Common Sense says Salisbury-South Rowan game a tough one to pick

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 22, 2008

While tonight’s North Rowan-West Rowan matchup in Mount Ulla is getting the attention because of West’s long county streak and North’s coaching change, if you’re a neutral fan looking for excitement, try historic Ludwig Stadium, where Salisbury is entertaining South Rowan.
Every human who isn’t related to one of the Cavaliers or coaching them is picking West over North, but opinion on South-Salisbury is split down the middle.
A.L. Brown opens at Central Cabarrus, a school it has never lost to, while Davie County entertains Watauga, a school coming off a super playoff run.
Davie will tackle Thomasville, West Rowan and Providence Day in addition to Watauga. It’s a wonder the War Eagles couldn’t fit A.L. Brown into that ambitious schedule.
Carson and East Rowan get started Aug. 29, so they’ll have an opportunity to scout North Rowan and Salisbury, respectively, tonight.
West 35, North 7
West’s winning streak against Rowan opponents stands at 25 in a row.
Not that we’re keeping track or anything, but West has won by an average score of 39-10 in those 25 games.
West recently got a scare from Salisbury (23-13 in 2006), but only two games in the streak have been decided by a TD or less. West beat South 15-9 in 2002 and 42-39 in 2003.
Besides North, the Falcons will take on NPC foes Carson, South and East, so they could get to 29 by season’s end. If it happens, they can challenge the county record in 2009.
Boyden and Salisbury teams, mostly under coach Pete Stout, played 33 straight games against county opponents without a loss in a stretch from 1965-77.
Stout, a Salisbury-Rowan Hall of Famer, coached 10 years without losing to a county opponent.
Put a tiny asterisk in there, though. Teams in that era didn’t play a deciding overtime period, so deadlocks at the end of regulation were officially ties. Stout’s teams tied North Rowan in 1966 and 1970, so the record during the 33 games without a loss was 31-0-2.
North finally snapped the streak in 1977, when a Larry Thomason-coached team shocked the Hornets, who were being piloted by Ray Wilson. North’s QB in the streak-ender was Bobby Myers, who is now on the staff.
North also was the county team that most recently beat West. That was in 2001.
That season was interesting for the Cavaliers, who coughed up seven turnovers and got waxed 47-19 by South Rowan opening night. But they bounced back to beat A.L. Brown and West the next two weeks.
Fleet QB Alfonzo Miller orchestrated the victories over the Wonders and Falcons with 371 passing yards and 228 rushing yards.
Salisbury 21, South 20
South is talented and could leave town 1-0, but the Raiders have to prove to Common Sense that they’re ready to win against a program that has grown accustomed to winning.
South has some serious athletes. Cadarreus Mason, who wears No. 34, is a scary defensive end who could spend a lot of time in Salisbury’s backfield.
We may view this game someday as a program-turner for South, but it doesn’t make much sense to pick the Raiders when Salisbury is 41-12 the past four seasons (including 4-0 against South) while the Raiders are 13-32 in that span.
Salisbury also has home field, and then there’s the fact that coach Joe Pinyan has never lost an opener.
South last won an opening game when it beat A.L. Brown in overtime in 2003.
A.L. Brown 28, C. Cabarrus 14
The Wonders have a history of slow starts, but they should make it 20 straight victories against the Vikings, who are coached by former Wonder Glen Cook.
Davie 34, Watauga 17
Davie surprisingly flattened Watauga in Boone last year, so Common Sense is convinced the War Eagles should handle the Pioneers in Mocksville.
Bullish back James Mayfield steamrolled Watauga in 2007 and could bash for 200 yards behind an improved offensive line.
Other games: Robinson 17, NW Cabarrus 14; Mooresville 27, Bandys 13; West Davidson 34, East Wilkes 14.