This is the first of the preseason polls from Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports. First up is the South Piedmont Conference, where Northwest Cabarrus is reigning champ.
The polling among our broadcasters and reporters was very close with the top spot split between Northwest Cabarrus and A.L. Brown but the Trojans get the call based on points awarded (6 for first and descending to 1 for sixth place).
So if our predictions are accurate, the South Piedmont Conference could come down to the “Battle for Kannapolis.” Circle your Friday nights in October: Oct. 11, Central Cabarrus at A.L. Brown; Oct. 18, Northwest Cabarrus at Central Cabarrus; and Oct. 25, A.L. Brown at Northwest Cabarrus.
It should be fun. And of course we expect some surprises. Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports will be broadcasting lots of games again this year on the NFHS Network. This year many of the school’s booster clubs will be doing fundraisers through NFHS Network broadcasts. Contact your school’s boosters club to find out how you can help.
Here are some of the comments from RFC broadcasters about their predictions:
Three teams have a legitimate shot at winning the SPC title this season. Northwest Cabarrus and AL Brown are my favorites but don’t count Central Cabarrus out.
Northwest will try to prove that last season was not a fluke and continue to look to establish itself as a top program in the always strong conference. Another championship run this year could be the start of good things to continue for that program.
The A.L. Brown Wonders will be looking to rebound and get back to championship form and this could be the year. You can never count a Mike Newsome coached team out so look for the Wonders to make some noise – they have some payback on their mind with some county foes to regain some bragging rights. If you own the bragging rights in the county then you own the SPC title as well.
Central Cabarrus can make a difference in the race but they will need more consistency to make it happen. All 3 of the top teams cannot afford a setback at the hands of the other conference teams as Cox Mill could be the sleeper again this year.
Concord and JM Robinson will battle it out for the bottom two spots with the winner of that game probably avoiding the final spot in the standings. Both teams are improved but not at the level of the other teams in the conference.
I think A.L. Brown will be very strong this year, but Northwest returns probably the best core of players. The Vikings will return a strong core of players and could be better than both Northwest and AL Brown. I think the Concord Spiders will surprise a lot of people and be tons better than last year’s team and by end of the season could earn a playoff spot. I think the Robinson Bulldogs will be slightly down this year but will still be a good team.
The Trojans have star players, Tyrese Blake and Nick
Wilds-Lawing, returning which should help keep them atop the conference. The
Vikings also have many returning players which will keep them in the running
towards the top of the conference.
Cox Mill lost a lot of strong seniors but former junior varsity players will look to fill their shoes and should keep them in the middle of the pack.
Concord struggled mightily last season but with a strong Junior Varsity team and more understanding of Coach Paxton’s systems should help propel the Spiders to a better record than 1-10. A.L. Brown could be a surprise team with returning seniors and a strong Junior Varsity team but with the top three teams looking very strong it will be difficult to find conference wins. Jay M. Robinson has a lot of problems to fix but they did show some bright spots with young players making big plays throughout the season.
The Wonders likely fueled their offseason with memories of losses to Northwest and Central Cabarrus and feel like they’re due some payback. The new turf at Memorial Stadium should be beneficial to always speedy Wonders.
The Trojans and Vikings both return strong teams and should make it a real battle for the top. College coaches have been very interested in players for all three teams.
One question in my mind is whether the Vikings can avoid the late season decline that has plagued the team for the past few years. Injuries no doubt have played a major factor.
The Bulldogs and Chargers both have a few big holes to fill and if they find the right pieces could content for upper half of the SPC. Can Robinson find a consistent offense? Can the Chargers continue their outstanding defense after major graduations along the defensive line?
The Spiders are the great unknown. Marty Paxton’s squad showed improvement at the end of the season, but just how much progress did they make in the off season. The SPC is a tough league to make up ground and the Spiders could make great strides and still be in last place.
Check back next week for our Rocky River Conference predictions.