11-08 COX MILL PHOTO page 1B

Cox Mill players (from left) Bodan N'Dala, Aaron Jones, Zach Billings and Wesley Poindexter will all need to have strong performances tonight against Northwest Cabarrus.

CONCORD – For Cox Mill’s football team, the past two years have been everything it has worked toward.

Last year, the Chargers went 8-4 overall, and their sole conference loss came only against Northwest Cabarrus, a 33-30 overtime thriller for the South Piedmont 3A champion title.

This year with a record of 6-4 overall and 3-1 SPC, the Chargers’ regular-season finale tonight against the Trojans has the same weight as last fall.

A win in this game, which also is for the Coddle Creek Cup, would put the Chargers in uncharted territory.

“It’d be huge,” said Chargers coach Craig Stewart. “It’d be the first conference championship in football for the school. For all the guys coming up, they’d feel that excitement. And for the youth leagues and stuff, they’d get some excitement from it.”

Tonight is the second year in a row that the Chargers and Trojans face off for sole possession of the South Piedmont’s conference championship.

That, of course, is the big goal, but whoever wins Friday, will have two things to celebrate.

“It’d definitely be big,” Stewart said. “It goes back to the Coddle Creek Cup that we fight for each year.

“Last year, having a close game and having a chance to get the title and just falling short, I think our kids are excited to be back.”

The rivalry matchup has been intensified by the implications of the last two years’ success on both sides. The Trojans are in the same position they were a year ago: undefeated.

For the Chargers, the situation is also the same as it was a year ago: They could win that elusive first conference championship in school history, and a big win against an undefeated foe could improve their playoff seeding.

“It’s big,” Stewart said on the implications of tonight’s game. “That was one of our goals, to make it where Cox Mill was fighting for a conference championship year in and year out.”

But this is about more than just trying to win this game. For Cox Mill, it’s about setting a precedent of success.

“I think what we want as a program is, we want consistency,” said Stewart. “We want when our kids come in the door as freshman to think, ‘Hey, we’re going to be fighting for a conference championship.’ That there is an expectation, and we want that expectation to be good.”

With the season they are having, the Chargers look like they’re on their way to that. They have now strung two seasons together where they are fighting for a conference title, something that they’ve been trying to achieve since they opened in 2009.

The Chargers are excited about all they can accomplish tonight, and they’re even more motivated to end their three-game losing streak against the Trojans and prepare to make a deep playoff run.

“That was one of the things (the coaches) talked to (our players) about after the game (last year) -- at that point in time we had to get ready for the playoffs,” said Stewart. “But we told them we’re not a one-hit wonder.”

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