Gallagher column: Roaming the county
Roaming the county getting ready for tonight ...
North Rowan football coach Tasker Fleming thinks the state playoffs should be special. So you can understand the frustration of Cavalier Nation when it found out North (4-7) would be traveling to — ho-hum — West Montgomery tonight in the first round.
That’s West Montgomery (8-2) from the same Yadkin Valley Conference. The Cavs have already played West, losing 38-7.
“I’m disappointed for the kids,” Fleming said. “You would like to go somewhere you haven’t been.”
The NCHSAA’s pod system is supposed to reduce travel. Well, pod schomd. Teams shouldn’t open the playoffs against rivals from their own league. North, by the way, played West Montgomery twice last season. The Cavs won in the regular season and lost in the playoffs.
Fleming thought that perhaps South Stokes would be this year’s first-round opponent.
“I’ll bet most of the guys haven’t been to that part of the state,” he said.
The North coach pointed to a couple of years ago when the Cavs traveled all the way to Murphy in the first round.
“It was a long trip but the guys can talk about it the rest of their lives,” Fleming said. “Some of the guys will never go back to Murphy.”
With a laugh, he added, “I’ll never go back on an activity bus.”
Mark Woody of Carson would love to be going anywhere. His 4-7 team didn’t make the playoffs and he can probably thank Forest Hills for it. He knew the endowment game would be dropped from the win-loss total, which would give the Cougars only three wins to hang their hat on.
“But I thought we still had a pretty good chance,” Woody said. “A couple of teams pulled some upsets that changed the demographics a little bit.”
The biggest was Forestview’s win over Kings Mountain, something no one expected.
You can’t blame the Cougar coaches for banging their heads against the wall. They didn’t expect a playoff berth to even be a question. It was a wacky season of bad injuries and bad breaks.
Carson lost 13-7. And 48-39. And 22-16. And 40-34. The Cougars were young but with any luck at all, they could’ve been an eight-win team.
The good news is, Woody returns nine starters on defense and everyone on offense except a couple of linemen. Making the playoffs shouldn’t be a problem next season.
And then, there are the two mainstays: defending state champs West Rowan and Salisbury.
Three years ago, West Rowan beat Carver in a game it could’ve easily lost. That put Scott Young’s team over the hump and made the Falcons a 3A powerhouse. They have produced three straight state titles.
Tonight, Carver comes back to Rowan County, only now as a 2A team playing Salisbury.
West is taking on Mount Pleasant from the SPC. Young and Tiger coach Michael Johns remember each other from Johns' days as an assistant for East Rowan during the Jeff Safrit era before heading to Mount Pleasant. Ask any coach around and he’ll tell you, Johns gets more out of his kids than anybody.
He’ll have to get a lot out of them to win in Mount Ulla.
A.L. Brown fans are already looking ahead to teams like South Point but you can bet Wonders coach Mike Newsome is doing his best impression of Keith Jackson’s “Whoa, Nellie.” Gotta beat the Ledford Panthers first.
Davie will welcome a familiar foe in Greensboro Dudley, which used to play the War Eagles in the old Central Piedmont.
On the air tonight ...
• Hall of Famer Howard Platt and Wilson Cherry will call the West Rowan game on WSTP 1490 AM.
• Lance, Glenn, Johnny and the boys will call Salisbury’s contest on WSAT 1280 AM.
• Unfortunately, South Rowan and East Rowan did not make the playoffs so we won’t be listening to Carl Ford, the “Commissioner” of high school football, and his partner, The Coach, Bob Parker, on WRNA 1140 AM.
• But as always, WRKB 1460 AM will cover A.L. Brown.
Go to a game tonight, folks. And be nice.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.