• 45°

HS Football Tab: A.L. Brown preview

By Pat Bonilla

The A.L. Brown Wonders are looking to be the 4A Mecka conference champions this year.
With it only being the Wonders’ third year in the conference, and considering that the conference is also the home of the Mallard Creek Mavericks (4AA state champions last year), it won’t be an easy task for Brown.
But the Wonders have the talent to do it. This year, Brown has a legitimate chance to win the conference and go deep into the state playoffs.
The Wonders’ top talent includes returning seniors and promising juniors.
Sandon McCoy and Jayln Cagle will be getting most of the touches out of the backfield for Brown.
Cagle and McCoy each bring different things to the table. McCoy is a power personified. He runs through linebackers and never shies from contact. Unlike most big running backs, McCoy also has the ability to bounce to the outside and create something from nothing.
On the other hand, Cagle is more of a shifty back who is also a skilled receiver.
Cagle and McCoy combined for over 1,800 yards last year and the 3,000-yard mark is a realistic expectation for the tandem in 2015. >
Senior Damon Johnson will be returning as the starting quarterback.
Last year, Johnson threw for 19 touchdowns and completed nearly 50 percent of his passes. He’s expected to exceed those numbers, considering that this will be his second year leading the offense.
While the Wonders’ experienced offense is certain to be potent, the young defense has the potential to be equally strong.
Dantrell Barkley, a talented defensive lineman, returns and will be one of the toughest players to block in the Mecka Conference.
Another player on defense to watch will be Steven Howie. \Howie is a 6-1, 210-pound junior linebacker. He is not finished growing physically and neither is his potential. He has great football instincts and will have to be accounted for by opponents.
The Wonders expect to be very good — but so does most of their 4A league.

Coach: Mike Newsome (5th year in Kannapolis, 35-17)
2014: 6-6, 4-3 Mecka
The challenge: The top half of the league is always fierce and athletic and A.L. Brown is considerably smaller than the schools it’s competing with. The Wonders are 8-6 in league games in their two seasons after moving up to 4A and they are 0-2 against powers Hough and Mallard Creek.
It’s been a downward trend for the Wonders the last four years: 12-2, 10-4, 7-5, 6-6. Six wins last season was the fewest for the Wonders since 1996.
Schedule: The Wonders have localized their non-conference games, taking on former Mecka member Robinson (now 3A), rival Concord, South Rowan, Mooresville and Northwest Cabarrus. Weddington and Berry have been subtracted.
The big question: Johnson, Cagle and McCoy are sure things if they stay healthy, but how much has the defense improved? The Wonders put up 36.8 points per game last season and still lost six times. The 50-42 loss to Reagan in the first round of the 4A playoffs wasn’t a unique scenario. Other losses were by scores of 48-35 and 52-35.
The start: It’s hard to get any more exciting than a season-opening live TV game at home on Thursday against Concord.

Comments

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18