Varsity football at Cannon and Lake Norman Charter schools is less than a month old, but already both teams have begun to establish identities as programs.
Cannon got its first win at home against Victory Christian two weeks ago, winning 31-20.
Meanwhile, Lake Norman Charter is still looking for its first varsity win.
Friday, both teams look to gain momentum heading into their respective conference seasons.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
The Cougars will look to beat the Knights for a second consecutive year, after defeating Lake Norman Charter 26-7 at home last year, but at the JV level.
Regardless of the score, this could be the beginning of a rivalry.
"We're both first-year programs trying to establish ourselves," said Cannon football coach Donnie Hayes. "Both schools are very close, and a lot of the kids know each other. With time, this might turn out to be a rivalry that we look forward to."
Cannon School has a first-year varsity program, but they have looked like a seasoned team on the field.
Junior quarterback Justin Redfern, who broke a bone in his thumb, is back at quarterback after playing other positions while his hand was in a cast. Redfern, who rushed for 217 yards against Victory Christian, is capable of doing damage with his arm and his legs.
Redfern also has a lot of help as Mason McClanahan has churned out 100 yard-plus games this season and helps the Cougars control the ball and the clock with an unforgiving rushing attack.
The Cougars, which lost to Harrells Christian 62-20 Friday, will give every team they play a steady dose of Redfern and McClanahan to try to control the ball and the clock and keep opposing offenses off the field.
Concord transfer Jason Willix is also a wildcard at both running back and wide receiver as the team's fastest player and one of the top playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Cannon's defense will also be a key to the game with defensive end Wesley Scott, a Concord transfer, being a major key on the defense. Scott, who had 17 tackles in the season opener against North Raleigh Christian, can dominate the line of scrimmage.
Willix and defensive back J.M. Wilson headline a secondary that can stop the run and the pass and force game changing turnovers.
Lake Norman Charter (0-4)
Lake Norman Charter coach Bob McKay is in the difficult position of starting a varsity program after taking over the team less than four months ago after former coach Tommy Straham's resignation.
The Knights, which are coming off a 31-21 loss to Wake Christian Academy, are only in the second year of organized high school football, and so far they have looked like a first-year varsity program, being outscored 148-41.
Freshman quarterback Michael Dorsainvil has the task of leading a first-year program in his first-year after former starter Keegan Brennan transferred to Hough.
Fullback Lee Bobo and company need to make life easier for Dorsainvil by making some noise in the ground game.
When Dorsainvil goes to the air from the spread offense, he will be looking for 6-foot-2 wideout Alex Scearce.
Defensively, the Knights have not been able to stop the run, which could be a very bad thing when the Cougars come to town.
Scearce is also probably the Knights' top tackler, with Dorsainvil the leader in the secondary.
While the Knights will likely struggle for most of the year, with time they should see better days.