Prep Football Previews
SALISBURY — Injuries to Carson’s Myquon Stout, North’s Alexis Archie, West’s Daisean Reddick and East’s Calvin Edwards — that’s close to being the Mount Rushmore of Rowan County’s marquee players — have placed a cloud over the early football season. Staying healthy is essential for every high school team, and how quickly or how slowly those standouts return will have a huge impact on their team’s success.
The good news is that Stout and Reddick, at least, appear close to returning.
We’re looking at an unusually quiet Friday night, although we have one county matchup and two potentially exciting games in North at Statesville and Weddington at A.L. Brown. This is the bye week for South Rowan (0-2), East Rowan (1-1) and Carson (1-1).
3A West (1-1) at 2A Salisbury (0-2)
Asked about his non-conference schedule in the preseason, West Rowan coach Scott Young said the Falcons would be playing three neighbors and rivals — Mooresville, Davie and Salisbury.
West lost to Mooresville and beat Davie, and we’ll buy that those two are rivalry games. But it’s getting harder and harder to call West-Salisbury a rivalry because the Falcons keep winning the matchup every year. South Rowan gets grief about overstating its rivalry with A.L. Brown, but South actually has beaten the Wonders twice since the last time Salisbury beat West, which was in 1996.
Having said that, it should be noted that West’s last two trips to Salisbury were anything but easy. The Hornets fought hard in a 14-7 loss in 2009 and fought some more in a 37-28 loss in 2011. As good as Salisbury was in 2012, West still registered a convincing 29-10 win in Mount Ulla.
In fact, West has owned the series so overwhelmingly in recent times that it now leads all-time 19-14. Salisbury once led the series 7-0. The first meeting of the schools was in 1968, and West didn’t break through in the series until it won 6-3 in overtime in 1980.
It’s interesting that the worst loss in Salisbury history (53-0) was to West in 1999, while the worst loss in West history (58-0) was to Salisbury in 1971. That wipeout of West came in the opening game of the school’s first season in which it was known as Salisbury rather than Boyden.
West’s offense has been pretty good, especially considering that it’s being led by a new quarterback, it has played two 4A teams, it’s had two offensive linemen out with injuries, and it has played all of one game and most of another without talented tailback Reddick.
West is averaging a county-best 328.5 yards per game, and Harrison Baucom, that new QB, is a surprising second in the county in total offense. Keyows Weeks is second in the county in rushing after his big second half against Davie, and Reddick could return to the lineup as soon as tonight.
West’s defense has posted very un-West-like numbers to this point and is allowing 31 points per game and 249 rushing yards per game.
Still, West’s ‘D’ could get well tonight against a Salisbury offense that is at the bottom of the county in scoring, rushing yards and total offense.
Salisbury’s defense has forced seven turnovers already, but that hasn’t been nearly enough to overcome the offensive woes.
2A North Rowan (2-0) at 3A Statesville (0-1)
If you’re thinking this an unusual matchup, you’re right. While the schools are only about 30 miles apart, the Greyhounds and Cavaliers haven’t showed up at the same place at the same time for a football game since 1966.
North and Statesville have met just three times, including 1958 and 1959, the first two years after North opened its doors. North managed an 18-18 tie with the Greyhounds in 1959. Statesville won the other two meetings.
Archie’s injury changes things for North and likely makes the Cavaliers one-dimension offensively, although running back JaReke Chambers is a pretty good dimension even if you know what’s coming. Chambers leads the county with five touchdowns and 244 rushing yards.
North’s defense has held up well against two 3A teams (East and Carson). North is allowing 15.5 points per game and is permitting only 65.5 passing yards per game. Big DB Kenyon Tatum has come up with three turnovers already.
Statesville lost on opening night to Hickory 25-21 after leading 21-0, and the Greyhounds, who had their bye week in Week 2, have had some exra time to fume over that game that got away.
Stateville has an explosive passing attack with sophomore Travis Ramseur throwing to 6-foot-5 tight end Jake Boulware, Amir Campbell, Brevin Renwick and Jaylen Williams. Ramseur also is a talented runner.
Statesville won 13 games last season and was a consensus preseason top-10 pick in 3A.
Statesville is competing in the 3A/4A Northern Piedmont Conference and is expected to battle Mooresville and South Iredell for the title.
3A Weddington (2-0) at 4A A.L. Brown (1-1)
This will be the first regular-season meeting between the schools.
They did meet in a second-round playoff game in 2011. The Wonders led all the way in that one at Memorial Stadium and won 41-20 despite 276 passing yards by Weddington.
It’s going to be tougher for the Wonders this time. Coming off a conference co-championship season under coach Tim Carson, Weddington has started with wins against Ardrey Kell and Forest Hills and is planning on a special season. Forest Hills is almost always stout, and Weddington had the Yellow Jackets buried 35-0 at halftime.
Weddington is a passing team and has playmakers in QB Jeff Welch and receiver Ryan Black. Weddington also has big linebacker Jack Ryan and 290-pound nose guard/offensive lineman Pete Morrison.
The Wonders got a breakout performance from Casey Walker (three TDs) and another good one from Johnny Delahoussaey (two receiving TDs) in rolling over South Rowan last week, but the Wonders have turned it over seven times in two games, including four interceptions. If they turn it over three or four times tonight their chances aren’t very good.
2A Lexington (0-2) at 4A Davie County (0-2)
Lexington leads the sereis 9-3, but Davie has won the last two.
Devore Holman’s first win as Davie head coach figures to come at home tonight.
Chuck Henderson is the new coach at Lexington, where there’s been a coaching carousel in recent seasons. He’s Lexington’s fourth head coach in five seasons.
Lexington does have plenty of athletes and put up some offensive numbers in last week’s 50-28 loss to Newton-Conover. Raekwon Byrd rushed for 153 yards to lead the Yellow Jackets.
Lexington QB Nick Shuping was injured in the Newton-Conover game, and his availability isn’t known. Byrd took the snaps after Shuping was hurt.
Lexington allowed 395 rushing yards last week, so it figures to have its hands full with awesome Davie bulldozer Cade Carney (194 yards vs. Lexington last season) and speedster Seth Dunn.
An 0-2 start isn’t cause for panic at Davie. As recently as 2011, Davie opened 0-2 but recovered to post an 8-4 record and grab a share of the Central Piedmont championship.