The Lake Norman area football teams came into the season looking to rebuild or reload in most cases.
SouthLake Christian was probably the most surprising team: the Eagles won eight games - after winning two last year - and went all the way to the NCISAA Division II state semifinals.
Meanwhile, Mooresville was a close second, going from 0-11 to 8-4 in Hal Capps' first season.
East Lincoln and Hopewell again were contenders in their conference and playoff pictures, but neither could make it far in postseason.
In the meantime, Lake Norman and North Mecklenburg were rebuilding with young teams, while Hough's football program started off with a respectable two wins in their inaugural campaign..
Lake Norman News Coach of the Year: Rich Landis, SouthLake Christian
Three years ago, the SouthLake Christian football program seemed on the verge of stardom, going 9-3 and advancing to the state semifinals in its third year as an 11-man football program. But after winning six games in the last two years, some may have begun to wonder.
SouthLake Christian football coach Rich Landis wasn't one of those people, as he again guided the Eagles to an 8-5 record and a state semifinal berth, one year after winning two games.
Landis did it with a veteran team led by the senior quarterback-wide receiver duo of Sam Remick and Travis Hallman.
Lake Norman News Player of the Year: Dondre Lewis-Freeman, Hopewell
Dondre Lewis-Freeman may be short - at 5-foot-7, 185 pounds - but whatever he lacks in size, the senior tailback has made up for with heart and determination. He finished his Hopewell career as one of the best runners in school history.
Lewis-Freeman, who had more 2,700 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns in his career, capped it with 1,120 yards and 15 scores this season to help lead the Titans to an 8-5 record and a birth in the state playoffs, where the Titans lost in the second round to Vance.