HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Cannon Cougars show old form while claiming first victory under new name | Latest titles


JOE HABINA Special for the Independent Tribune

RALEIGH — A local high school football team started the 2022 season on Friday with two new nicknames but played like its old self.

The Cannon Cougars are a team made up of students from Cannon School and Concord Academy and for three years were known as the Cabarrus Warriors. Last year, the team won the NC Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II State Championship.

Playing with both a new name and the “reigning state champion” title he won, Cream of Cabarrus’ third-ranked Cannon traveled to North Raleigh Christian on Friday and kept busy business, earning a 42-26 victory.

“We are excited about the brand change,” coach Jamie Bolton said in a phone interview with the Independent Tribune. ” We are a big family. And to see the faces of those guys after getting their first road win of the year against an old opponent, no matter what jerseys they’re wearing, we’re all part of the same community.

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“We are united in the fact that we are the only private school team in the county of Cabarrus. We are delighted with this and hope that we represent our community well. This is our mission.


The Cougars (1-0) received outstanding play from a trio of junior players in a skill position.

Quarterback Tyler Green completed 20 of 27 pass attempts for 425 yards and four touchdowns, including two to receiver Colin Reese, a former Cox Mill player who caught eight balls for 187 yards.

Running back Will Jones had one receiving touchdown and five catches for 100 yards to add to his two rushing scores and 120 yards on 20 carries.

Bolton said the Cougars’ key was to convert four third down plays for 10 yards, including two for touchdowns.

Jones scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one rushing and one receiving, as Cannon pulled away late.

Including the opening minutes of the game, the first three periods were a different story.



Cougars second-year tight end Henry Anthony opened the scoring with a 40-yard reception from Green, but North Raleigh Christian went close at 7-6 when he returned the ensuing kickoff for a hit.

Two second-quarter touchdowns by Reese gave Cannon a 21-6 halftime lead. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, but the Cougars never trailed.

The Cougars held a 42-20 lead before North Raleigh Christian (0-1) scored late. Cannon sealed the victory by recovering an onside kick in the dying moments.

Cannon sophomore Landon Mare was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra point attempts.

“We were balanced (offensively),” Bolton said. “I think we ended up going to 50-50 (percent). We were able to overcome some difficulties. We had a lot of penalties, we had alignment problems. I think we had over 100 penalty yards tonight.

The Cougars are expected to host the Cabarrus Stallions at Randy Marion Field next week.


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