Prep Football: Week 11 Previews
It's not every week that a 3-7 team playing host to a 1-9 team provides the most intriguing game in Rowan County, but this week's menu is what it is.
Carson, that 3-7 team, projects to be in the playoffs if it wins at home - and out if it loses.
If there's any drama tonight, it should come at Carson. West Rowan, North Rowan and Salisbury are 40-point favorites as they tune up for the playoffs, and South Rowan is a 40-point underdog as it closes its season.
East Rowan is off.
Outside the county, there is no shortage of excitement. Davie hosts undefeated North Davidson in the latest game of the century, while A.L. Brown at Concord in the "Bell Game" is always game-of-the-century material.
North Iredell (1-9, 1-4 NPC) at Carson (3-7, 2-3 NPC)
Series: The series is tied 3-3.
History: Carson has won the last three meetings.
2011: Austin McNeill threw two TD passes as the Cougars scored 28 unanswered to win 28-7 in Olin.
Last week: North Iredell broke into the win column with a 30-0 victory against West Iredell. Carson lost to West Rowan 42-0.
Notable: Carson has allowed 25 or more points in each of the last eight weeks. Carson has the county's leader passer in Austin McNeill (1,510 yards, 15 TDs) and the leading receiver in K.J. Pressley (1,003 receiving yards and eight TDs). Brandon Sloop has carried 236 times and rushed for 1,099 yards to rank second in the county.
Next week: Carson projects to be in the 3A Midwest pod if it wins.
West Iredell (1-8, 0-5 NPC) at West Rowan (8-2, 3-2 NPC)
Series: West Rowan leads 12-2.
History: West Iredell's wins came in 1993 at home and in 2007 in Mount Ulla. West Iredell opened in 1974 and took a 63-0 beatdown from the Falcons that season.
West Rowan has won the last four meetings. Coach Scott Young is 6-1 against coach Mark Weycker's Warriors.
2011: Right after Young's heart attack, the Falcons limited the Warriors to 34 rushing yards and won 21-0 at West Iredell.
Last week: West Iredell was smashed 30-0 by previously winless North Iredell. West Rowan overpowered Carson 42-0.
Notable: West Rowan banged out its first 300-yard rushing game of the season two weeks ago and went over 400 ground yards last week, so the Falcons are starting to hit their stride offensively. The Falcons' defense, which allows just 54.7 rushing yards per game, has been tough all season. West has allowed six points the last three weeks. Dating back to 2007, West Rowan has won 61 straight home games against North Carolina opponents.
Next week: The Falcons have been impressive of late and could be a handful in the 3A playoffs.
Statesville (9-1, 5-0 NPC) at South Rowan (2-7, 2-3 NPC)
Series: Greyhounds hold a decisive 14-3 advantage.
History: South broke the school record for points when it demolished the Greyhounds 76-22 in 2009. Greyhound coaches and seniors are unlikely to have forgotten that.
2011: Statesville led 42-6 after three quarters and cruised 42-25 despite 215 passing yards by Nathan Lambert.
Last week: Statesville beat East Rowan 59-39 in a battle for the NPC championship. South Rowan did not play.
Notable: South's Josh Medlin needs 141 receiving yards in his final game to break Adrian Parker's career record of 1,493. Aaron Kennerly has produced 163.6 yards of offense per game since replacing the injured Lambert.
Statesville's talent, which includes Shrine Bowlers Carlis Parker and Tristan Mumford, is awesome. The Greyhounds, who have lost only to unbeaten 4A North Davidson, have scored at least 30 points in every game. South Rowan is allowing 43.8 points per game.
Next week: Statesville will be one of the teams to beat in 3AA.
Salisbury (7-2, 4-0 CCC) at East Davidson (3-7, 1-3 CCC)
Series: The Hornets lead 12-7. One of those East Davidson wins was a 2008 forfeit after the Hornets had won 60-0 on the field.
History: SHS coach Joe Pinyan is 7-2 against the Golden Eagles. East Davidson's last win on the field against the Hornets was in 2003.
2011: Max Allen and Justin Ruffin combined for 264 yards in 48-6 Hornets' victory.
Last week: Salisbury won 43-39 against Thomasville in miraculous fashion. East Davidson logged its first CCC win by pummeling West Davidson 48-14.
Notable: Salisbury averages nearly 300 rushing yards per game and nearly 38 points per game. The Hornets are shooting for a perfect CCC season, something they also accomplished with Pinyan at the helm in 2010. Ruffin owns a county-leading 21 TDs and needs 84 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Brian Bauk rushes for 80 yards per game, a huge number for a QB.
Next week: Still unranked despite six straight wins, the Hornets should get a solid seed in the 2AA Midwest pod.
North Rowan (7-3, 5-1 YVC) at South Davidson (1-9, 1-5 YVC)
Series: The schools had never met until they became YVC opponents in 2009. North has won all three meetings.
History: South Davidson has turned it over 12 times in those three meetings.
2011: North forced five turnovers and won 22-0 in Spencer.
Last week: North Rowan withstood West Montgomery 20-14 in overtime. South Davidson lost 63-0 to South Stanly.
Notable: North sophomore back Jareke Chambers (764 rushing yards, 13 TDs) should have a huge night, as the Cavaliers figure to work on their ground game.
Give South Davidson players a lot of credit for continuing to compete this season after the late-September death of head coach Mike Crowell.North's pass defense (76.8 yards per game) has been, by far, the county's best. Kasuan Coney is tied for the county lead with five interceptions.
Next week: North will get a good seed in 1AA.
North Davidson (10-0, 4-0 CPC) at Davie (8-2, 3-1 CPC)
Series: It's been heated, and it's 22-22.
History: Davie has dominated lately, winning nine of the last 11. North Davidon's last win in the series was in the 2010 regular season, but Davie avenged that loss in that year's playoffs.
2011: Davie won 31-16 in Welcome to share the CPC title with Mount Tabor.
Last week: North Davidson kept it rolling with a 55-0 rout of R.J. Reynolds. Davie's defense stifled Reagan 28-7.
Notable: North Davidson kicker Spencer Landfried is one of the state's best and has boomed field goals of 49 and 51 yards. He could be the difference because it's hard to put up touchdowns against a fierce Davie defense that is allowing 8.1 points per game. Davie freshman Cade Carney has rushed for 1,494 yards. Corner Caleb Mathis has three picks in the last two weeks.
Next week: Davie is projected to land in the 4A bracket. Obviously, the War Eagles' seed will be greatly affected by tonight's outcome.
A.L. Brown (8-2, 5-1 SPC) at Concord (8-2, 4-2 SPC)
Series: The state's best. Concord leads the "Bell Game" series 39-38-4. The schools also have tangled three times in the playoffs, and Brown won two of those. So call it 41-41 with four ties after 86 squabbles. Yes, a decent rivalry.
History: Too much to go into here, but besides winning a close one last year, the Wonders won 28-21 on their last visit to Bailey Stadium behind 153 Travis Riley rushing yards. Concord shocked the Wonders in 2009.
Last meeting: The Wonders withstood 219 passing yards by B.J. Beecher and won 31-26.
Last week: The Wonders bounced back from a loss to smash Northwest Cabarrus 49-20. Concord lost to Hickory Ridge 24-21.
Notable: It's not for first place, which is rare, but hats off to 6-year-old Hickory Ridge, which beat both traditional powers on back-to-back weeks. Both offenses are averaging over 40 points a game. Brown running back Kalif Phillips and Concord QB Beecher are Shrine Bowlers. Both teams have dealt with damaging injuries. It's a tossup, and this will be the last time, at least for a while, that the rivals will meet in a season finale. Brown will be 4A next season.
Next week: No chance of the Wonders and Spiders meeting in playoffs. Brown will be 3AA, while the Spiders will be 3A.