After spending the two previous seasons as an assistant coach at Thomas Stone High School under former coach Danny Ripple, who earlier stepped down to accept the same role at Southern High School in Anne Arundel County, Huntingtown High School and Salisbury University graduate Riley Cannon was recently named the new head football coach at Stone.
Cannon, who occupied a bevy of roles with the Cougars last fall and was regarded by Ripple as his “right hand man”, accepted the head job at Stone shortly before the school year was to end. Cannon is a physical education teacher at John Hanson Middle School in Waldorf and will remain in that role through the 2019-2020 school year.
“When I heard that I was named the new coach at Stone I was very excited,” Cannon said. “I learned a lot about the game during my two seasons as an assistant under coach Ripple. I’m only 24, so this is a great opportunity for me to start my head coaching career at a young age. School is almost over, so the summer workouts will be getting started soon.”
Ripple admitted that he gave Cannon plenty of duties last season, including a combination of roles as the offensive line coach, the defensive line coach and the special teams coach. While Ripple called the plays on offense, he generally conferred with Cannon repeatedly on plays in numerous situations and admitted he was hoping to have him on the staff at Southern this fall.
“Riley played at a very high level in high school and again in college and he has a tremendous knowledge of the game,” Ripple said. “Initially, I thought I might be able to bring him over to Southern with me, but I’m happy for him. I think he’s going to do an excellent job at Stone. He knows the conference and he knows the talent that they have coming back.”
During his playing days at Huntingtown, Cannon was a part of several Hurricanes teams that marched deep into the postseason. In fact, his final game was the 2012 Class 3A state championship against River Hill at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
His four subsequent years at Salisbury also proved to be rewarding on a number of levels.
“During my years at Salisbury I had great coaches and great teammates and I really loved the school,” Cannon said. “At Huntingtown, we had some really good teams and it was amazing being able to play at Ravens Stadium my senior year. That whole experience was kind of surreal. But throughout my high school and college careers I really had good coaches to learn from.”
Ripple, who was 17-15 during his three seasons with the Cougars, noted that Cannon brought plenty of knowledge with him to the staff and immediately expanded his roles in his second season at Stone.
“Riley could do so many things,” Ripple said. “He learned quickly and he was always willing to be consulted on play calls. He’s going to have a lot of good kids back this fall and he knows them. I think he’s going to do well there.”
Not long after Brock Virts was named the new football coach at McDonough, Cannon got the nod to take over at Stone. Both rookie coaches will also have something else in common this season as they will make their coaching debuts against their high school alma maters. McDonough will face Chopticon, where Virts played, and Stone will host Huntingtown, where Cannon played.