The 2021 Cabarrus County high school football preview

Jay Edwards, Langston Wertz Jr.
·14 min read

A.L. BROWN

Head Coach: Mike Newsome (10th year as A.L. Brown head coach).

2019 Record: 8-4 (3-2 in the South Piedmont Conference).

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3AA.

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

Returning Lettermen: 29

Key Returning Starters: Isaiah Black, Sr., WR (6-0, 170); Torren Wright, Jr., OLB (6-3, 220); Cam Kromah, Jr., QB (6-4, 190); Jaden Johnson, Jr., HB (6-1, 210); Jamison Flowe, Sr., RB (5-10, 180); Todd Kennedy, Jr., RB/LB (5-10, 185); Brycen Schenck, Sr., LB (5-10, 190); Luke Stone, Sr., OL (6-3, 270); Terry Williams, Sr., DL (6-3, 285); Omarion Moody, Sr., LB (6-2, 200).

Key Newcomers: Antarron Turner, Jr., LB (6-3, 220); Ty Woods, So., K/P (5-10, 160); C.J. Wilson, Jr., RB/LB (6-0, 180); Teddy Russell, So., RB/ATH (6-2, 170); Jamare Robinson, So., RB/ATH (6-0, 180); Trent Thompson, Jr., OLB (6-0, 170).

Outlook: The Wonders have been consistent winners, averaging nine wins per season over the last five years. This year, Coach Mike Newsome and company have a chance to be even better with 14 starters back. Junior quarterback, Cam Kromah (1,685 yards, 14 touchdown passes last year), senior running back, Todd Kennedy, Jr. (531 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns) and senior wideout, Isaiah Black (548 yards receiving) will power an offense on the verge of big things. Meanwhile, linebackers in senior, Brycen Schenck (83 tackles last year) junior, Torren Wright (84 tackles) lead an experienced defense. A.L. Brown has the nucleus on both sides of the ball to contend for the South Piedmont Conference title which will have them more than prepared for a deep, 3AA state playoff run.

CENTRAL CABARRUS

Head Coach: Zach Bevilacqua (1st year as Central Cabarrus head coach).

2019 Record: 7-5 (3-2 in the South Piedmont Conference).

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3AA.

Returning Starters: 8

Returning Lettermen: 30

Key Returning Starters: Elijah Horton, Sr., SS/WR/RB (6-0, 195); Mekhi Dunn, Sr., CB/WR/KR (5-11, 175); Kevin Clerge, Sr., CB/WR (6-1, 170); Gabe Talahumbu, Sr., OL/DL (6-2, 250); Jaiden Hastings, Sr., OL (6-3, 260); Lane Ratzloff, Sr., TE/DE (6-3, 220); Te’Veon Glover, Sr., LB (6-3, 190); Guillermo Benitez, Sr., DL (6-1, 220)

Key Returnees: Michello Elguero, Sr., OL (6-0, 250); Austin Himes, Sr., QB/LB (6-0, 200); Jose Martinez, Sr., OL (5-10, 230).

Key Newcomers: Emerson Baker, Jr., OL (6-3, 290); Jayden Kibler, So., LB (5-10, 200); Colby Kiser, Jr., FS (5-10, 170).

Outlook: Central Cabarrus’ new head coach, Zach Bevilacqua inherits a veteran team that is 15-9 in the last two years. The Vikings need two-way playmakers like seniors, Kevin Clerge (three interceptions), Elijah Horton (79 tackles, five sacks, 19 catches for 207 yards) and Te’veon Glover (94 tackles) to excel if they are going to stay in the upper half of the South Piedmont conference (SPC) race. Central Cabarrus will have to earn every victory in the ultra-competitive, all-Cabarrus County, SPC to put themselves back in the playoffs for a third straight season.

CONCORD

Head Coach: Marty Paxton (3rd year as Concord head coach).

2019 Record: 1-10 (1-5 in the South Piedmont Conference).

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

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

Returning Lettermen: 15

Key Returning Starters: Jameson Hackett, Jr., DL/OL (6-1, 250); Kadin Presutti, Jr., WR/DB/QB (6-1, 175); Caius Hartsell, Jr., OL/DL (6-2, 280); Isaiah Clark, Sr., K/P/WR (5-10, 155); Jacori James, Sr., RB/LB (6-0, 200).

Key Newcomers: Tristen Pitman, Jr., LB/TE/WR; Keveus Phillip, Jr., LB/RB.

Outlook: Concord has struggled mightily in the last two years with back-to-back 1-10 records. The Spiders have taken their lumps with a younger roster, and should start to see that pay off this year. Concord will need two-way athletes, seniors in RB/LB, Jacori James, K/P/WR Isaiah Clark, and juniors DB/QB, Kadin Presutti and OL/DL, Jameson Hackett and Caius Hartsell to step up their games for a team that is eager to prove it climb out of the bottom of the SPC standings.

COX MILL

Head Coach: DeShawn Baker (1st year as Cox Mill head coach).

2019 Record: 7-5 (4-1 in South Piedmont Conference).

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3AA.

Returning Starters: 10 (5 offense; 5 defense).

Returning Lettermen: 14

Key Returning Starters: Varney Farhnbullah, Sr., QB (6-1, 190); Reid Mitchell, Sr., DE/TE (6-5, 225) Ty Roberson, Sr., LB (5-10, 210); Sekou Roland, Sr., LB (6-1, 225); Jacob Hagy, Sr., OG (5-11, 240); Austyn Krok, Sr., OT (6-3, 245); Grant Hemric, Sr., OL (6-0, 255); Prince Ford, Sr., DB (6-0, 165); Tyshon Bullock, Sr., DE (6-2 250).

Key Returnees: Tyrell Coard, Jr., RB (6-0, 200); Kendall Harris, Jr., WR (6-1, 175); Jordan Trice, Jr., OL (6-2, 265).

Key Newcomers: R.J. Dunn, Jr., WR/DB (5-11, 170) (North Mecklenburg transfer); A.J. Pierce, Jr., WR (5-9, 165) (Cabarrus Warriors’ transfer).

Outlook: Cox Mill has been much improved in the past two seasons, going 15-9 in that span, after winning just eight games combined the previous three years (2015-17). The Chargers have plenty of firepower to contend in the South Piedmont conference with senior quarterback, Varney Farhbullah (2,670 yards passing, 27 touchdowns) making plays behind a veteran offense line featuring seniors, Grant Hemric and Austyn Krok. Meanwhile, the Cox Mill defense will depend on an experience front seven with seniors, Tyshon Bullock, Reid Mitchell, Ty Roberson and Sekou Roland, headlining the group. Cox Mill has the experience and talent to repeat as SPC champions (co-champions with Northwest Cabarrus), but will have plenty of competition in the all-Cabarrus County league.

HICKORY RIDGE

Head Coach: Jupiter Wilson (2nd year as Hickory Ridge head coach).

2019 Record: 8-4 (5-2 in the Southwestern 4A Conference).

Conference: Southwestern 4A Conference/4A.

Returning Starters: 11

Returning Lettermen: 30

Key Returning Starters: Alex Smith, Sr., Safety (6-2, 185); Cade Goldman, Jr., OT (6-4, 290); Christian Hamilton, So., WR (6-0, 180); Isaiah Bullerdick, Jr., C/OG (6-2, 280); Derrick Brinton, Sr., WR (6-1, 180); Carlton Hunt, Sr., CB/S (5-9, 170); Riley Stubbs, Sr., K (5-11, 170); Parker Jones, Sr., OL/DL (6-1, 220); Jalen Walker, Sr., CB (5-9, 165).

Key Returnees: Alex Bentley, Jr., QB (5-11, 170); Sabin McLaughlin, Jr., RB/DB (5-11, 180); Malik Thompson, Sr., OL/DL (6-4, 295); Donnie Stone, Sr., DB/SB (5-8, 155); Aaron Carey, So., RB (5-11, 210).

Key Newcomers: Cannon Turner, Jr., OL (6-3, 265); Colin Seets, Jr., OL (6-5, 295); Kyle Perry, So., LB (5-10, 170).

Outlook: Hickory Ridge has been a consistent winner, averaging nine victories per season over the last five while holding their own in a tough, Southwestern 4A (SW4A) conference. This year, the Ragin’ Bulls should have an explosive offense with one of the top wide receivers in the country in sophomore, Christian Hamilton (30 catches for 638 yards, six touchdowns as a freshman), and senior Derrick Brinton (14 catches for 200 yards). Hickory Ridge also boasts an experienced offensive line, including senior Parker Jones and juniors, Isaiah Bullerdick and Cade Goldman. The defense will rely on an experienced secondary with seniors Carlton Hunt and Alex Smith and Jalen Walker, all returning to a unit that allowed 20 points per game a year ago.

Nothing comes easy in the SW4A, but Hickory Ridge has proven it can hang in the top half of the league standings, which will have them more than prepared for the 4A state playoffs.

JAY M. ROBINSON

Head Coach: Darius Robinson (1st year as Jay M. Robinson head coach).

2019 Record: 1-10 (0-5 in the South Piedmont conference).

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

Returning Starters: 14

Returning Lettermen: 25

Key Returning Starters: Carson Beane, Sr., OL/DL (6-3, 225); Terrance Chapman, Sr., RB/ATH (6-0, 175); Cortlin Curney, Sr., WR (6-1, 185); Joshua Grant, Sr., QB/ATH (5-8, 165); Mason Gregory, Sr., OL (6-2, 265); Memphis Jones, Sr., LB/TE (6-1, 205); Bryson Mason, Sr., ATH/WR (5-11, 165); Bryan Stewart, Sr., ATH (6-2, 195)

Key Returnees: Deavin Hobbs, So. ATH (6-4, 215); Samarion Hughes, Jr., DB/WR (5-11); Caleb Johnson, Jr., DB/WR (5-11, 150); William Suttles, Jr., RB/DB (5-8, 150)

Key Newcomers: Blue Monroe, Jr., QB (6-1, 205); Ty’Shon Sifford, Sr., WR/DB (6-0, 155).

Outlook: Jay M. Robinson suffered through a 1-10 season last year after averaging nine win per season the previous four years. New head coach, Darius Robinson, believes the Bulldogs can get right back into contention in the South Piedmont conference (SPC). Jay M. Robinson has multiple weapons on offense with senior quarterback/athlete, Joshua Grant and running backs, Terrance Chapman, and Northwest Cabarrus transfer (wide receiver), Bryson Mason, all sharing the ball. Meanwhile, all-conference linebacker, Memphis Jones (90 tackles) and Mason will lead a defense that must be more stingy against SPC offenses. The Bulldogs will have to learn new schemes on both offense and defense, but have the experience to be a factor in the league race, while getting back into playoff picture.

MOUNT PLEASANT

Head Coach: Michael Johns (22nd year as Mount Pleasant head coach).

2019 Record: 4-8 (2-2 in the Rocky River Conference).

Conference: Rocky River Conference/2AA.

Returning Starters: 17

Returning Lettermen: 35

Key Returning Starters: Ryan Tyson, Sr., QB/LB (6-1, 215); Dalton Miller, Sr., RB/OLB (5-7, 165); Carson Furr, Sr. OL/DL (6-2, 245); Maxwell White, Sr., WR/CB (6-1, 175); Bryce Parker, Sr., WR/CB (6-2, 185); Jacob Suggs, Jr., OL/DL (6-2, 265); Jakob Craver, Jr., LB/RB (6-0, 200); Brennan Jones, Jr., LB/WR (6-0, 185); Hank Allen, Sr., TE/LB (6-2, 190).

Key Newcomers: Xander Lamb, Jr., RB/WR/SS (6-0, 190) (Cabarrus Warriors’ transfer).

Outlook: The Tigers suffered through their first losing season last year (4-8) since 2013. But with 17 starters returning, Coach Michael Johns and company are on their way back up the Rocky River conference ladder. Mount Pleasant’s offense is filled with playmakers led by seniors in quarterback, Ryan Tyson (785 yards passing last year), running back, Dalton Miller (1,187 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns) and all-conference offensive lineman, Carson Furr. The Tigers should see an impact from junior running back/wideout, Xander Lamb (Cabarrus Warriors’ transfer). The Tigers’ defense will have to be more stingy, with junior linebackers, Jakob Craver and Brennen Jones, leading the way. Mount Pleasant has the coaching, experience and talent to contend in the Rocky River conference, and is always a dangerous playoff matchup with their run-heavy offense that control the clock and the game, especially in colder weather.

NORTHWEST CABARRUS

Head Coach: Eric Morman (1st year at Northwest Cabarrus head coach).

2019 Record: 12-2 (4-1 in South Piedmont Conference).

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3AA.

Returning Starters: 7

Returning Lettermen: N/A.

Key Returning Starters: Marquan Williams, Sr., WR/DB (6-1, 185); Tristan Sorrow, Sr., OG (OL) (6-3, 275); Caden Parker, Sr., DB (5-10, 175); Sam Aldorasi, Sr., LB/FB (5-9, 215); Shaun Browne, Sr., WR (6-0, 175); Ryan Armstrong, Sr., OL (6-0, 245); Dylan Mayfield, Sr., OL (6-2, 255); Dylan Mayfield, Sr., OL (6-2, 255).

Key Returnees: Tru Sierra, Jr., WR (5-9, 170); De’avion Pless, Jr., DB (6-0, 195); Liam Stack, Sr., WR (6-1, 185).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Northwest Cabarrus is 25-3 in the last two years, including a 12-2 record last year when they advance to the 3AA state quarterfinals. But this year, new head coach, Eric Morman, will have a new challenge as the Trojans return only seven starters. The Northwest Cabarrus offense will look to senior wide receiver, Marquan Williams (33 catches for 609 yards last year) to make big plays with a veteran offensive line including Ryan Armstrong, Dylan Mayfield and Tristian Sorrow also playing key roles for a unit that averaged 38 points per game last season. Meanwhile, the Trojans’ defense will depend on seniors in linebacker, Sam Aldorasi, and defensive back, Caden Parker, to lead their unit. Northwest Cabarrus has to replace the core of a team used to winning with a new coach. However, Coach Morman has proven he can win at multiple schools (North Mecklenburg, West Stanly) and believes he can keep the Trojans at the top of the South Piedmont conference and in great position to make another 3AA state playoff run.

WEST CABARRUS

Head Coach: Brandon Gentry (1st year as West Cabarrus head coach).

2019 Record: 1st year school and team.

Conference: South Piedmont Conference/3A.

Returning Starters: 1st year team.

Returning Lettermen: 1st year team.

Key Players: Ross Vazquez, Jr., RB/LB (6-0, 190); Brandon Jones, Jr., QB/DB (5-11, 150); Keenan Pierce, Jr., OL/DL (6-3, 290); Christian Hopper, So., WR/DB (5-8, 160); Ryan Saunders, Jr., OL/DL (6-0, 280); Chris Coates, Jr., RB/LB (5-10, 180); Julian Gwynn, Jr., OL/DL (5-8, 260); Gerald Evans, So., WR/DB (6-0, 150); Jacob Brown, Jr., OL/DL (6-0, 265); Jamari Rodgers-Freeman, Jr., WR/DB (5-7, 150); Ashnah Lowrey, So. QB (6-0, 150); Roland Caldwell, Jr., WR/DB (5-7, 150); Gerrard Evans, Fr., WR/DB (5-10, 160).

Key Returnees: 1st year team.

Outlook: West Cabarrus will have to endure a lot of usual growing pains associated with a first-year varsity team. But Coach Brandon Gentry (former Northwest Cabarrus head coach) has a lot of familiar faces from the Northwest Cabarrus like juniors, Chris Coates, Christian Hopper, Keenan Pierce and Ross Vazquez that should make the transition a bit smoother. Gentry and company believe they can jump right into the middle of the South Piedmont conference race and maybe even get in the playoff picture in year one of the program.

Cabarrus County Conference Predictions

Rocky River Conference

1. West Stanly; 2. Mount Pleasant; 3. Anson County; 4. Forest Hills; 5. Montgomery Central; 6. Central Academy.

South Piedmont Conference

  1. A.L. Brown; 2. Cox Mill; 3. Northwest Cabarrus; 4. Central Cabarrus; 5. Jay M. Robinson; 6. West Cabarrus; 7. Concord.

Southwestern 4A Conference

1. Butler; 2. Myers Park; 3. Hickory Ridge; 4. Independence; 5. Porter Ridge; 6. Rocky River; 7. East Mecklenburg; 8. Garinger.

Preseason all-county team

Offense

QB – Varney Farhnbullah, Cox Mill, 6-2, 190, Sr.

RB – Todd Kennedy, A.L. Brown, 5-10, 185, Sr.

RB – Dalton Miller, Mount Pleasant, 5-7, 165, Sr.

WR – Isaiah Black, A.L. Brown, 6-0, 170, Sr.

WR – Christian Hamilton, Hickory Ridge, 6-0, 180, So.

WR – Marquan Williams, Northwest Cabarrus, 6-1, 185, Sr.

OL – Carson Furr, Mount Pleasant, 6-2, 245, Sr.

OL – Cade Goldman, Hickory Ridge, 6-4, 290, Sr.

OL – Jacob Hagy, Cox Mill, 5-11, 235, Sr.

OL – Tristan Sorrow, Northwest Cabarrus, 6-3, 275, Sr.

OL – Luke Stone, A.L. Brown, 6-3, 270, Sr.

ATH – Cam Kromah, A.L. Brown, 6-4, 190, Jr.

Specialists

ATH/SPEC – Kadin Presutti, Concord, 6-1, 175, Jr.

ATH/SPEC – Josh Grant, Jay M. Robinson, 5-8, 165, Sr.

K/P – Riley Stubbs, Hickory Ridge, 5-11, 170, Sr.

Defense

DL – Jameson Hackett, Concord, 6-1, 250, Jr.

DL – Reid Mitchell, Cox Mill, 6-5, 225, Sr.

DL – Keenan Pierce, West Cabarrus, 6-3, 290, Jr.

LB – Jakob Craver, Mount Pleasant, 6-0, 200, Jr.

LB – Te’Veon Glover, Central Cabarrus, 6-3, 170, Sr.

LB – Memphis Jones, Jay M. Robinson, 6-1, 205, Sr.

LB – Torren Wright, A.L. Brown, 6-3, 220, Jr.

LB – Ross Vazquez, West Cabarrus, 6-0, 190, Jr.

DB – Elijah Horton, Central Cabarrus, 5-11, 200, Sr.

DB – Bryson Mason, Jay M. Robinson, 5-11, 165, Sr.

DB – Caden Parker, Northwest Cabarrus, 5-10, 175, Sr.

DB – Alex Smith, Hickory Ridge, 6-2, 185, Sr.

Cabarrus Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Varney Farhnbullah, Cox Mill, QB, Sr.

Cabarrus County Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Torren Wright, A.L. Brown, LB, Jr.

Cabarrus County Preseason Coach of the Year: Mike Newsome, A.L. Brown.