Previews: East vs. Carson matchup highlights tonight’s action
Prep previews for Week 5
CARSON (1-2, 0-1 SPC) at EAST ROWAN (2-1, 1-0 SPC)
GRANITE QUARRY — Ask 10 fans where the football game of the night will take place, and nine of them will tell you it’s Carson at East Rowan.
It’s a good, crowd-drawing rivalry in every sense. The schools are close in size, although Carson has about 100 more students. They’re neighbors. They’re in the same league (SPC). They’ve even taken turns winning, which is vital for a true rivalry.
The schools didn’t play in 2006 when Carson opened. Since then, the yearly winners have been East-Carson-East-Carson-Carson-East/East.
East trailed 3-2 in the all-time series before it won twice in 2012 in Danny Misenhiemer’s first year as head coach for a 4-3 lead. East whipped the Cougars 27-7 in the regular season and rolled 49-14 in the first round of the playoffs.
The only great game so far in the series was East’s 29-26 win in 2009 when both teams were good.
So what happens tonight? Well, no one knows for sure, not with Joe Pinyan, who was 8-2 coaching Salisbury teams against East, now guiding the Cougars.
Carson opened SPC play with a 45-24 road loss to Central Cabarrus. East opened SPC action with a 21-20 road win at Cox Mill.
Statistically, Carson ranks second in the county defensive stats, while East is third. Probably that means a low-scoring game in the 21-17 range.
Both teams like to run the ball with option offenses and both like those 5 yards at a clip drives that chew clock.
The key offensive players figure to be East junior QB Samuel Wyrick, third in the county in passing with 110.3 yards per game, and Carson junior running back Brandon Sloop, third in the county in rushing with 314 yards.
East stopped Sloop (38 yards) in the regular-season game last season, but he had 140 yards in the playoff game.
East put up 244 and 234 rushing yards in the two games with the Cougars last year, Wyrick had productive passing games in both contests. He threw a career-best four TD passes in the playoff meeting with Carson, with two going to his brother Seth.
It’s an early homecoming game for East. Carson hasn’t even had a home game.
A food drive will be part of the night, with non-perishable items collected for distribution to needy students at the elementary schools that feed East and Carson.
NW CABARRUS (3-0, 1-0 SPC) at WEST ROWAN (2-1, 0-0 SPC)
Who’s fifth in the SPC?
Well, West Rowan is, but it’s a trick question. West had its bye last week, while the other eight SPC schools started conference play.
Obviously, four teams won, Northwest was one of those winners, beating South Rowan 35-25. The Trojans were impressive in the first half, but not so much in the second.
Northwest coach Rich Williams acknowledged after the South game that the Trojans will have to play a lot with more consistency to have a chance against West.
“Everyone is spreading it out more and more now on offense,” Williams said. “But West is so big and so physical, they can still come right at you.”
West figures to be coming at Northwest with two nearly healthy tailbacks. Daisean Reddick should return for his first action since opening night. He scored two first-quarter TDs vs. Mooresville before he went down. Keyows Weeks has filled in admirably with 352 rushing yards and will continue to get carries.
The surprise for West has been junior QB Harrison Baucom, second in the county with 147.7 passing yards per game. Baucom has been so productive, that even with just one quarter from Reddick, West leads the county offensive stats with 386 yards per game.
NWC has some fine athletes, notably QB Brandon White and RB Armon Dooley. Dooley carried 26 times for 182 yards against South.
West’s defense struggled some in its first two games, but it shut out Salisbury in its most recent outing.
West leads the series 16-7. West coach Scott Young is 10-4 against the Trojans. West hasn’t lost to the Trojans since 2002.
SOUTH ROWAN (0-3, 0-1 SPC) at CONCORD (3-0, 1-0 SPC)
The 3A runner-up last season, Concord has beaten A.L. Brown, Mount Pleasant and Hickory Ridge and is ranked eighth in 3A.
While South was losing 35-25 to Northwest Cabarrus in its SPC opener, the Spiders were outscoring Hickory Ridge 51-27.
Concord has thrown only 29 times in three games, but two QBs have thrown efficiently for 344 yards, three TDs and no picks.
Rocky Reid, who has rushed 74 times for 633 yards and scored nine TDs has done most of the damage for coach Glen Padgett’s team.
Concord beat A.L. Brown and A.L. Brown thumped South 41-6, so South’s chances of an upset aren’t great.
South junior QB Aaron Kennerly leads county passers with 181.3 yards per game and threw for 210 yards last week. Dominique Bost rushed for 149 yards last week.
Defensively, South is allowing nearly 400 yards per game, so the Raiders will be hard-pressed to stop Concord.
South leads the all-time series 10-9-1 because it went 7-1 against the Spiders from 1977-84. The schools have not met since 1984.
Concord’s last win against South was in 1983. The series goes all the way back to 1961 when South opened.
2A SALISBURY (0-4) at 3A SOUTH IREDELL (2-1, 0-0 SPC)
Defending 2AA state champ South Iredell has moved up to 3A. The Vikings have whipped South Rowan and Starmount and edged Hickory.
Theoretically, this is a rematch of the classic 2AA West final between the schools last season that the Vikings won 35-28.
But while South Iredell is still strong, the Hornets are hurting.
Salisbury is expected to be missing 10 starters for various reasons tonight, including QB Riley Myers. Linebacker Donnell Alexander might be the QB.
Salisbury is last in the county offensive and defensive stats.
Salisbury leads the series 2-1. The Hornets beat South Iredell in 2003 and 2004.
2A NORTH ROWAN (4-0) at 2A PROVIDENCE GROVE (1-3)
Providence Grove is somewhere near Climax and Franklinville in rural Randolph County, and those communities are somewhere near Ramseur. Assuming the Cavaliers can find the school — they should win.
North’s string of nice wins has put it at the top of all the 2A polls. Providence Grove got its first win last week against Southwestern Randolph.
Providence Grove, which lists 28 players on the roster, lost 36-3 to CCC team East Davidson, so this game doesn’t figure to be close long.
North leads Rowan in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense. QB Jareke Chambers leads the county in total offense (216 yards per game) and scoring (50 points). Sakil Harrison has caught four TD passes.
Providence Grove leads the all-time series 1-0. The Patriots beat North 15-12 in Spencer in 2008, the year Providence Grove opened. That was a year North lost every game on the field.
2A THOMASVILLE (1-2) at 4A DAVIE COUNTY (1-3)
Davie romped 35-0 in 2012 with Cade Carney rushing for 166 yards, but the Bulldogs still lead the all-time series 14-5. Thomasville’s last win was in 2010.
Carney has been terrific as a sophomore (two TDs in four straight games), but Davie has lost hard-fought games mostly because of special-teams issues.
Thomasville is off to its annual slow start against a tough schedule, but the Bulldogs always seem to be good at the end.