The Lake Norman area hasn't always been known for its elite football talent.
But the region has begun to establish itself as a legitimate state contender from the public to the private school ranks.
This year, the area had its best season to date as three local teams made it to the state semifinals or better, as Davidson Day claimed the private school Division III state championship, SouthLake Christian made the Division II state semifinals and Mooresville reached the 4A semifinals.
Davidson Day won the state championship in its first year as a varsity team, going 11-1with their only loss coming at perennial power Charlotte Latin.
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Meanwhile, SouthLake reached the state semifinals for a second straight year, going 10-2 overall before falling to Asheville Christian.
Mooresville continued its ascent under coach Hal Capps, going 12-3 before losing a heartbreaker to Porter Ridge to end a magical run.
South Iredell also had an impressive year, starting 13-0 and winning a Catawba Valley Athletic Conference title before losing to West Stokes in the third round of the 2AA playoffs.
Hopewell, under first-year coach David Johnson, also won a playoff game, beating Asheville Roberson before falling to Sun Valley in the second round.
East Lincoln, Lake Norman and Lake Norman Charter also reached the playoffs but lost in their respective first-round games.
Lake Norman Player of the Year: Will Grier, Davidson Day
Will Grier had never played a varsity football snap before the season started.
But by the end of the year, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore is being widely considered as one of the best signal callers in the area after passing for 3,785 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Grier, who ran for another 925 yards and 11 scores, was key in leading the Patriots to the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association's Division III title in the process.
While Grier still has two more years in high school, he is already being recruited by Clemson, Duke, Georgia and Virginia to name a few.
Lake Norman Coach of the Year: Hal Capps, Mooresville
Two years ago, Hal Capps took over a Mooresville team that went 0-11 in 2009.
After leading his team to an 8-4 mark and a 4A playoff berth in his first year, the Capps-led Blue Devils got even better this year. Despite losing talented players from last year's squad, Mooresville finished with a 12-3 mark, including a 6-1 record in the I-Meck with their only loss coming to 4AA state semifinalist Mallard Creek.
Capps, who's 20-7 in his two seasons at Mooresville, led his team to playoff wins over East Gaston, Watauga and Sun Valley before losing in a 34-28 game to Porter Ridge in the state semis without quarterback Deonte Black
All-Lake Norman football team
QB - Will Grier, Davidson Day: Sophomore accounted for more than 4,710 yards and 60 touchdowns..
RB - Marcus "Bubba" McDowell, East Lincoln: Senior finished with 2,351 all-purpose yards and 38 touchdowns, including 1,852 yards and 30 scores on ground.
RB - Cameron Mattox, South Iredell: Senior finished with 2,055 yards and 31 touchdowns on the ground.
RB - Denzel Heath, Hopewell: Senior was top Titan player on both sides of the ball, being picked to Shrine Bowl as linebacker.
WR - Demitri Allison, SouthLake Christian: All-state junior had 48 catches for 1,004 yards and 16 touchdowns.
WR - Aaron Seward, Davidson Day: Grier's top target had 65 catches for 1,075 yards and 14 touchdowns.
WR - Alex Scearce, Lake Norman Charter: 6-foot-4 All-SPC junior had 48 catches for 820 yards and 13 touchdowns.
WR/TE - Quataye Smyre, South Iredell: Vikings' home-run threat had 32 catches for 500 yards and 10 touchdowns.
ATH - Deonte Black, Mooresville: Blue Devils' all-purpose threat rushed for 1,396 yards and 15 scores as quarterback.
OL - Zach Brown, Mooresville: All-I-Meck senior paved way for a lot of Devils' rushing success.
OL - Karson Sherrill, Lake Norman: All-I-Meck tackle lived up to his family tradition of great offensive linemen.
OL - Tre Hunt, Davidson Day: All-state senior anchored Patriot line and defense.
OL - Kyle Branch, East Lincoln: All-SPC Mustangs' senior was a big part of McDowell's rushing success.
OL - Troy Lowden, SouthLake Christian: All-state senior lineman lead a veteran Eagle line.
DL - Deandre Coleman, Mooresville: Junior led standout defensive line with 11 sacks and 105 tackles.
DL - Charles Wilkes, Mooresville: Two-time All-I-Meck pick had 10 sacks and 91 tackles as a senior.
DL - Garrett Kight, Lake Norman: Senior co-captain had 78 tackles, 12 sacks, three fumble recoveries and three blocked field goals.
DL - Taylor Jurney, SouthLake Christian: All-state senior defensive end led area with 18 sacks.
DL/LB - Scott Richardson, SouthLake Christian: Bookend with Jurney earned all-state honors with 13 sacks.
LB - Tyler Rhodes, East Lincoln: Senior had 126 tackles and four sacks for 7-5 Mustangs..
LB - Scott Miller, South Iredell: CVAC Defensive Player of the Year had 181 tackles to lead Vikings.
LB - Scott Markofski, Mooresville: Senior led stingy Blue Devil defense with 122 tackles.
LB - Martavion Moore, Mooresville: Alongside Markofski, senior had 113 tackles, including eight sacks and 12 for a loss.
ATH - Sean Kane, Lake Norman Charter: At 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, senior had 164 tackles and eight sacks.
DB - Andre Diouf, SouthLake Christian: All-state cornerback led Charlotte area with nine interceptions.
DB - Nate Mays, Hough: Senior led second-year team in big plays, tackles and interceptions.
DB - Ben Craig, Hough: All-I-Meck selection had good senior year for 4-7 Huskies.
DB - B.J. Stockton, Mooresville: All I-Meck senior led Blue Devil secondary with 79 tackles, adding five interceptions.
K/P - Allen Robertson, Lake Norman: All-I-Meck kicker made a huge impact with his leg, establishing field position, adding five field goals, 21 touchbacks and timely punting.
KR - Terrence Clyburn, North Mecklenburg: I-Meck Specialist of the Year was dangerous every time he touched the ball.
PR - Jordan Brown, Davidson Day: All-state performer averaged more than 30 yards per return (punt/kick) and had a score on both kick and punt return.