Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 21, Memorial Stadium (Charlotte)

Last meeting: This is the first meeting.

Players to watch: Hough – DB Mark Fields II, RB Van Smith, DB Marquill Osborne; Sun Valley – RB Albert Funderburk, QB Isaiah Hicklin, NG Dominique Ventura

The skinny: Both teams will debut new coaches. Miles Aldridge takes over at Hough, which won 10 games last season and has eight defensive starters returning. Sun Valley will debut under new coach Tad Baucom. The Spartans, a Class 3A school, were 7-5 last season. Hough has plenty of new faces on offense, but returnee Carl Tucker should be one of the lake area’s top wide receivers.




Kickoff: 7 p.m. Aug. 22, at Bailey Middle School

Last meeting: Davidson Day won 61-6 last season.

Players to watch: Albemarle – DL Lee Autry, DB Terrance Ellis, OL Hunter Davis; Davidson Day – WR Glen Coates, QB Anthony DiGioia, WR Jacob Robinson

The skinny: Davidson Day has replaced most of its offensive starters, but preseason scrimmages have been encouraging. The Patriots still prefer to pass and will debut strong-armed Digioia, a senior transfer from Hough. Albemarle, a longtime 1A public school power, was 11-4 last season and reached the state semifinals. The Bulldogs return 13 starters, but they too are debuting a new quarterback.

Glen Coates, Davidson Day Senior, (Lake Norman Publications photo)




Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22

Last meeting: This is the first meeting.

Players to watch: Carolina – LB Cameron Delano, RB Qwan Martin, DB Deandre Gamble; SouthLake – RB Robert Washington Jr., LB Zack Dudan, LB Jalen Nash

The skinny: SouthLake moves up to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II ranks, after winning the Division III state title last season. New coach Bobby McLaughlin welcomes back 14 starters, including Washington, who rushed for 2,500 yards last season. Carolina is an independent team based in South Carolina. The Wildcats were 11-1 last season and play teams from throughout the Southeast.




Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22

Last meeting: Bishop McGuinness won 34-16 last season.

Players to watch: CSD – RB Joey Bernardini, TE Nick Piselli, RB Monquez Moore; Bishop McGuinness – QB Andrew Rowley, RB Lewis Drane, WR Carlos Simmons

The skinny: Fourteen returning starters are helping build enthusiasm for Community School of Davidson, which begins its third varsity season. The Spartans got a taste of the state 1A playoffs last season and want to build enthusiasm heading into conference play. Bishop McGuinness was 7-5 last season, but lost some key contributors to graduation. The Villians aren’t a big team, but they have plenty of speed that CSD will have to contain.




Kickoff: 7 p.m. Aug. 22

Last meeting: Hopewell won 55-0 last season.

Players to watch: Garinger – LB Marcus Feagins, QB Cameron Morris, WR Jarod Bullard; Hopewell – RB Dimitris Camp, LB Jordan Tillmon, K Tyler Santee

The skinny: Garinger is on a 20-game losing streak stretching to the 2011 season and is 1-29 the past three seasons. The Wildcats need to win the small battles and avoid turnovers. Hopewell returns 12 starters from last season’s 6-6 team that reached the 4A playoffs. Look for the Titans to utilize camp behind an experienced offensive line. This should be a nice tune-up for the Titans to ease into the season comfortably.




Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22

Last meeting: Hickory Grove won 21-0 in 2010.

Players to watch: Hickory Grove – QB Connor McCullom, CB Michael Byrd, WR Graham Whittle; LN Charter – WR Neil Baugh, LB Jake Massey, QB Will Monti

The skinny: Lake Norman Charter debuts under new coach Mark Steele and hopes to snap a seven-game losing streak. The Knights have new starters in 14 of 22 positions, so continuity in game conditions must develop quickly. Hickory Grove has been a successful private-school program that past decade or so, and is coming off an 8-4 season.




Kickoff: 7 p.m. Aug. 22

Last meeting: North Mecklenburg won 28-26 last season.

Players to watch: Lake Norman – WR Luke Miller, TE Dylan Galbo, QB Josh Ladowski; North Meck – QB Nolan Beasley, LB Trevor Lowery, C Preston Ellison

The skinny: Lake Norman has one of the area’s top offensive duos in Ladowski and wide receiver Corey Joyner (86 catches last season). But the Wildcats are much more than that, and have four capable receivers. North Mecklenburg probably can’t afford to get into a shoot-out and must come up with big plays on defense. Beasley is in his third year as the Vikings starting quarterback, so early-season jitters should be minimal. 




Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21

Last meeting: This is the first meeting.

Players to watch: Pine Lake Prep – RB Austin Cook, WR Joe Berg, LB Bradley Pirkle

The skinny: Pine Lake Prep opens it second season under a new coach (Brett Hayford) and hopes of playing well to erase memories of last season’s 0-10 debut. They’re dipping down a bit in class by playing a junior-varsity team, but the goal at this point is to establish good habits, consistency and perhaps taste a bit of success. Pine Lake Prep returns seven starters on defense and seven on defense.