Prep Football: Knee injury may sideline Northwest star Cannon for season

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 18, 2008

By Bill Kiser
KANNAPOLIS ó Rich Williams cited looking for a new challenge when he took over as head coach at Northwest Cabarrus’ football program several months ago.
Now, Williams faces a two-fold challenge this season ó not only keeping the Trojans a contender in the North Piedmont Conference, but doing so without one of their key players the last two years.
Williams, who comes from West Stanly and replaces Mike Helms, takes over a team that was 10-3 last season. But it will be difficult to match those numbers without quarterback Jeremy Cannon.
The two-year starting quarterback, a junior, suffered an injury to the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee near the end of the Trojans’ scrimmage against Mt. Pleasant on Friday night.
“I hate it because what happened (to Cannon) was terrible, but that’s part of football,” Williams said. “You’ve got to be prepared for stuff like this.”
While team officials are still awaiting the results of an MRI scheduled for this week, Northwest’s coaches ó as well as Cannon and his teammates ó are moving forward thinking that the two-time all-NPC pick will not be available to play this season.
“It was surprising to everybody,” said senior wideout Graham Wright, an all-NPC team pick last year. “We’ve got to rebuild, and we’ve got to depend on some backup quarterbacks who don’t have a lot of experience. They’re going to have to step up.”
Cannon accounted for more than 5,300 total yards (3,894 yards passing and 1,409 rushing) and 53 touchdowns as a starter.
“We felt pretty confident,” Wright continued. “We felt really good about our offense ó it was going to be really explosive with what Jeremy brings ó but this is a change, and we’re going to have to work with it.”
Williams believes that the Trojans have the talent to make up for the loss.
“Our plans are going to stay the same,” Williams said. “There’s more than one guy on this team, and I think our guys are going to be strong enough and be mentally prepared enough to go on. We’ve still got a season to play, and our kids realize that. We’ll find out what they’re made of, but I think I know what they’re made of. We’ll be fine.”