Since the conclusion of the 2016 high school football season, I can't help but contemplate as we re enter the 3A classification if the landscape has changed just a bit over the last four years in the SPC? Before the Wonders left the SPC 3A in 2013 it was pretty much a given that the SPC title would come down between Kannapolis and Concord in some form or fashion as it had been since the beginning of time it seems like, and very few would disagree with that assessment. For well over four decades the SPC 3A conference has been dominated by the two powers of that conference in Kannapolis and Concord. But I have to wonder after the chain of events that has taken place in the SPC if that could very well be a thing of the past.
Since Hickory Ridge very shockingly captured the SPC 3A title in 2012 after uncharacteristically defeating both Kannapolis and Concord that season, it seemed as if the status quo was in for an overhaul. Of course there has always been some pests you had to get by in the way of a few teams in the SPC over the years ie: West Rowan, Central Cabarrus, and Hickory Ridge, and a few others, but now that these teams are now removed from the conference, and the SPC reduced to just a six team league in 2017, one would have to think that once again the title would come back down to those two mainstays in the SPC, however, nobody ever factored in the J.M Robinson Bulldogs after they pretty much became the whipping boys of the conference since the school opened in 2001.
Since the school's inception in 2001, the Bulldogs have only recorded five winning seasons over a 16 year stretch. The Bulldogs overall record over sixteen seasons is a dismal 72-113 giving them a 38.9% overall winning percentage. The Bulldogs just never seemed to be a factor in deciding anything other than when you would put your second team in during a contest, that is until the last two years and the entrance of head coach Joe Glass to the equation in 2014. Over the last two seasons, Glass has built what could possibly be considered one of the finest and most solid core of assistant coaches in the SPC to date, which is a must if you plan on having a successful football program. Along with those staff additions, Glass has brought in a new unified attitude to the program that the Bulldogs seem to be buying into. I never thought I would say this, but a person of average intelligence would have to ask themselves if the J.M. Robinson football program is becoming a better, more attractive proposition than Concord High, who use to share in the talent pool that JMR took over in 2001, and the talent seems to be improving in that region of Cabarrus County, and what's more it's being developed by the Robinson staff.
In the last three seasons, Glass has taken the lowly Bulldogs out of the cellar from the bowels of the MECKA 4A, and built them into a real 3A contender who has gone a combined 18-8 in those two years since re entering the 3A classification in 2015, making the state 3A playoffs the last two seasons back to back. Unheard of for the Robinson football program. In addition, they claimed the SPC 3A Championship over the Concord Spiders who have all but dominated the SPC since the departure of A.L. Brown in 2013. Could a new sheriff really be in town? That's not out of the realm of possibility, and I remind you that the Robinson Bulldog JVs went undefeated in 2016 to add to a very experienced group of Varsity Bulldogs who got a taste for what championship football was like in their 2016 campaign.
It's just possible that the old guard in the SPC might have to accept a new face to contend with for supremacy within the conference from now on, and if that's the case, and there is a shift in attraction from the proven formula of CHS football to the new and more "Family" brand of JMR football, then the old guard may be in for a rude awakening in years to come. When the 2017 season commences in August, the Robinson Bulldogs will enter the fray as the defending SPC 3A champs for the first time in program history. That just might be all the incentive the Bulldogs need to push them past where they left off in 2016. Once you get a taste of success, it's hard to settle for anything less!!