Prep Football Previews:
It’s Week 6, and it’s been a football season of extremes to this point.
South Rowan (0-4) and Salisbury (0-5) have yet to win, and their respective searches for victory No. 1 may last a while. Unfortunately, they don’t play each other this year.
Both have played brutal schedules, but you’d rather have Salisbury’s schedule the rest of the way than South’s. It’s not like the Raiders are awful, and they are entertaining on offense, but who are they going to beat in the SPC?
On the other end of the spectrum, North Rowan (5-0) is flying high as the state’s top-ranked 2A team. Jareke Chambers, who scored six TDs last week, is having a player of the year kind of season. Plus, the green and gold defense has been the county’s best.
North makes another long road trip tonight, this one south to Marshville Forest Hills, which is near Wingate.
West Rowan (3-1) has a blemish in non-conference, but the Falcons are at full strength now, and no one is going to enjoy playing them the rest of the way. West isn’t ranked because so many 3As are undefeated, but the Falcons look like a serious contender in the strong SPC and may be a factor in the state.
West is home against South Rowan tonight. In other words, South’s tough schedule gets a little tougher.
The teams that are middle-of-the-pack in Rowan play intriguing games. East Rowan (2-2) has pointed for tonight’s Concord game since last season’s fiercely contested playoff loss to the Spiders, but this one could fall into the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category. Concord is very good, so unless the Mustangs play their best game to date, they’re going to be disappointed again. Still, East has a good offense and a good defense and it has a chance.
At this point you’d pencil in East for 4-4 in the SPC. If the Mustangs, who planned to do better than that, seriously intend to do better, it has to start with an upset tonight.
Carson (2-2) faces an important non-conference game at Mount Pleasant. Do the Cougars keep the momentum from that emotional win over East rolling or do they have a road letdown against a well-coached, defensive-minded team? This one is going to be a scrap, but it’s vital that the Cougars move to 3-2 instead of 2-3 because they’ve got West Rowan, a program they’ve never come close to beating, roaring into China Grove next week.
Rowan’s 4A neighbors A.L. Brown and Davie start their league seasons tonight. It’s old hat for Davie, which has been 4A since the 1980s. It’s something new for the Wonders, who haven’t been 4A since 1988 and haven’t ever been in a Charlotte-based 4A league. Both are at home.
Salisbury takes a break. Hopefully, the wounded Hornets will be healthier when they return to live action on Oct. 4. If they don’t get healthier, well, at least it’s business as usual for SHS tennis, golf and soccer.
South Rowan (0-4, 0-2 SPC) at West Rowan (3-1, 1-0 SPC)
It’s homecoming at West.
The schools have played every year since 1989, and it’s been all Falcons in recent years. West has won 12 straight since the Raiders’ last victory in 2000. There hasn’t been a tight game since 2003. It’s been a record-setting 66-7, 52-12 and 44-12 the last three seasons. Even South’s strong 2009 team was shut down 28-0 by a state-championship West squad.
West coach Scott Young is 13-2 against South. South coach Jason Rollins is 0-7 against the Falcons.
West is rising in the area and county stats on both sides of the ball. West QB Harrison Baucom is second in the county in total offense, including 203 rushing yards. West tailback Daisean Reddick has scored five TDs in the two games he’s played.
South QB Aaron Kennerly leads the county passing stats with 691 yards. Derrick Blackwell (243 yards) sparks South’s running game.
West’s special teams, led by kicker Zack Russell and returners Tyler Kennedy and Raywkon Torrence, are excellent again and have been huge in their three-game winning streak.
Concord (4-0, 2-0 SPC) at East Rowan (2-2, 1-1 SPC)
WSTP-1490 will broadcast the game.
East, which owns a league road win at Cox Mill, comes off a tough home loss to Carson. Concord has taken care of business in league games against Hickory Ridge and South Rowan.
Concord’s dominance in this series has been overwhelming. The Spiders lead 36-3-1.
East won 23-22 against Concord in a 1969 playoff game on its way to 13-0 and the WNCHSAA championship. East also won 7-6 in 1979 and crushed the Spiders 30-0 in 2009. Maybe there’s something about 9s, but East doesn’t want to wait until 2019 before it beats the Spiders again.
Concord beat East twice last season, 42-20 in a non-conference game and 21-20 in overtime in the third round of the 3A state playoffs. The final moments of regulation in the playoff game one were controversial, to say the least, so this figures to be extra emotional.
East has played all season without star running back Calvin Edwards. Jake Boltz and Max Wall may not be Edwards, but they’ve been more than adequate as the ballcarriers in East’s veer offense.
QB Samuel Wyrick (520 passing yards) and his twin, WR Seth Wyrick (28 catches, 442 yards), are smart, skilled offensive players.
Dock Corpening and Austin Hill lead East’s defense as pass-rushers and run-stoppers. East’s defense is ranked second in the county stats.
Concord was a passing team the last four years with B.J. Beecher, but coach Glen Padgett relies on the run more now. Rocky Reid (849 rushing yards, 10 TDs) is the horse for the Spiders. Defensively, the players to watch are leading tackler Logan Sedergren (No. 2) and reigning SPC Defensive Player of the Year Jerry Burk (No. 44), a 230-pound linebacker.
Carson (2-2) at Mount Pleasant (2-2)
This is the first time the schools have played.
Carson has lost to North Rowan and Central Cabarrus. Both are ranked and unbeaten.
Mount Pleasant has beaten Robinson and Cox Mill. The Tigers lost to Central Cabarrus (13-0) and Concord (21-2), but it’s clear from those scores that MP coach Michael Johns, who was on the staff at East Rowan in the 1990s, has another good defense.
Carson found a way to win 32-28 against East last week with zero passing yards, but the Cougars will need at least some aerial success tonight from QB Austin McNeill if they’re going to win on the road against a team that figures to be stacking the box against the run.
Halfback Brandon Sloop (425 rushing yards) has been the key ballcarrier for coach Joe Pinyan’s team, and Tyler Reynolds (141 yards) has breakout potential.
Denzal Gilmore has rushed for 303 yards for the Tigers.
It’s expected to be a fast-moving, run-run-run game. Carson averages 60 passing yards per game. The Tigers average about 40.
North Rowan (5-0) at Forest Hills (1-4)
Forest Hills’ record isn’t much, but the Yellow Jackets have played good opposition. They’ve lost to Weddington, Anson. Piedmont and Pageland (S.C.), but they broke out last week with a 57-28 win against Cuthbertson.
The most dangerous guy for Forest Hills is dual-threat QB Jared Lee, who has thrown for 563 yards and rushed for 372. Against Cuthbertson, he threw for 160 yards and rushed for 167. He’s also the punter.
Forest Hills was 8-4 last season and is a perennially sound program that won a 2A state championship in 1984.
North has never played Forest Hills. This game came about because it’s difficult to find someone to play non-conference in Week 6 of the season. Most teams are involved in conference play at that point. North and Forest Hills both play in small, six-team 2A leagues, so their schedules were a match.
North will rely on QB Jareke Chambers, who has been terrific with 706 rushing yards and 473 passing yards. He’s run-first, but if teams play North exclusively to run, he can hurt them with his arm. Sakil Harrison is second in the county receiving stats with 19 catches for 312 yards and four TDs.
North is the county’s highest-scoring team (37.2 per game) and the county’s stingiest defensive team (16.8 ppg). That’s a good combination.
North Meck (2-2, 0-0 MECKA) at A.L. Brown (3-1, 0-0 MECKA)
The Wonders come off their bye week and play North Meck for the first time.
Brown owns wins against South Rowan, Berry and Weddington. The loss was to Concord on opening night.
North Meck’s Vikings are trying to rebound from a 2-9 year and have been win-lose-win-lose so far. The losses were to Independence and Myers Park. The wins were against Lake Norman and East Meck.
It’s worth noting that both of North Meck’s wins have come on the road.
North Meck is young, but it has good skill people in QB Nolan Beasley and RB William Santiago.
It’s been impossible to get a read on how good the Wonders are. They beat Weddington 7-0 with defense. Then they outscored Berry 45-39.
Reagan (3-2, 0-0 CPC) at Davie (2-3, 0-0 CPC)
It’s homecoming in Mocksville, as well as the CPC opener.
Davie’s Cade Carney has rushed for 707 yards and is usually unstoppable, but Reagan held Carney to a career-low 58 rushing yards in 2012 and figures to throw everything it has at him again.
Davie has easily won the two games in which QB Parker Correll enjoyed big passing games. In Davie’s three losses, he threw for 23, 31 and 23 yards.
That means Parker and big-play receiver Seth Dunn will be key guys tonight, especially if Reagan contains Carney.
Reagan is the best it’s ever been. The Raiders, who never have won the CPC, lost close games the last two weeks to East Forsyth (5-0)and Northwest Guilford (4-1).
Davie knows something about losing close games to good teams. It had the lead in the second half in losses to North Rowan, West Rowan and Page.
Davie is 4-0 all-time against Reagan, including a 28-7 victory in 2012.
It’s expected to be a 38-35 shootout. Reagan’s dazzling QB Jake Easter has been called a “Johnny Manziel type of player” by Reagan coach Josh McGee.