Prep Football: Common Sense Picks
The Catawba Indians picked off four passes and won the turnover battle 5-1 at Wingate on Saturday and still lost the football game.
The odds of being plus-4 in turnovers in a game between evenly matched teams - and still losing - probably are 100 to 1. Catawba was that unfortunate one.
Every coach at every level will tell you turnovers are the most critical stat in deciding a football game. Yes, third-down conversion rates matter and, yes,rushing yards allowed matter and penalty yards matter and some other stuff matters, but the bottom line is usually going to be turnovers.
Which brings us to Carson's season.
Carson has talent. Carson also has dedicated coaches. Roughly two months ago, Common Sense was picking Carson to beat Hickory Ridge, and probably 50 percent of the world agreed with Common Sense. Today, if any human picked Carson (3-7) to beat Hickory Ridge (9-1), zero percent of the world would agree and he or she would be laughed right off the planet.
What has gone wrong at Carson? In a word, it's been the turnover.
Carson has turned the ball over 23 times in 10 games, which isn't good, but that also isn't earthshaking.
What has really hurt, however, is that the Cougars haven't forced turnovers. They are minus-16 on takeaways this season because they have come up with only seven.
Yes, seven. The Cougars own two interceptions and five fumble recoveries.
To put that number in perspective, North's Kasuan Coney has accounted for six turnovers by himself. So has East's Donte Means.
To put that number in perspective another way, Carson created 24 turnovers in its first year of existence in 2006 while it was going 0-11.
Carson has forced multiple turnovers once this season - two fumble recoveries at Northwest Cabarrus. Not coincidentally, the Cougars won that game.
East Rowan can tell you about the turnover. In their four losses, the Mustangs have lost the turnover battle 16-3. In its biggest win of the season, East won the turnover battle against West Rowan 3-0.
West Rowan also can tell you about the turnover. West is 8-2. In the two games the Falcons lost, they dropped the turnover battle 8-0.
North Rowan (7-3) is plus-3 for the season on turnovers, but it lost the turnover battle 3-0 to Albemarle in the Cavaliers' most important game so far.
The county's best team as far as turnovers has been Salisbury (7-2), which is plus-8.
Turnovers haven't really killed South Rowan, but allowing 43 points a game has often rendered the turnover battle moot.
West Rowan has had some great turnover-creating defenses, but the best in the county in recent memory was South's 2001 team that forced - are you ready for this - 48 turnovers in a 13-game season. The Raiders made 27 interceptions and pounced on 21 fumbles. Nine of those 48 turnovers were picks by Brad "Hit Man" Lanning, the county's defensive player of the year.
Here are this week's picks, brought to you with the hope that Carson will come up with a few overdue picks tonight:
Carson 28, North Iredell 20
North Iredell has QB Jacob Queen back healthy now and played its best game of the season last week.
Concord 35, A.L. Brown 31
Could be one of the higher-scoring Bell games ever. Both average 40-plus.
North Davidson 15, Davie 14
Five field goals by the Black Knights' record-setting kicker.
West Rowan 42, West Iredell 0
It's no fun playing the Falcons when they're ticked off, and they've had chips on their shoulders for about a month.
Salisbury 48, East Davidson 20
Hornets should score at will.
North Rowan 34, South Davidson 0
Cavaliers will take care of business.
Statesville 52, South Rowan 14
Greyhounds scored 59 against East, and East has a good defense. That's scary.