibriten defeated them 40-6 to end their season.

Padgett is excited about his Spiders carrying their late-season momentum and what they learned in the second half of last season into this year.

"A lot of teams could've quit, but these guys didn't," he said.

"I think they learned from that, what it takes to win and that they can win."

Concord returns 13 starters - six defensive and seven on the offensive side, so the team will have an experienced group of players.

The offense will be led by quarterback B.J. Beecher, who had a surprising all-conference season as only a freshman last year. Beecher threw for nearly 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns after moving up from the Spiders' JV team halfway through last season.

Padgett said Beecher, who will be in charge of Padgett's multiple offense, has improved this offseason.

"He's taller, bigger," said Padgett. "We have big expectations for him."

Beecher will have plenty of talented receivers to throw the ball to, as Concord return senior Elijah Bost and junior J.D. Misenheimer.

The offensive line should also play a large role for Concord, as they return three of four starters, including three-year staring center Nathan Santiago.

But they could be the team's biggest weakness, as they lack the size up front.

"We're not very big so we're not going to knock anybody off the ball," he said. "What we do, we have to be successful at."

Concord also returns running back Dominique Posey, who rushed for 792 yards and 13 touchdowns last season before tearing his ACL. Senior tailback Varen Blake, who had 204 rushing yards and three touchdowns in 2009, should provide a one-two running combo for the Spiders.

Concord's run-pass balance should give the Spiders a big boost.

"We're going to have the ability to keep people off balance," he said.

The Concord defense will be led by all-conference inside linebacker Jalen Brown, who was the Spiders' most valuable defensive player.

Brown will get a lot of help from nose guard Bradley Philips, who was second in the conference is sacks last season, and Tevin Barnes, who has been a three-year starter at linebacker.

Five of the Spiders' front seven return, led by senior defensive lineman Darin Posey, who had 97 tackles last season.

The defense should also see some improvement as Concord players get a better grasp of Padgett's 5-2 defense.

On special teams, Concord lost its kicker/punter, Braden Barnhardt, to graduation as well as their holder.

"Do we want to go undefeated? Yeah, every team does. Do we want to win the conference? Of course, we do."

But he knows there's work to be done.

"There's nothing you can't do better," said Padgett.

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