High School Sports

Prep Football Preview: Cabarrus County

Riding with recruits: Ellie Marquardt

South Mecklenburg swimmer Ellie Marquardt, an all-conference swim star is unbeaten in dual meets in her four-year high school career. Marquardt has committed to Princeton. Recorded on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
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South Mecklenburg swimmer Ellie Marquardt, an all-conference swim star is unbeaten in dual meets in her four-year high school career. Marquardt has committed to Princeton. Recorded on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

Preseason all-county team

Offense

QB – Nick Wilds-Lawing, Northwest Cabarrus, 6-4, 180, Sr.

RB – Tyrese “Shady” Blake, Northwest Cabarrus, 5-9, 190, Sr.

RB – Ke’Shawn Harvey, Central Cabarrus, 5-11, 185, Sr.

WR – Jose Vargas, A.L. Brown, 6-3, 200, Sr.

WR – Christian Henry, Cox Mill, 6-0, 160, Sr.

TE – Sean Hughes, Jay M. Robinson, 6-0, 180, Sr.

OL – Braxton Shipp, Northwest Cabarrus, 6-4, 290, Sr.

OL – Blake Thomas, Mount Pleasant, 5-10, 250, Sr.

OL – Jatarius Mason, A.L. Brown, 6-3, 285, Sr.

OL – Drew Forston, Central Cabarrus, 6-3, 260, Sr.

OL – Zach Billings, Cox Mill, 5-11, 235, Sr.

Specialists

ATH – DeAndre Boykins, Central Cabarrus, 5-11, 195, Jr.

SPEC – JoJo Bond, Concord, 6-1, 185, Sr.

K/P – Owen Prifti, Mount Pleasant, 5-8, 200, Sr.

Defense

DL – Karsen Perkins, Northwest Cabarrus, 6-5, 240, Sr.

DL – Anthony Flores, Concord, 6-0, 265, Sr.

DL – Andre Hill, Northwest Cabarrus, 6-1, 210, Sr.

DL – DeNorris Hunsucker, Cox Mill, 6-1, 195, Sr.

LB – Memphis Jones, Jay M. Robinson, 6-1, 200, Jr.

LB – Logan Anderson, Central Cabarrus, 6-0, 230, Sr.

LB – B.J. Foster, A.L. Brown, 6-0, 215, Sr.

LB – Charlie Blazi, Hickory Ridge, 6-1, 220, Sr.

DB – Josiah Cauther, A.L. Brown, 5-10, 185, Sr.

DB – Devon Coley, Central Cabarrus, 5-8, 170, Sr.

DB – Jaden Smith, Concord, 6-1, 165, Sr.

DB – Bodan N’Dala, Cox Mill, 6-0, 200, Sr.

Cabarrus County Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Tyrese “Shady” Blake, Northwest Cabarrus, RB, Sr.

Cabarrus County Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Karsen Perkins, Northwest Cabarrus, DE, Sr.

Cabarrus County Preseason Coach of the Year: Jupiter Wilson, Hickory Ridge.

School Previews

A.L. BROWN

Head Coach: Mike Newsome (9th year as A.L. Brown head coach; 70-33 at A.L. Brown; 164-50 overall).

2018 Record: 6-6 (2-3 in the South Piedmont Conmaference (SPC)).

2019 Conference: SPC/3AA.

Returning Starters: 11 (3 offense; 8 defense).

Returning Letterman: 27

Key Returning Starters: Josiah Cauthen, Sr., DB (5-10, 185); Dezmond Adams, Sr., OLB (6-2, 190); Jose Vargas, Sr., WR (6-3, 200); Jacob Booker, Jr., DB (6-2, 180); Jaren Limpscomb, Sr., DB (5-10, 180); Tyreik Harris, Jr., LB/RB (5-10, 185); B.J. Foster, Sr., LB (6-1, 230); Terry Williams, Jr., DL (6-3, 270); Jatarius Mason, Sr., OL/DL (6-3, 285).

Other Key Returnees/Newcomers: Marcus Chapman, Sr., DB (6-2, 180); Jamison Flowe, Jr., RB/DB (5-10, 180); Austin Grunden, Sr., TE/HB (6-2, 200); Keenen Hamrick, So., OL/DL (6-5, 315); Jaden Johnson, So., TE/LB (6-2, 200); Omarion Moody, Jr., HB/LB (6-2, 190); Malik Morrison, Jr., OL/DL (6-2, 270); Torren Wright, So., LB (6-2, 190).

Outlook: The Wonders were up and down at 6-6 last year with a first round playoff exit. This year, A.L. Brown will depend on its defense (eight starters back) to be stout early. It will be led by senior LB B.J. Foster (86 tackles) and DB Josiah Cauthen (69 tackles). If the Wonders’ can get consistent production from a young offense, led by senior WR Jose Vargas (47 catches, nine touchdowns last year), they will have a chance to be a major factor in the SPC.

CABARRUS WARRIORS

Head Coach: Brad Hoover (5th year as head coach; 1st year as Cabarrus Warriors’ head coach).

2018 Record: 5-5 (3-1 in the NCISAA Piedmont Athletic Conference as Cannon School); Concord First Assembly was 2-7, 0-3 in the NCISAA PAC.

2019 Conference: NCISAA Piedmont Athletic Conference (PAC)/4A.

Returning Starters: 15

Returning Letterman: 31

Key Returning Starters: Javon Myers, Sr., WR (6-2, 185); Fred Peace, Sr., RB (5-10, 200); Mitch Jeter, Sr., K (5-10, 180); A.J. Pierce, So., WR (6-0, 175); Xander Lamb, So., WR (6-1, 180).

Key Newcomers: Chase Love; Evan DuDonis.

Outlook: Cannon School and Concord First Assembly will combine forces to this year to create a new team called the Cabarrus Warriors. Both programs have been solid in recent years and return several playmakers in RB Fred Peace, WRs Xander Lamb and A.J. Pierce. The Warriors have the experience (15 starters back) to be a factor in the league race.

CENTRAL CABARRUS

Head Coach: Kenneth McClamrock (3rd year as Central Cabarrus’ head coach; 12-11 at Central Cabarrus; 26-34 overall).

2018 Record: 8-4 (2-3 in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC)).

2019 Conference: SPC/3AA.

Returning Starters: 8 (4 offense; 4 defense).

Returning Letterman: 25

Key Returning Starters: DeAndre Boykins, Jr., ATH/CB/RB/WR/S (5-11, 195); Ke’Shawn Harvey, Sr., RB/DB (5-11, 185); Logan Anderson, Sr., LB/OL (6-0, 230); Devon Coley, Sr., CB (5-8, 170); Chandler Rivers, Sr., WR (5-10, 150); Kevin Clerge, Jr., CB (5-11, 175); Amir Weston, Sr., OL (5-11, 235).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Central Cabarrus make a big jump last season going from 4-7 in 2017 to 8-4. This year, the Vikings will return only eight starters. But Central has some major playmakers in junior RB/DB/ATH DeAndre Boykins (multiple, major Division I offers, one of top ranked player in the nation in class of 2021) and all-SPC senior RB Ke’Shawn Harvey (1,244 yards rushing).

CONCORD

Head Coach: Marty Paxton (2nd year as Concord head coach; 69-75 overall).

2018 Record: 1-10 (1-6 in the South Piedmont conference (SPC)).

2019 Conference: SPC/3A.

Returning Starters: 14 (6 offense; 8 defense).

Returning Letterman: 30

Key Returning Starters: Jaden Smith, Sr., WR/DB (6-1, 165); Anthony Flores, Sr., OL/DL (6-0, 265); JoJo Bond, Sr., ATH (6-1, 185); Nijel Johnson, Sr., DB/WR (6-1, 175); Da’jon Johnson, Sr., QB/DB (5-10, 155); Jerry Earl, Jr., DL (6-1, 235); Tre Wilson, Jr., DE/RB (6-3, 220).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Concord averaged 11 wins per season from 2009-17 with only one losing season in that span before falling to 1-10 last year. This season, 14 starters return, including senior QB Da’jon Johnson (1,400 yards of total offense last year) and RB/ATH JoJo Bond. On defense, DL Anthony Flores, and DB Jaden Smith lead the Concord unit. The Spiders should be a much more competitive team in 2019 with more talent and experience than a year ago. Expect Concord to be a factor in the SPC race and return to the 3A state playoffs.

COX MILL

Head Coach: Craig Stewart (7th year as Cox Mill head coach; 27-42 at Cox Mill).

2018 Record: 8-4 (4-1 in the South Piedmont conference (SPC)).

2019 Conference: SPC/3AA.

Returning Starters: 8

Returning Letterman: 25

Key Returning Starters: DeNorris Hunsucker, Sr., DE (6-1, 195); Wesley Poindexter, Sr., DB (5-10, 175); Bodan N’dala, Sr., LB (6-0, 200); Berry Robertson, Sr., WR (6-0, 185); Christian Henry, Sr., WR (6-0, 180); Jelynn Barnett, Jr., RB (5-11, 190).

Key Newcomers: Varney Farhnbullah, Jr., QB (6-1, 185); Chase Andrikanich, Jr., DB (6-1, 180); Kirk Hall, Jr., LB (5-11, 195).

Outlook: Cox Mill went 8-4 last season, after going 8-25 the previous three seasons (2015-17). This year with only eight starters back, it won’t be easy to stay in the top half of the SPC. The Chargers will need playmakers like junior RB Jelynn Barnett and senior DE DeNorris Hunsucker to step into lead roles to help a young team return to the postseason for a second straight year.

HICKORY RIDGE

Head Coach: Jupiter Wilson (1st year as Hickory Ridge head coach; former Hickory Ridge assistant).

2018 Record: 5-6 (3-4 in the Southwestern 4A (SW4A)).

2019 Conference: SW4A/4A.

Returning Starters: 12

Returning Letterman: 31

Key Returning Starters: Kaiyon Courtney, Sr., C (6-3, 280); Parris Taylor, Sr., G (6-2, 260); Tyrell Davis, Sr., S (6-1, 185); Jaylen Nicholson, Sr., CB (6-1, 175); Elijah McWilliams, Jr., RB (5-10, 180); Nolan Carey (Jr.), Sr., RB (6-1, 190); Cameron Rose, Sr., WR (6-2, 175); Talyn Hunter, Sr., OT (6-3, 255); Charlie Blazi, Sr., LB (6-1, 220).

Key Newcomers: Cade Goldman, So., OT (6-4, 280); Devin McCain, So., LB (6-1, 195); Isaiah Bullerdick, So., OG (6-1, 270).

Outlook: After 11 and 12 win seasons in 2016 and 2017, Hickory Ridge slipped to 5-6 last year. This season, former UNC lineman Jupiter Wilson looks to help get the Ragin’ Bulls look to get back on the right side of .500 and back into the 4A state playoffs. Wilson was an assistant last season under Sam Greiner. Wilson will lean on RBs Nolan Carey, Elijah McWilliams and a veteran offensive line to lead a ball-control offense, while senior LB Charlie Blazi is back to headline the defense.

JAY M. ROBINSON

Head Coach: Richard Williams (2nd year as Jay M. Robinson head coach).

2018 Record: 6-6 (2-3 in the South Piedmont conference (SPC)).

2019 Conference: SPC/3A.

Returning Starters: 9 (4 offense; 5 defense).

Returning Letterman: 16

Key Returning Starters: Andre Hamilton, Sr., RB/S (5-11, 180); Tyler Perkins, Sr., OL/DL (6-0, 215); Dylan Tucker, Sr., WR/DB (5-11, 160); Memphis Jones, Jr., RB/LB (6-1, 200); Bryan Stewart, Jr., WR/DB (6-2, 160); Josh Grant, Jr., WR/RB (5-7, 155).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Bulldogs averaged 10 wins per season from 2015-17, before slipping to 6-6 a year ago. This year, with only nine starters back Robinson will need leadership -- and big-time performance -- from players like RB Andre Hamilton, RB/WR Josh Grant and WR Bryan Stewart. On defense, LB Memphis Jones returns for a unit that expects to contend in the SPC conference and reach the postseason for a fifth straight season.

MOUNT PLEASANT

Head Coach: Michael Johns (21st year as Mount Pleasant head coach; 130-122).

2018 Record: 6-6 (4-0 in the Rocky River conference).

2019 Conference: Rocky River Conference/2AA.

Returning Starters: 6 (3 offense; 3 defense).

Returning Letterman: 25

Key Returning Starters/Other Returning Players: Lawson Furr, Sr., DT (5-10, 260); Ben Wright, Sr., OL (5-10, 270); Ayden Honeycutt, Sr., TE/DL (6-1, 270); Blake Thomas, Sr., OL/DL (5-10, 250); Owen Prifti, Sr., K/P (5-8, 200); Shane Reigal, Sr., DB (5-10, 150); Ryan Tyson, Jr., QB/ATH/LB; Carson Furr, Jr., OL/DE (6-1, 240); Sawyer Osborne, Jr., WR/DB (6-0, 170).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Mount Pleasant has won the last two Rocky River conference titles, but will try to three-peat with only six starters back. Junior QB Ryan Tyson and a veteran offensive line featuring Carson Furr, Lawson Furr, Ayden Honeycutt and Blake Thomas will lead the offense. But Mount Pleasant will need some younger, skill players on both sides of the ball to emerge if they are going to 3-peat.

NORTHWEST CABARRUS

Head Coach: Brandon Gentry (4th year as Northwest Cabarrus football coach).

2018 Record: 13-1 (6-0 in the South Piedmont 3A conference (SPC)).

2019 Conference: SPC/3A.

Returning Starters: 15

Returning Letterman: 25

Key Returning Starters: Tyrese Blake, Sr., RB (5-9, 190); Nick Wilds-Lawing, Sr., QB (6-4, 180); Karsen Perkins, Sr., TE/DE (6-5, 240); Braxton Shipp, Sr., OL (6-4, 290); Kenneth Pierce, Sr., OL (6-2, 312); Mason Waller, Sr., OL (6-2, 305); Cam Saunders, Sr., WR/DB (5-9, 175); L.J. Curry, Sr., LB/RB (6-1, 205); Avarion Cole, Jr., S (6-0, 190); Marquan Williams, Jr., WR/DB (5-11, 175).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: After winning just 12 games in the previous four years combined, Northwest Cabarrus had a dream season last year going 13-1 with a third-round playoff berth. This year, 15 starters return, with even more motivation, led by senior playmakers in RB Tyrese Blake (SPC player of the year, 2,500 yards rushing, 36 touchdowns last year) and QB Nick Wilds-Lawing (1,715 yards passing last year) that will operate behind a veteran offensive line. The Trojans also boast a strong defense, led by senior DE Karsen Perkins (13 sacks). Northwest Cabarrus is eager to prove they build on last year’s success, repeat as SPC champions and make another deep playoff run.

Cabarrus County conference predictions

NCISAA Piedmont Athletic Conference

  1. Metrolina Christian; 2. High Point Christian; 3. Cabarrus Warriors; 4. Covenant Day; 5. SouthLake Christian.

Rocky River Conference

1. Mount Pleasant; 2. Anson County; 3. Forest Hills; 4. West Stanly; 5. Montgomery Central.

South Piedmont Conference (SPC)

  1. Northwest Cabarrus; 2. A.L. Brown; 3. Cox Mill; 4. Jay M. Robinson; 5. Central Cabarrus; 6. Concord.

Southwestern 4A Conference (SW4A)

Will be released later when the Mecklenburg County previews appear.

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