A.L. Brown and Concord continued their dominance of the South Piedmont Conference this season.
Kannapolis won its second consecutive conference title. The Wonders, led by first-year coach Mike Newsome, finished the year 12-2, reaching the third round of the 3AA playoffs before being eliminated by Charlotte Catholic.
Concord, which was 10-4 (5-2), stumbled at times but made it to the third round before falling to perennial 3A power West Rowan in a 20-14 game.
But while the Wonders and Spiders were again on top of the SPC, several teams began closing the gap, beginning with Cox Mill, whose 8-4, 5-2 mark was the best in its short history.
Hickory Ridge, Northwest Cabarrus and Mount Pleasant also made the playoffs but lost in the first round.
Meanwhile, among the private schools, First Assembly (9-3) won its third consecutive NCISAA Division II state title, beating Asheville School 14-10 in the final.
Cannon School made its first-ever playoff appearance to cap off a 6-5 season. The Cougars were eliminated by First Assembly in the state semifinals.
Central Cabarrus (2-9) didn't make the postseason but got its first two wins since 2007, beating South Rowan and Parkwood.
Cabarrus News Player of the Year: B.J. Beecher, Concord
Concord quarterback B.J. Beecher came into the season with high expectations. The Spiders' 6-foot-7 junior signal-caller lived up to most of them, earning co-SPC Offensive Player of the Year - shared with A.L. Brown's Kalif Phillips - by passing for 2,957 yards and 32 touchdowns while leading his team to a 10-win season and two playoff wins.
The best thing about Beecher is that he will be back next year, when the rising senior will likely have his team in the conversation to contend for a 3A state championship.
Cabarrus News Coach of the Year: Mike Newsome, A.L. Brown
Mike Newsome came to Kannapolis after leading his Butler High teams to back-to-back, undefeated seasons and 4AA state titles.
While Newsome didn't lead the Wonders to a state championship, he did nearly everything else, overcoming several key injuries, including one to star tailback Damien Washington, to go 12-2 overall and 7-0 in the conference.
Newsome's team won the always important "Battle for the Bell" against Concord in his first attempt.
All-Cabarrus News football team
QB - B.J. Beecher, Concord: Junior, accounted for more than 3,000 yards and 39 touchdowns on the season.
RB - Kalif Phillips, A.L. Brown: Junior, stepped into star role with 1,632 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground.
RB - Denzel Phillips, Concord: 5-foot-7, 170 pound junior was big with 1,831 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.
RB - Damien Washington, A.L. Brown: North Carolina signee had 992 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
WR - Keeon Johnson, A.L. Brown: 6-foot-3 junior had 39 catches for 795 yards and nine scores.
WR - Andy Hunt, Mount Pleasant: Tiger's top offensive weapon had 54 catches for 728 yards, seven touchdowns.
WR - Alex Asbury, Concord: 6-foot-2 junior emerged as Beecher's top target with 43 catches for 665 yards and 10 touchdowns.
TE - Terrance Knox, Concord: UNC-bound senior had 32 catches for 426 yards and seven touchdowns.
ATH - Dante Simmons, First Assembly: Doubled as Eagle quarterback/running back while earning all-state honors in the process.
OL - Chris Blakeney, Cox Mill: 6-foot-2, 327-pound All-SPC performer paves way for Chargers' running game.
OL - Trevor Truesdale, Concord: All-SPC senior led Spiders in "pancake" blocks while opening up room for Spider backs.
OL - Phillip Halstenburg, A.L. Brown: All-SPC senior was another big piece in the vaunted A.L. Brown rushing attack.
OL - Josh Chapman, Hickory Ridge: All-SPC lineman is key in Bulls' focus on the running game.
OL - Schuyler Coleman, First Assembly: Massive tackle (6-9, 375 pounds) had 28 pancake blocks to lead Eagle running game.
DL - Tristian Green, Cox Mill: All-SPC defensive end, also a tight end, was constantly in the backfield with a league-best 17 sacks.
DL - Dezmond Leach, Mount Pleasant: Senior had 94 tackles, 4.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries to lead the Tigers.
DL - Gerald Holt, A.L. Brown: Senior co-captain was versatile part of defense that allowed 12 points per game in regular season.
DL - Sheldon Williams, First Assembly: Northwest Cabarrus transfer was an all-state defensive end for Eagles.
DL/LB - D.J. Freeman, Hickory Ridge: All-SPC senior led tough Ragin' Bulls defense that allowed only 20 points per contest.
LB - Deon Pillsbury, Mount Pleasant: Senior led SPC, Tigers with 173 tackles, five fumble recoveries.
LB - Jerry Burk, Concord: All-SPC linebacker had 139 tackles being just a sophomore.
LB - John Bass, A.L. Brown: All-SPC senior was a rock in the middle for the Wonders all year.
LB - Easton Sprabary, First Assembly: All-state performer has been a standout all along for three-time state champions.
ATH - Diron Chloe, Cox Mill: All-SPC linebacker was equally as talented at running back (1,001 yards rushing).
DB - Kaleel Hollis, A.L. Brown: SPC Defensive Player of the Year made big plays all over the field as a safety.
DB - Logan Sedergren, Concord: Sophomore is already showing big-time potential with 108 tackles, All-SPC honors.
DB - Parker Kenney, Cox Mill: Another multi-position All-SPC athlete had three interceptions to lead talented secondary.
DB - Jason Willix, Cannon: All-state defensive back was major part of Cougar's success on offense, defense and special teams.
K - Blake Brewer, Cannon: All-state performer did a bit of everything as Cougars' kicker and punter, with 14 field goals.
P - Bradley Pinion, Northwest Cabarrus: Clemson signee lived up to his potential with his ability to be a game-changer.
KR - E.J. Rhinehart, Northwest Cabarrus: 6-foot-4, multi-position, All-SPC athlete made big plays for the Trojans.
PR - Evan Mojtabai, Cox Mill: All-SPC performer averaged 19 yards per punt return as a senior.