Lake area loaded with talent

The official start of high school football practice is Aug. 1, one week from Monday, but most teams are ready to play on Friday nights.

The Lake Norman area is again stocked with a load of individual talent and teams, from the public to the private schools.

The big question this year is whether an I-Meck team other than Mallard Creek can challenge for conference title, after two years of domination by the Mavericks.

Both Hopewell and Mooresville look up to the challenge after major changes and improvements in the 2010 season.

Hopewell (8-5 last year) will have a new look in the spread offense under first-year coach David Johnson, who came from Berry Academy.

Mooresville was one of the most improved teams in the state under first-year coach Hal Capps, going from 0-11 in 2009 to 8-4 last year.

Lake Norman (2-9) and North Mecklenburg (3-7) look to get in the playoff race after struggling last season, while Hough (2-8) and coach Bobby Collins look to make strides in year two of the program.

East Lincoln (8-4) will look to take back Southern Piedmont Conference bragging rights from archrival Lincolnton. Lake Norman Charter joins the conference in only its second year as a varsity team.

Southlake Christian (9-3) will try to live up to its record and its trip to the 2A NCISAA state semifinals last year. But it must replace departed starters at most of its skill positions.

Davidson Day gets its first taste of varsity football later this month. But after its JV and middle school teams went undefeated last year, can the program have similar success at varsity level?

The answers will have to wait, but the best players and the best games are right here in front of you.