THE REGION THAT SPANS FROM THE FOOTHILLS TO THE Piedmont is full of championship dreams for 2013 and contenders across the Midwest have reason to be excited about the season ahead.
Meanwhile, others hope for little more than to spoil the season
of those would-be champions. Either way, the brand of football born
in the region ensures the path to the championship goes through
South Caldwell and South Point have been popular preseason
favorites the past two seasons. While the 4A Spartans and the 3A
Red Raiders posted impressive regular season records, neither
team won a state championship ring.
With explosive running back Zac Pollard in the backfield, South
Caldwell has been on a 20-1 rampage during the past two regular
season schedules. Once the postseason began, the Spartans suf-
fered second-round exits.
On the heels of Tyler Bray, South Point has been more impres-
sive, posting a 20-0 record the past two years. However, the Red
Raiders’ title dreams vanished prematurely both times.
Last year, South Iredell exorcised a few demons when the Vikings
collected the school’s first football title. Is this the season another
Midwest team from the “South” finishes the season on top?
THE ROLE OF REALIGNMENT
NCHSAA realignment created interesting new conferences that
will impact the Midwest region through the 2017 season.
Seven teams were reclassified, including Hunter Huss, North
Rowan, North Wilkes, R-S Central, South Iredell, Starmount and
West Wilkes. Meanwhile, most of the region’s teams either entered
a new conference or saw a tweak in the existing conference lineup.
One of the strongest new conferences created is the South
Mountain Athletic 2A/3A where perennial contender Crest joins
powerhouses Burns and Shelby. East Rutherford and Chase are
still in the conference that adds East Burke, Draughn and Kings
Mountain but loses Freedom. The talent at the top promises playoff
caliber battles, while teams in the rest of the conference are balanced enough to create competitive matchups – as well as long
road trips in some instances.
Realignment also formed a new North Piedmont 3A/4A
conference that matches 2012 2AA state champion and new 3A
team South Iredell against a strong Statesville team and improving
squads at Alexander Central, Mooresville and Lake Norman. These
changes guarantee the battle for Iredell County is heated and the
winner is ready for a deep playoff run.
Hickory Metro 3A rivals Hickory, Fred T. Foard and St. Stephens,
as well as Morganton’s Freedom, played a curious round of musical
coaching chairs in the Northwestern 3A/4A conference.
Hickory coach Tom Harper started the ride by accepting an in-
county job to coach Fred T. Foard. The shift comes a year after
Harper left Alexander Central to become football coach and ath-
letic director at Hickory.
Later in the spring, the Tornadoes’ defensive coordinator since
2008, Wayne Hicks, left Hickory and moved about six miles down
the road to St. Stephens.
In mid-May Hickory filled its head-coaching job with Mike Helms,
who resigned from Freedom in February. He led the Patriots to a
32-7 record the past three seasons.
Tanner Muse, South Point
TOP 5 TEAMS
1SOUTH CALDWELL: The question is can the Spartans stop high-octane 4A
QB Logan Bradley
DL Sadarius Byers
offenses outside their weak conference?
RB Zac Pollard
DL MyQuon Stout
RB Raekwon Washington Shelby
LB Deion Jones
2SOUTH POINT: Returning playmakers Tyler Bray and Jaquan Brooks mean the
RB Jalin Moore
LB Diamonte Hall
Red Raiders storm the Big South 3A.
FB Tyler Bray
LB Daishon Davis
3BURNS: There are plenty of weapons, so keep the goats off the field and Burns
TE Jake Boulware
LB Garrion Addison
is tough to beat.
OL James Passmore
DB Jaylin Hill
OL Graham Keeter
DB Michael Fisher
4CREST : The Chargers are back in championship form thanks to a third-
OL Jon Minton
DB Kerrion Moore
year quarterback and a potent rushing
OL Josh Ramseur
DB Tanner Muse
ATH Chris Montgomery
DB Najee Tucker
5NEWTON-CONOVER: This team has a ton of experience and if speed kills, the
K Luke Hayek
ATH Dominique Roseboro
Red Devils’ opponents are in trouble.