High School Sports

Inside Union County high school football: players, games to watch, notes

Sun Valley’s Sam Howell has thrown for more than 7,000 yards in his first two seasons
Sun Valley’s Sam Howell has thrown for more than 7,000 yards in his first two seasons

10 Players To Watch

Name

School

Pos

Year

Comment

Luke Burnette

Sun Valley

TE/DE

Sr.

At 6-5, 245, will provide big target for QB Sam Howell.

Justin Crowder

Monroe

DL

Sr.

Had 25 tackles for a loss, six sacks last season

Caleb Deveaux

Marvin Ridge

RB/LB

Sr.

Rushed for 1,233 yards, 19 TDs for state quarterfinalist in ‘16

Cole Hopkins

Marvin Ridge

DE

Sr.

Had 85 tackles and 13 sacks last season

Sam Howell

Sun Valley

QB

Jr.

All-American has 7,200 yards passing, 91 TDs in first two seasons

Carter Kendall

Cuthbertson

DE

Sr.

Had 97 tackles and 10 sacks last season

Grayson McCall

Porter Ridge

QB

Jr.

Had more than 1,500 all purpose yards, 19 TDs last season; one of 14 starters back

Jeremy Miller

Union Academy

LB

Sr.

Posted 179 tackles, 11 sacks in 2016

Eamon Murphy

Weddington

LB

Jr.

One of seven returning starters counted on heavily to continue success of 2016 (13-3 record)

McKinley Nelson

Monroe

RB

Sr.

Rushed for 1,244 yards, 18 TDs for state power in ‘16

Notes

▪ Former Sun Valley defensive coordinator Jeff Edwards takes over at Central Academy...Cuthbertson was in the 2014 N.C. 3AA semifinals but is 13-12 in two seasons since. Fifth-year coach David Johnson has 13 starters and 38 lettermen back from a 6-6 team in an attempt to get back on track.

▪ A pair of state powers, and recent state champions, join the Union County-based Southern Carolina conference this year -- Monroe and Charlotte Catholic. Marvin Ridge coach Aubrey Carter feels with the changes, you can make an argument for this being the state’s toughest league.

▪ Metrolina Christian, 6-4 last year, has never had a losing season. Coach Thomas Langley starts his eighth season with 14 starters back, including QB Myles Saxton (1,400 yards passing, 15 TDs in ‘16). Sun Valley transfer Ishod Finger (1,200 all purpose yards in ‘16) moves over, too. The streak seems in good shape.

3 Can’t Miss Games

Ardrey Kell at Weddington, Aug. 18: This cross-county rivalry is building into quite a series: big crowds, good players, great games

Monroe at Charlotte Catholic, Sept. 22: The teams used to be rivals in the old Rocky River conference and this one, while early, could have a lot to do with who wins the Southern Carolina title in 2017.

Marvin Ridge at Sun Valley, Oct. 27: county rivals meet in a game that features two of the region’s best: Sun Valley QB Sam Howell; Marvin Ridge RB Caleb Deveaux.

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