KANNAPOLIS – One of the most anticipated football games in the county tonight takes place when Cream of Cabarrus No. 3-ranked Central Cabarrus takes on No. 4 A.L. Brown at Kannapolis Memorial Stadium.
Part of the anticipation has to do with how well both teams are playing right now – the Vikings have gone 4-2 while playing one of the toughest schedules in the region, while the Wonders are in the midst of a three-game winning streak.
But for many fans of both teams, memories of the 2018 Wonders-Vikings matchup are still very fresh and will be center stage.
Last year, in one of the most exciting games of the season, Central Cabarrus defeated A.L. Brown in an overtime thriller, 33-30, to give the Vikings their first victory over the Wonders.
That would be their first victory over the Wonders ever.
The two schools have been playing football against each other since 1981, so A.L. Brown fans hated to see the streak come to an end, and Central Cabarrus supporters were glad to get that weight lifted from their shoulders.
Tonight, however, expect A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome and Central Cabarrus coach Kenneth McClamrock to focus on 2019, as both programs look to be in the hunt for the South Piedmont 3A Conference championship with heavily favored Northwest Cabarrus.
With tonight being the league opener for both clubs, it makes the game especially important. And both are playing really good football right now.
The Vikings (4-2) have won three of their past four games, with the only hiccup being a close loss to 4-1 Gastonia Hunter Huss. They seem to have found a groove offensively, with Dajon Johnson and Blue Monroe both making plays from the quarterback position, to support a really strong defense led by linebackers Logan Anderson and DeAndre Boykins.
The Wonders (4-1) have hit their winning streak after seemingly finding the man to lead their offense and, like the Vikings, provide a balance for a stout defense.
Two weeks ago, A.L. Brown sophomore quarterback Cam Kromah threw for 311 yards. Last week the Wonders blanked Carson, 28-0, with Kromah tossing a pair of touchdown passes.
A.L. Brown has a tough linebacker corps – powered by B.J. Foster and Dezmond Adams -- and a defensive line with a nose for the football, as lineman Xavier Jordan has scored two defensive touchdowns on scoop-and-score plays.
“I think they’re a very good football team,” McClamrock said of the Wonders. “They’re very explosive. They have a good quarterback, they have a couple good running backs, and they have some good receivers and a tight end that can go up and get the ball.”
In addition to their emerging offensive talent, the Wonders have also been gifted with defensive touchdowns in all five of their outings this season.
Their matchup against the Vikings Friday will be a battle of size versus scheme.
The Wonders will be the bigger team, pretty much in all facets of the game. But McClamrock said the Vikings can’t use that as an excuse.
“We’re always going to be the smaller team, but they’re as athletic as we are,” McClamrock said.
Bulldogs face still-dangerous Trojans
CONCORD – A week ago today, the Northwest Cabarrus football team had another one of its impressive offensive games.
The Cream of Cabarrus No. 1-ranked Trojans gained most of their yards on the ground, but also aired it out a few times, in a dominant 37-7 victory over then-No. 4 Cox Mill.
“That’s who we are now, and the game plan will dictate that,” said Trojans coach Brandon Gentry. “I’d like to get (tight end) Karsen (Perkins) more involved and get (wide receiver) Marquan (Williams) the ball more.”
The fact that the Trojans (6-0) have been without star running back Tyrese Blake (leg) but still have averaged nearly 36 points per game in the two outings he’s missed, shows the offensive talent the Trojans possess, both rushing and receiving.
Tonight, they’ll put that on display against Jay M. Robinson (1-5).
Northwest Cabarrus has a multitude of running options, including quarterback Nick Wilds-Lawing, running backs George Miller Duncan and L.J. Currie. And then there are the talented pass catchers, like Cam Saunders, Williams and Perkins.
The Bulldogs will have to call on some past experiences for this week’s test.
“(Northwest Cabarrus is) a very talented team and well-coached team,” Jay M. Robinson coach Rich Williams said. “I think our non-conference schedule has helped us. We played Statesville, Anson and Monroe, and none of them were slow by any stretch of the imagination.”
The tough part for the Bulldogs is that they lost each of those aforementioned games – by an average of 30 points – and are in the midst of a five-game losing streak heading into tonight’s contest at Bulldog Stadium.
Bulls again visit UNCC
HARRISBURG – Hickory Ridge will not play on Friday night, but that doesn’t mean the Ragin’ Bulls will have the week off.
Hickory Ridge will participant in the third-annual Charlotte Kickoff Showcase Saturday at UNC Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson Stadium. The Cream of Cabarrus No. 2-ranked Bulls (5-1) will take on Rocky River (0-5) in the first of two games on the evening.
Hickory Ridge and Rocky River kickoff at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a contest featuring Mooresville and Vance high schools.
The Ragin’ Bulls have competed in the Showcase in each of the event’s three seasons. In 2017, they defeated Northwest Cabarrus, and they beat Independence last year.
Hickory Ridge is looking to stay perfect in the Southwestern 4A Conference while also avenging a loss to the Ravens last season.