Week 8 Common Sense Picks
In this corner, we have a team that has allowed 316 points in seven games.
And in this corner, we have a team that has allowed 258.
That means if both teams turn in their average defensive performance tonight, Carson beats South Rowan 45-37.
It's the movable object against the movable object. As far as yardage allowed, the teams have almost identical numbers, and they aren't attractive.
South allows 383 yards per game, 255 on the ground and 128 through the air. Carson has permitted 377 yards per game, 251 on the ground and 126 through the air. It doesn't get any closer than that.
It's possible Carson's K.J. Pressley will catch four touchdown passes tonight, but it's also possible that South's Josh Medlin will visit the end zone four times.
Not saying that's what will happen, only that it could. When a 2-5 team plays a 1-6 team, there are no sure things.
South is the team with the momentum. South is trending upward. It has won two of its last three. Not only that, both wins came in the NPC, and, in the big picture, it was far more important for South to beat West Iredell and North Iredell than it was for the Raiders to beat Northwest Cabarrus and Central Cabarrus.
Carson, on the other hand, has about as much negative momentum as any team in the history of the world. Carson has lost five in a row.
If you're struggling to remember the last time the Cougars won, it's because it was back on Aug. 24 at Northwest Cabarrus. They haven't played well. They especially haven't played well at home, where this game will take place.
Both coaching staffs need this one. Both teams need this one. Both bands and both sets of cheerleaders need this one. Both schools need this one.
The injury report favors Carson. South Rowan quarterback Nathan Lambert will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle.
Aaron Kennerly has been one of the best backup QBs ever and he appears impervious to pressure, but he's still young.
Carson wasn't supposed to be 1-6. Projections in August were for the Cougars to be 4-3 or 5-2 at this point, although part of that misery is that North Rowan, Hickory Ridge and East Rowan are all playing above preseason expectations. Those three teams all are still undefeated in their respective leagues.
South probably is right where it was expected to be, although it got to 2-5 by way of an alternate route. Prior to the season, you wouldn't have expected South to beat West Iredell, but you probably would've penciled the Raiders in for a win against Central or Northwest.
If name recognition means anything, Carson wins by a landslide. Casual fans may not be able to name a Raider once you get past Lambert and Medlin. But just about everyone knows who Carson's Pressley, Myquon Stout, Austin McNeill, Brandon Sloop and Ben Gragg are.
McNeill is the county passing leader and Pressley is the county receiving leader, but Carson has had two serious shortcomings.
One, the Cougars can't get started. They've scored 14 points in the first quarter this season, while their opponents have scored 111. It's been 21-0 or 28-0 before the Cougars knew what hit them week after week after week.
Second, those holes are being dug with a shovel named Mr. Turnover. Carson has turned it over a staggering 20 times during its five-game losing streak, and if you're turning it over four times a night, you can't beat anyone.
But Carson has the more explosive team in this matchup and if it keeps the turnovers down to two or fewer, it gets its first NPC win tonight.
But if the Cougars continue to turn it over, South will suddenly be 3-1 in the NPC.
It should be exciting. Wear pink, orange or red and support the "Relay for Life" fundraising effort. Do that, and everyone wins.
There was only one miss on the picks last week, but it was the big one - East's upset of West Rowan.
Carson 45, South Rowan 37
It's what the numbers say will happen.
North Rowan 26, Albemarle 21
Games with West Rowan and Salisbury have prepared the Cavaliers to make a statement, but Albemarle is as good as it gets in 1A. Could be an instant classic.
Salisbury 42, Central Davidson 21
Central had to play Monday, and that won't help the Spartans any.
East Rowan 35, North Iredell 7
Mustangs should breeze if they're focused.
West Rowan 21, Reidsville 14
Two-game losing streaks don't happen for these guys.
A.L. Brown 28, Mt. Pleasant 7
Tigers could make it interesting. Michael Johns is a highly respected coach.
Davie 24, West Forsyth 7
Davie quietly putting up astounding defensive numbers.