In the last 3 years, Concord football has been on one impressive run. The Spiders are 40-10 since 2012. They were 3A state runners up in 2012 and 2013. They have also won the last 2 South Piedmont 3A conference titles, but that streak could be in jeopardy this season. The race for the conference title will be one of the more interesting ones this season.
Who is the favorite? Let's take a closer look and I will give you my favorite later.
The Spiders lost one of the best running backs the school has ever had in Rocky Reid. Rocky rushed for over 77 hundred yards in his high school career and is at Wake Forest getting ready to try and make his mark at the next level.
That is a MAJOR loss for the Spiders, but they have tons of talent coming back starting with QB Keenan Black. The last 2 seasons, Black has thrown for at least 15 hundred yards each year but look for that total to go up with the loss of Reid.
He has plenty of targets to throw to with the likes of Carter Mozingo, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Drew Yoos to name a few.
But for this thing to really work, coach Glen Padgett will have to find a running game to keep the defenses honest.
On defense, the Spiders will be solid as well especially up front with the return of defensive tackles Desmond Scott and Mike Baker. Baker was the team's leading tackler last season with 84. He also racked up 5 sacks. Scott had 69 tackles last season for Concord.
The LB corp will be anchored by all conference player PJ Hall. He had 70 tackles and 1 INT in 2014.
The secondary will be solid as well with the return of Cam Blackwelder who had 77 tackles and Davionne Eddie who had 3 interceptions.
Teams will also have to deal with Mozingo as a free safety and one of the best kick/ punt returners in the conference.
You might read all of that and think, the Spiders are a shoe in to claim their 3rd straight conference title, but not so fast. This could be a 3 or 4 team race all the way to the finish.
The Spiders didn't win the title in 2012 as they had major problems with Hickory Ridge who claimed the championship that season. The Ragin' Bulls will be a throne again in 2015.
Coach Marty Paxton has 6 starters back on offense starting with QB Greg Waslo. He is a duel threat QB who threw for 10 TD last season and rushed for 12.
Jaylen Rudisell will join him in the backfield to provide a solid 1,2 punch. Jaylen rushed for 15 hundred yards last season and 21 TD.
Up front, the O Line will be anchored by Will Putnam who has offers from South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Charlotte.
This offense will be explosive but, the big question will be on the defensive side with only 4 starters back.
Up front, Jack Wallace and Putnam will have to be beasts.
The secondary should be very solid with Jared Mincey and Darius Burley who is a 3 year starter for coach Paxton.
With 30 lettermen returning, coach will have a lot of players who got valuable playing time in 2014 to fill the holes on defense.
Another prime candidate to possibly knock Concord off the top is the West Rowan Falcons.
It is a new day at West as Joe Nixon comes back to Mount Ulla. He replaces Scott Young who had to step down as head coach as he awaits a heart transplant.
Nixon served as an assistant coach at West when they won 3 straight 3A state titles from 2008-2010. The last 3 years, Nixon was the head coach at North Rowan. He would go 31-8 in his first ever head coaching position and won back to back Central Carolina 2A conference titles in 2013 and 2014.
What a time to come back to the "U" as he has a ton of talent back.
Seven starters back on offense including QB Kacey Otto. His 2 favorite targets are back as well in Kortez Weeks and Jawaun Houston. Weeks had 6 TD catches last season and Houston snagged 5.
At RB, Jovan Quarles is back. Quarles was the ultimate utility player for West in 2014 as a sophomore. He had over 15 hundred all purpose yards as he touched the ball as a RB, WR, kick returner, and punt returner.
Developing an O-Line will be a key for coach Nixon but he has a solid foundation player in Heziakia Banks.
The defense will be a strength of this team with 8 starters back. The front will be anchored by a possible conference defensive player of the year in Derrick Moreland. Last season, he had 53 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. He will be a hand full once again in 2015.
He will be joined up front by Justin Evans who had 35 tackles and 3 sacks last season.
LJ Robinson will anchor the LB position for the Falcons after coming up with 31 tackles in 2014.
The secondary will be anchored by JT Sanders.
With 33 letterman back, coach Nixon has a deep team with lots of depth which may be the biggest reason for optimism for West in 2015.
This Falcons size and speed also makes them very dangerous.
Central Cabarrus will have one of the best defensive lines in the conference with the likes of Javonte Love, Boris Tope-Tiandem, and Khalil Spratt. Another positive for coach Donnie Kiefer is the return of QB Tyler English. But the biggest question for this team is on that side of the ball with a very young and inexperience O-Line.
Cox Mill will be solid on the defensive side of the ball with 7 starters back. On offense, 5 starter are back with a lot of great skilled position guys back. But the biggest question for this team will be who will get those guys the ball. If the Chargers can get the QB position figured out, they could be a dark horse in the race for the title.
Who is the favorite to win the South Piedmont 3A conference? I am going to go with................
You have to watch the Football Friday Night Preview Show on August 14th to get my pick. On that night, we will once again open the phone lines for you to call in and give your opinions on the upcoming season. And YES, I will pick a winner of this conference as it is one of the races I am looking forward to in 2015.