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  1. This has potential to be a very fun year in the Central Piedmont 4A Conference. Having been very close to this league for over 25 years, I have learned to always expect the unexpected. Many times in the past, teams have been projected to win the league only to finish last, or vise-versa. This is one of the better 4A leagues in N.C. in terms of fan support and some good old fashioned rivalries, and sometimes winning on the opposing teams field is harder than it may appear on paper. Speaking of paper, on paper, North Davidson appears to be the team to beat. I would say 85% of the coaches have told me they expect the Black Knights to win it, and why not, they are very well coached, very talented, very deep, and have a phenomenal, battle-tested QB leading the charge. Senior quarterback Joe Butts, son of former North head coach Bill Butts, is as good a high school quarterback as you could ask for. What he lacks in size (6'0/185) he makes up for in mobility, arm strength, and most importantly, a high football IQ. He has incredible touch on his passes, he can throw on the run, and he is smart enough to know where every player is on the field. When you find a high school kid with that capacity to make quick, but good decisions, in split second instances, and put the ball on the mark, you can feel certain you'll have a great season. You pair Butts abilities and the tools around him with the coaching prowess of Mark Holcomb, and you've got yourself the makings of a great season. I've known Coach Holcomb for years, but having spent a considerable amount of time with him at the Shrine Bowl, watch him coach one-on-one, and sit with him and X & O with him and realize how smart he is, and furthermore, how well he communicates those schemes in an easy to understand package to high school players is something special. Those skills solidifies why he's such a high-level coach and destined to become one of the all-time greats before he hangs up his whistle in a decade or so. Since I mentioned weapons, Nygil Dalton is a stud to be reckoned with. He can play both sides of the ball, he's built very well, and can fly. I fully expect him to be playing on Saturdays in an FCS conference at the very least. There are so many other players that I can't really list them all, but North is flat out loaded, and in my opinion, worthy of the preseason Top-10 ranking I bestowed upon them. Wrapping up my thought on North Davidson, with them returning their receiving corps and having a very seasoned offensive line, they'll be poised to score 40+ almost every night. They have the best kicker in America possibly (Christopher Dunn) so anytime they get across midfield, they can already start thinking 3 points at the very least. Moving on, who is the 2nd best team in the CPC? I think it's a toss up between West Forsyth who is still very young and probably a year away from being very dominant, Reagan, who has to find away to replace some key players, and Davie County who may be just as exciting as North Davidson on the offensive side of the ball. I really think this can be a fun year at Davie County. Not only will this be the last year at the current Davie HS and old stadium, but they have a chance to send that stadium out in style by lighting up the scoreboard lights often behind the arm and legs of QB Chris Reynolds. Reynolds, a small but very effective quarterback will be fun to watch. At around 5'11 and maybe 190, he's solid and can take a few hard hits and keep going, but his swiftness and cannon arm will make him one of the top highlight makers in the Triad. He completed 197 of 317 passes for 2800+ yards and 28 TD's and ran for over 700. He truly is the catalyst for this squad. On the defensive side, James Boyle is a stud at the LB spot and can lay the lumber, he reminds me a lot of Patrick Lowery who was a stud for DC back in the late 90's/early 00's. In my estimation, if he and the other War Eagle defenders can at least bring their B-game, they'll win most nights. The only issue for Davie in my opinion though is their incredibly tough schedule as their non-conference opponents are Greensboro Page, West Rowan, Greensboro Dudley, North Rowan, and Hopewell. Up in Pfafftown, Reagan wil once again be very solid and especially dangerous on the offensive side of the ball. I've said this a time or two before, but Josh McGee has certainly establish himself as one of the top younger coaches in NC. As a former QB, he understand the offensive game and the way he translates his knowledge to the players is the key to his popularity among players, and the cornerstone for his play calling on Friday's. He has established a culture of winning, and of playing a fun-style of football, and I don't see that stopping anytime soon. The only down-side of his rise could be the fact that one day soon a larger, more prominent program could come calling for his services. The positives for Reagan in 2016 is that they return 8 defensive starters. The negative, if there is one, is that the defense was torched for 29 ppg, however, and a big plus, is the fact that McGee was able to bring in the defensive coordinator from Northern Guilford, which will be a huge addition. McGee will also have to break in a new QB and overall offensive unit, but as earlier stated, his offensive coaching skill is second to none so I don't feel that will even be an issue. West Forsyth will be an interesting team to watch as well. I stated earlier that they're probably a year away from doing some special things, but don't sleep on the youngsters that Adrian Snow has playing for him and it all starts with junior defensive end K.J. Henry, the 6'6/210 pounder that is the son of the Catawba College defensive coordinator. Henry will be a 5-star threat by his senior season and has already been recruited by the biggest and best schools in the SEC and the nation. He will be a difference maker on the line of scrimmage and a game changer in crucial moments because of this natural speed and agilities and his exceptional football IQ. These young players were very stout on the Titans JV squad last year and if they can grow up fast, they can win big on Friday nights. Obviously they'll have to replace some key members off of last year's 3rd round team, but I think West has enough veterans to show the young kids the way. One team that we can't count out when talking about the CPC is Mount Tabor. While at 5-6, they didn't resemble the usually potent looking Spartan squads of the past, but head coach Laymarr Marshall has some great looking kids working hard over there and if you overlook them, they'll certainly bite you. Obviously team speed is always the biggest threat any Tabor squad possesses, and I think they have plenty of it in '16. Similar to Davie though, they play a mammoth non-conference schedule that includes East Forsyth, Carver, Glenn, and North Forsyth. Another greatly improved team is Parkland, but again, the schedule is so brutal that you don't know exactly where the chips may fall for them. What I do know is that head coach Martin Samek has changed the culture at Parkland, and they have some incredible looking kids that have really bought into what he's teaching them. The Mustangs will have some great speed across the team, and one of the best athletes in NC ini Kyndel Dean who will certainly be tearing it up on Saturdays in the very near future. R. J. Reynolds in my opinion really exceeded expectations in 2015 under new head coach Pat Crowley, and I feel they'll certainly try to make their mark again this year. With a very manageable non-conference schedule, they could come rolling into CPC play with a winning record and ready to make some noise. Most Anticipated Games: Parkland at West Forsyth (Sep. 23) Reagan at Davie County (Sep. 30) North Davidson at Mt. Tabor (Sep. 30) Reagan at North Davidson (Oct. 7) North Davidson at Davie (Oct. 14) West Forsyth at Reagan (Thurs. Oct. 20) West Forsyth at North Davidson (Nov. 4) Ranking The Coaches: Adrian Snow (West Forsyth): 108-64 (Shrine Bowl '12) Mark Holcomb (North Davidson): 107-46 (Shrine Bowl '15) Laymarr Marshall (Mt. Tabor): 71-31 Josh McGee (Reagan): 39-22 Martin Samek (Parkland): 18-60 DeVore Holman (Davie County): 15-20 Pat Crowley (R.J. Reynolds): 4-7 My Projections: 1. North Davidson 2. West Forsyth 3. Reagan 4. Davie 5. Mt. Tabor 6. Parkland 7. R.J. Reynolds Previous CPC Champions: 2015: Reagan/North Davidson/West Forsyth 2014: Reagan 2013: West Forsyth 2012: North Davidson 2011: Mt. Tabor 2010: Mt. Tabor 2009: R.J. Reynolds 2008: Mt. Tabor 2007: Mt. Tabor 2006: Davie/West Forsyth/Mt. Tabor 2005: Davie/West Forsyth/Mt. Tabor 2004: Davie 2003: West Forsyth 2002: West Forsyth 2001: South Rowan/North Davidson/Davie 2000: R.J. Reynolds/West Forsyth/South Rowan 1999: Davie 1998: Mt. Tabor 1997: Mt. Tabor 1996: Mt. Tabor 1995: West Forsyth 1994: Mt. Tabor 1993: Mt. Tabor 1992: West Forsyth 1991: West Forsyth 1990: West Forsyth 1989: West Forsyth 1988: Parkland/Reynolds/Kannapolis 1987: Kannapolis 1986: West Forsyth 1985: Parkland
  2. Parkland is 5-0 for first time since Dee Bell was head coach and travels to Clemmonsville to take on West. I like Parkland's stars better but West may be a little to much up front and overall for Mustangs to match up with. I think it's safe to say that Snow will outcoach Sammeck as well. I will say this though, if #7 Kyndal Dean gets out in the flats and has room to run, he could be the swing vote for Parkland to shock the Titans. I guess this is where we find out how real they are, are they CPC contendoers? Or just living it up with cupcake schedule?
  3. North Davidson (4-0) at Charlotte Christian (4-0) may be one of the best games in the state this Friday. I've seen Christian a few times already this year and they are as good as any 3A team and most 4A teams in the state. I would say the first 22 players for Christian is as good as anyones, but they do lack some depth which could come into play against a very strong North Davidson squad. This game will feature two of the best head coaches, play callers, as well as two of the best QB's in NC. Christian is led by an amazing sophomore that I've seen a few times already in Garrett Shrader. He's your prototypical looking future D-1 player, he's 6'4, can move, and has great downfield awareness and quick feet. He's averaging around 250 yards passing a game and really put on a show when the Knights defeated Cuthbertson where he he completed 25 or 40 and threw for 305 yards. North's Joe Butts is as polished a QB as I've seen, the son of former ND head coach Bill Butts, he's got great feet, tremendous vision, and a smooth touch on the deep ball. He's averaging close to 300 yards per game. FOR THE RECORD: North Davidson (4-0) Head Coach: Mark Holcomb 13th season (111-46) 2016 Results: at High Point Central (4A) 55-21 W Ledord 31-7 W Asheboro 35-14 W at Lexington 48-13 W Charlotte Christian (4-0) Head Coach: Jason Estep 10th season (81-24) 2016 Results: Charlotte Catholic (4A) 20-13 W Carolina Pride 49-0 W Cuthbertson 49-19 W West Ashley SC (4A) 31-27
  4. We are looking for a few teams to complete the lineup for this year's Homer Thompson Kickoff Classic presented by CarolinaPreps.com being held at Deaton-Thompson Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 10th. This will be one of the most high profile preseason events in the state with some major championship contending programs. TEAMS COMMITTED THUS FAR: Greensboro Dudley East Forsyth Kannapolis Brown North Davidson Winston-Salem Parkland Contact myself or Parkland head coach Martin Samek if interested in playing.
  5. The new head football coach at South Stokes should be named and become official on Monday night when it is approved by the school board. I'll wait another day before breaking the news, but I think this is a very solid hire for the Sauras, and a coach with solid experience in 2A, 3A, and 4A. Hearing already that he's building a staff of veteran coaches so we'll see what happens, could be good news for the fans in the Walnut Cove area.
  6. 4A West Top Bracket: #1 Dudley vs. McDowell #8 Watauga vs. #9 Southwest Guilford -- #5 Reagan vs. #12 A.L. Brown #4 South Caldwell vs. #13 High Point Central Bottom Bracket: #3 Charlotte Catholic vs. #14 Vance #6 T.C. Roberson vs. #11 Seventy-First -- #7 North Davidson vs. #10 Southeast Guilford #2 Scotland vs. #15 Davie My opinion: This is a very competitive bracket from top to bottom, but there are certainly some favorites and potential upsets. I don't think anyone will argue that Dudley is a shoe-in for the third round. Who they face is the big question. I feel this Friday's game between Reagan and Kannapolis will be the clash that determines who faces off against the Panthers. I feel Kannapolis is the favorite based on physical toughness, strength of defense, and strength of competition and schedule. While I've seen both teams multiple times, I feel Kannapolis not only has the offensive weapons to keep pace with Reagan's high-octane offense, but the Wonders more importantly have the defense to stop them in crucial situations. While I'm going to stop short of making this an out-right win for the boys in green, it's certainly the best game in the 4A this week and one I'm certain to see. High Point Central will be a tall task for South Caldwell. While I feel the Spartans could pull it off, I think both will face a potential stopping block against either Kannapolis or Reagan. The bottom bracket is just as interesting. While Charlotte Catholic is a machine and those kids are extremely well coached and run their system to perfection, I'd be scared to death to face Vance. I don't think, I know that Vance has the talent to stop the Catholic season and they could easily advance all the way to the finals as a #14 seed. However I do think Catholic will find a way to pull away late, but I won't call the shot and claim Catholic wins easy. This will be a fight. I think Seventy-First will give T.C. Roberson all kinds of fits and regardless of the long drive, the Falcons will come home victorious and most likely face Catholic, but we could also see a Vance at Seventy-First matchup win the second round as well, be prepared. North Davidson should have the firepower to beat Southeast Guilford but they could be deflated a bit after Friday's emotional win over West Forsyth. I think Mark Holcombe can find a way to get his troops grounded after that big win. Finally though, it's my opinion that they're all playing for second because I see Scotland going all the way to the 4th round and most likely defeating Dudley for the right to play for the championship.
  7. North Davidson has a Social Studies teaching position available and is looking for an assistant football coach. If you're interested, send head football coach Mark Holcomb your resume at mholcomb@davidson.k12.nc.us. North Davidson HS is located in Welcome, N.C. just outside of the Winston-Salem city limits and just off US 52. It's a good central location in the state, and convenient to many great cities and towns. The Black Knights have gone 43-10 over the past 5 years while competing in the CPC 4A. They've only suffered 5 losing season in the past 25+ years.
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