MINT HILL, NC – With a long tradition of success, Independence High School’s football program welcomes a new head coach as well as some additional new coaches from winning programs to join their experienced staff. The Patriots will have a new look this season, and it’s gong to be exciting, fun, and interesting to observe how the team develops.
“The team needs to restructure our culture, a tradition of winning,” said head football coach Darryl (D.J.) McFadden. “We are a young team; we have some important key pieces in place and good leadership from our core group of seniors.”
Then Coach McFadden added, “Our expectation is to win, play at a high level with intensity, try to establish a new standard of excellence with the belief that hard work, teamwork, will become the norm, and sense of accomplishment will be our reward. We cannot focus on our past success at Independence, winning 109 games straight and 7 state titles, but we can build our own legacy.”
Independence has gone through some tough seasons recently with five different coaches and the last winning season 8-5 in 2015. Coach McFadden, who is a two-time state champion at Independence and played his collegiate football at East Carolina University, brings with him from Butler some great experience and a disciplined approach to turn this program around. The expectations are high, and Rome was not built in a day. It will take time for this team and for the program to build a strong foundation, but all the right ingredients are in place. “The culture, the pride, and standard of effort and hard work that this program was originally built on,” said McFadden
There’s a lot of talent to unpack on this year’s team. Let’s start at the most important position on the field, the quarterback. The Patriots have a good one who is a southpaw with a strong and accurate arm. He is a transfer from A.L. Brown who will provide senior leadership and make plays. He’s smart and is expected to deliver for the offense Cameron Kromah.
There is a solid core of receivers who are all young and talented. They have speed, good hands, and run their routes well. The most consistent in this group of talented players has been junior Joe Moraglia. Sophomore tight end Kaden Thomas is expected to play a major role, along other wide receivers Jaylen Springs, Bryson Tisdale, and 6’4″ Ralph Johnson.
The Patriots’ running game is expected to complement the passing game, and the team has a good group of running backs who are expected to make a significant contribution. Along with explosive kick returners Graeson Crockett, a returning senior, Joe Moraglia and Sincere McIntyre, the team looks like they will score points while generating some excitement.
On defense, with Coach Hackett joining the staff from Vance, Josh Iseah anchoring at defensive end; Taylor Russ, a hard hitting linebacker; and Khalil Hoke, defensive tackle, will all be attacking with a high energy level. At cornerback, junior Joe Reddish has some swagger and plenty of energy. Jeremiah Palmer, who has the size of a wide receiver at 6’3″, will anchor the other cornerback spot.
The Patriots compete in the Black and Blue Southwestern 4A Conference. This includes arch rival Butler, Charlotte Catholic, East Mecklenburg, Providence, and Rocky River, all challenging rivals. We look forward to the upcoming football season!