Each day, the Observer is revealing a new team in its Sweet 16. Today is No. 8 Kannapolis Brown. Get No. 7 tomorrow at 3 p.m. at this site and read a preview story on Brown and see photos in tomorrow's print editions (8/9).
A.L. BROWN OVERVIEW
Last year: 12-2
What’s new: Longtime coach Ron Massey has retired and Brown brought in Mike Newsome from Butler, where he turned the Bulldogs into a two-time state champion and took over the mantle of the state’s top program from Independence. Can Newsome repeat that success in Kannapolis?
Three to watch
RB Damien Washington (6-1, 190), Sr.: Great athlete will play RB, QB, WR. Offers from UNC, William & Mary and Richmond
DE Gerald Holt (6-3, 250), Sr.: Fast as a linebacker and solid player. Newsome calls him a “great leader.”
OL Hunter Morris (6-2, 250), Sr.: Smart center makes all calls and is strong long snapper and college recruit. Good student.
Bet you didn’t know: Brown runs a “Summer Warriors” program. To earn the distinction, players have to regularly attend voluntary workouts, run distances at specific times (example 18 100-yard sprints in a certain time). This year, 114 players made it. Some teams don’t have that many players.
Preview analysis: Newsome has 30 lettermen and 12 starters back from a team that reached the third round of the N.C. 3AA playoffs last year. He’s also got a supportive community hungry for a state title. Brown hasn’t won one in 14 years. Washington, an-under-the-radar star last year, should emerge this year. There’s a huge amount of excitment in Kannapolis, a place that loves its high school football as much as anyplace in the state. Brown has the talent, and the coach, to give the fans, what they want so much.
Schedule: Aug. 19, Shelby; Aug. 26, at S. Rowan; Sept. 2, Rocky River; Sept. 9, at Porter Ridge; Sept. 16, at JM Robinson; Sept. 23, Central Cabarrus; Sept. 30, Cox Mill; Oct. 7, at Mt Pleasant; Oct. 14, Hickory Ridge; Oct. 21, at NW Cabarrus; Oct. 28, Concord
THE SWEET 16 (SO FAR)
No. 7: Announced tomorrow at 3 p.m. at CharlotteObserver.com/preps
No. 8: Kannapolis Brown (3A)
No. 9: South Point (3A)
No. 10: Rock Hill South Pointe (3A)
No. 11: Hibriten (3A)
No. 12: Burns (3A)
No. 13: Sun Valley (4A)
No. 14: Independence (4A)
No. 15: Lincolnton (2A)
No. 16: Albemarle (1A)