***********The 87th Annual Battle for the Bell, Kannapolis and Concord*********
Though it's way too soon to be talking Kannapolis and Concord right now in March, there are some things to consider about this next contest between the Wonders and Spiders in 2017. This year the game moves back to it's rightful slot as the last game of the season, and possibly for the SPC title, though J.M Robinson might have a say in things this time around being as they will come into the 2017 season as the defending SPC champion. A lot of people may be overlooking these guys and it could prove to be a fatal mistake.
The 87th Annual Battle for the Bell game at Kannapolis Memorial Stadium this season could be (With a Wonder victory) the first time Kannapolis has held the coveted Victory Bell for three consecutive years since a span that lasted from 1997-1999 in the Bruce Hardin era. No team, either Kannapolis or Concord has held it for four consecutive years since the Wonders last did it in a span that lasted from 1997-2000 when Ron Massey took over Wonder football that season.
The Wonders also had a four year streak from 1987-1990 where they held it for four consecutive years during the latter stages of the Bob Boswell tenure and incoming new head coach Bruce Hardin in 1989. The last time the Spiders did it, you would have to go all the way back to the mid seventies when they held it for four consecutive years starting in 1974-1977. The Spiders still hold the longest win streak at ten consecutive contests from 1961-1970 which has not been duplicated yet.
Save for a Concord forfeit in 2001 when the Victory Bell was held in hiatus from both schools, no team has held it over four consecutive years since Concord's ten year streak from 1961-1970. Had the Wonders won the 2001 contest without a Concord forfeit, we could have been looking at a seven year Wonder streak. Since 1978, the A.L. Brown Wonders have dominated the long standing rivalry between the two schools, having won 25 contests outright (Not counting the 2001 CHS forfeit or Playoff games) to Concord's 13. The Wonders have outscored the Spiders 800-562 since 1978, which is a 238 point differential. (If you add in the three playoff meetings between the two schools, the Wonders are 27-14 and have outscored the Spiders 837-589) 248 point differential.
The 2017 Wonders look to be strong yet again. With an upcoming group of JVs who finished 8-2 in the MECKA 4A, and defeated the Concord Spiders 56-6 in Concord, along with a veteran group of returning Wonders who finished 9-4 and seasoned in 4A play. With that said, the Wonders should come into the 87th Annual Battle for the Bell contest as an obvious heads up favorite to win their 3rd consecutive contest. The Wonders will also boast home field advantage.
Take nothing lightly though, as history has shown that home field advantage at times meant nothing, and the better team on paper meant about as much. That's why they play the game on the field, but sitting here today in the office of Friday Nights in K-Town, I can't help but have a big smile on my face going into 2017. Did I also mention that Jaylan Neal will be playing varsity ball this year?? The future is so bright I gotta wear shades!! -The editor