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Friday Football Fever: Ronnie’s roaming the county

This is the week South Rowan’s football team definitely needs to step up.
It doesn’t matter that the Raiders are much improved from last year. We all know that. Until it translates into wins, talk is cheap.
A few weeks ago, South played like gangbusters, beating an undefeated Northwest Cabarrus team. Just when we were ready to say that win was a program-turner, the Raiders made eight turnovers the following week and lost a game they should’ve won at Statesville. The next Friday, they blocked a field goal in the final seconds only to see the West Iredell holder pick up the loose ball and throw a touchdown pass to win the game. Now, we’re back to Step 1.
South beat Carson 15-6 last week. Tonight, it will be favored to beat East Rowan. Next week, it will be favored to beat Lake Norman.
If that scenario plays out, it would amount to a three-game win streak, a 4-4 overall record and some very-much needed self-pride in Landis.
“I think the fans feel it,” Raider coach Jason Rollins said. “I see the kids feeling it. They see the momentum changing.”

Rollins wants to win ó and win often ó for South’s long-suffering followers.
“We have a lot of loyal fans here,” he said. “You can go all over Rowan County, but you come to South and you’re going to have those consistent numbers. You pick up some when you win and drop some when you lose. But they do support these kids.”
And they’ll be there tonight when South plays host to East Rowan.

Rollins isn’t looking ahead as far as that predicted three-game win streak.
“We take it one week at a time,” he said. “We know this week is East Rowan and we focus on those guys. Ben DeCelle is a great athlete.”
Rollins then said East, not Carson, is the team many of his fans get more fired up for.
“A lot of people consider this to be an even bigger rivalry than Carson-South Rowan,” he said, “because there is so much more tradition there.”

Last week, the household of South principal Don Knox was kinda split. His wife, Jennifer, teaches at Carson.
This week, it’s the Rollins’ home. His wife, Stacey, works at East Rowan.

One more East note: Long-time athletic director Worth Roberts is resigning. His replacement as AD is a familiar name: Gina Talbert.
Talbert’s sister, Laurie, is the Mustang tennis coach. So expect brand new tennis uniforms bought and a brand new tennis facility built any day now.
Just kidding.

The South coaches used the wacky West Iredell ending to motivate the players in the win at Carson.
“We wanted them to imagine Carson was West Iredell,” Rollins explained. “We told them, ‘We’re going to finish what we started. They unleashed that on them.”

It gets no easier for Carson when the Cougars travel to the NPC’s perennial top dog West Rowan.
West will be going for its 27th straight county win.
“It’s another conference game above all else,” West coach Scott Young said. “It’s not the same old Carson. They’re vastly improved.”
Carson has won three games this season after going 0-for-22 in its first two years.
“It will be a challenge,” Young said.

Salisbury and North Rowan are both headed to Barbecue Country.
Salisbury, the county’s only undefeated team (6-0) travels to nemesis West Davidson, a team that has the Hornets’ number.
North could get its first win tonight when it goes to Lake Road for a matchup against East Davidson.
Davie County is at home for the Battle of the Yadkin, meeting arch-rival West Forsyth, which is located just across the river in Clemmons.

On the air tonight:
– The dynamic duo of Howard Platt and Wilson Cherry will call the Carson-West game over WSTP 1490 AM.
– WSAT 1280 AM will have its usual group of reporters at all the games, giving updates.
– The politician, Carl Ford, will team up with the coach, Bob Parker, to bring us South’s game against East on WRNA 1140 AM.
– The velvet-voiced Randy Whitley and former A.L. Brown coach Buddy Amerson have the night off on WRKB 1460 AM. The Wonders have a bye.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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