Friday's Common Sense Picks
West Rowan is 9-2, Salisbury iss 8-2, North Rowan is 8-3, and East Rowan is 6-4.
Yet, it's Rowan's fifth playoff team - Carson, 4-7 Carson - that made the biggest impact on the county record book in this regular season.
As far as regular-season performances, a Cougar cracked the county's all-time charts in passing, rushing and receiving.
Carson senior K.J. Pressley broke a significant county record. His 1,032 receiving yards are the most ever in the county in a regular season. The previous record was held by West Rowan's Chavis Cowan, who had 987 in 1994. Pressley's 49 catches tie him for eighth all-time for a regular season.
Junior Austin McNeill's 1,574 passing yards rank 19th all-time for a regular season.
Sophomore Brandon Sloop's 1,240 rushing yards rank 21st as far as regular seasons in the modern era. (Complete rushing stats for many players who performed prior to 1960 aren't available.)
Speaking of Sloop, he was part of the greatest regular-season rushing race in county history, and one that will continue into the playoffs.
Sloop nipped East's Calvin Edwards (1,235) as far as total yards, although Edwards, who only played 10 games, led the county in the officially recognized stat of yards per game.
West's Desmond Jackson (1,227 yards in 11 games) had a strong finishing kick and wound up breathing down the necks of Edwards and Sloop.
Salisbury's Justin Ruffin also topped 1,000 yards in his 10-game season, and West's Daisean Reddick, who played in only eight games, made it five county rushers who averaged more than 100 yards per game.
It really has been the year of the rusher, as Salisbury's Brian Bauk had one of the top rushing seasons by a QB in county history. North's Jareke Chambers, East's Madison Hedrick and Salisbury's Max Allen also have enjoyed stellar rushing seasons.
Offensive Player of the Year obviously won't be an easy pick or a unanimous pick this time. Common Sense says Ruffin, the county leader in touchdowns and yards per carry and Salisbury's leading receiver and returner as well as rusher, is the man at this point, but the playoffs will be the determining factor.
The playoff picks:
East Rowan 28, Carson 21
When the rivals met in the regular season, it was a defensive-minded contest played in front of the biggest Rowan crowd of the regular season. Carson couldn't run the ball at all in the first meeting. If that's changed, it could go down to the final minutes.
West Rowan 20, Northeast Guilford 10
It's a challenging first-round game for West, but the Falcons haven't lost in the first round since they fell in double-overtime to Ashbrook in 2003.
Salisbury 27, Cuthbertson 21
Cuthbertson has to be the best 6-5 2A team in the state, so Salisbury also faces a first-round challenge. The Hornets have been a very good playoff team under coach Joe Pinyan, They're 10-2 the last three years and haven't lost a home playoff game since 2007.
North Rowan 26, West Montgomery 14
These two played overtime just a few weeks ago, so North could have its hands full at home. It's a lot better than playing at Mt. Gilead, though.
A.L. Brown 28, North Forsyth 14
Wonders should advance, but the last time the Wonders lost in the first round it was to a Forsyth County squad. They fell to Glenn 35-34 in 1993.
Davie 24, Ragsdale 14
Davie lost at home in the first round in 2011 to Greensboro Dudley, but the War Eagles should survive this one.