Monday, November 30, 2009

Brown's Riley, 1st Assembly's Minter win player, coach of year on North Neighbors team

From Lake Norman to Lincoln to Cabarrus County, some of the best teams, players and coaches have emerged this football season. So who are the best in the area? Here's our All-North Neighbors team (The Observer publishes several Neighbors sections throughout its coverage area that focus on specific areas. North Neighbors touches on Lake Norman area, University City in Charlotte and Cabarrus County).

Coach of the Year: Mike Minter, First Assembly.

Mike Minter came to First Assembly to win championships. But after winning 10 games and a conference title in his first year, Minter came up one point short of a state championship, losing 34-33 to Harrells Christian Academy in the title game.

This year, everything went perfectly. Minter led the Eagles to a flawless 13-0 mark and the NCISAA Division II state championship in a rout of Harrells 32-12.

"This win ranks right up there with winning a national championship, winning a high school championship and going to the Super Bowl for me," Minter, a former Carolina Panthers safety, said. "Right now, all you have to do is look at how hard these kids worked and how much they wanted this. That is why it feels so good."

Player of the Year: Travis Riley, A.L. Brown.

The Kannapolis Brown game plan is usually pretty simple: Run right, run left, run up the middle. The Wonders' main weapon is Travis Riley, who has run for more than 1,900 yards and 31 touchdowns this season.

Riley's nickname, "The Train," says most of what you need to know about the 6-foot, 200-pound junior tailback. He is getting interest from several Division I schools, including Duke and Wake Forest.


QB - Jeremy Cannon, Northwest Cabarrus. One of the top dual-threat QBs in the state.

RB - Travis Riley, A.L. Brown. More than 1,900 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns move the Wonders.

RB - Brian Baltimore, Hickory Ridge. Rushed for more than 1,900 yards and 18 touchdowns.

RB - Tony Moore, First Assembly. 1,927 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns led Eagles' offense.

RB - Shaun Warren, Carson. Rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a potent offense.

WR - Michael Haffner, Hopewell. More than 700 yards receiving and six touchdowns.

WR - Jacquise Moore, Concord. The Spiders' main weapon in their comeback season.

WR - Cody Clanton, Carson. 48 catches for more than 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns.

OL - Kane Sherrill, Lake Norman. Coach's son has made name for himself.

OL - Tavis Bailey, A.L. Brown. A major reason the Wonders' running game works.

OL - William Pate, First Assembly. All-state guard helped power the Eagles' strong offense.

OL - Danny Book, Hickory Ridge. One of main weapons paving the way for Brian Baltimore.

OL - Travis Furr, Central Cabarrus. A good player on a team that is building for the future.

Utility - Antonio Francis, Jay M. Robinson. Tailback does it all for the Bulldogs.


DL - Ainsley Miller, First Assembly. Can wreck an offensive line by himself.

DL - Zack Cook, Mount Pleasant. A terror, with more than 100 tackles and 16 sacks.

DL - Chandler Caldwell, Lake Norman. A major part of the Wildcats' best unit.

LB/DL - Dana Moss, A.L. Brown. One of leaders on a solid defensive unit.

LB - Jalen Brown, Concord. Helped Concord turn its season around with suffocating defense.

LB - Chance Miller, Hopewell. Seven sacks in one game; for most, that makes a season.

LB - Ryan Lemke, North Mecklenburg. Tackle machine led talented Vikings defense.

LB - Travis Hallman, Southlake Christian. 118 tackles in the regular season alone.

DB - Brandon Stegall, First Assembly. Future Division I player led Eagles to perfect mark.

DB - Cameron Hughes, Hopewell. All-conference corner one of the best cover guys around.

DB - Derrick Sewell, Carson. Six interceptions this season, including a game winner.

DB - Anthony Kilgore-Parker, North Mecklenburg. Going to the Shrine Bowl for his efforts.

Special Teams

K - Bradley Pinion, Northwest Cabarrus. Sophomore will be a big weapon for two more years.

P - Michael Haffner, Hopewell. Nearly 38 yards per punt helps field-position battle.

-- Correspondent Jay Edwards