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Common Sense gets kick out of making playoff picks

Common Sense received three e-mails about punting this week ó we’re not making this stuff up ó so let’s talk punters a bit before we kick around the playoff picks.
The Post does keep punting stats for each team, although they’re not broken down by individuals. The main reason is while we can routinely log in how many punts and for how many yards for which a team punted, it’s difficult to track punts that were blocked or “partially” blocked.
The statistical wrinkle is blocked punts count against a team but not an individual because a blocked punt is frequently the fault of the snap or the protection, not the punter. A punter shouldn’t be charged with a punt for zero yards if he gets a high snap.
Another thing to consider is punting average can be a misleading stat. A 40-yard punt into the end zone for a touchback lets an opponent start on its 20, but in punting averages that punt is rewarded more than a 38-yard boot that pinned an opponent on its 2-yard line.
Also not easily quantified is the 45-yard line-drive punt that is returned 20 yards. The 32-yard punt with hang time that forces someone to call for a fair catch is more valuable in reality, but not statistically.
During situations in which one individual has done all the punting for his team ó as is the case, we believe, with West Rowan’s Jon Crucitti and Salisbury’s Frankie Cardelle óand assuming no punts were blocked, our team stats and their individual stats will be identical.
In an era when many teams struggle to average 30 yards per punt, West has one of the highest averages in recent county history.
West isn’t forced to punt often, but it has booted 28 times for a solid 38.2 yard average. Salisbury, which hasn’t had to punt at all in three games, checks in with 22 punts for a 35.5 average.
Rowan’s other playoff team, South, has punted 42 times for a 31.1 average. South has employed at least two punters ó Preston Penninger and Dylan Walker.
Officially, the Post credits East’s Kim Arey as its all-time punting leader. Arey averaged 42.4 yards per kick in 1978.
West record-holder Brent Patterson averaged 41.6 yards in 2003 and has been the county’s best this century.
The county’s most famous punter, Tommy Barnhardt, who had a long pro career, averaged 41.5 yards for South in 1980.
Next on the all-time list is Rob Linder, who checked in at an even 41 yards per kick for Salisbury in 1984. We’ll also give Rob, now North Rowan’s baseball coach, credit for not kicking any bats or umpires last season.
South’s Anthony Bare (40.6 average in 1986) is the only other 40-plus punter in our record book.
The picks were 14-2 last week. Common Sense is 105-33 heading to the playoffs.
Looks like another rainy Friday, but if the buses leave Franklin at 11 a.m. for the 200-mile trip to Mount Ulla, they’re going to be playing football at West Rowan in almost any conditions.
The picks:
West Rowan 35, Franklin 7
Local comedians are picking West Rowan to win by the game-time temperature. It’s supposed to be in the 60s.
Salisbury 24, Pisgah 17
Big-time first-round game, but the Hornets’ team speed should prevail.
South Point 42, South Rowan 20
The 3A bracket is probably tougher than 3AA, and South Point is a team that can go all the way.
A.L. Brown 17, Lake Norman 7
The Wildcats will commit everyone to stopping the run, but Jamill Lott is throwing it pretty well right now.
Butler 27, Davie County 14Butler is a No. 5 seed? Not a perfect system.
Catholic 42, NW Cabarrus 14
Another Catholic-Brown battle is just down the road.
Mooresville 27, Sun Valley 21Home turf should help Devils.
Other games:4AA ó East Meck 21, West Forsyth 14
4A ó R.J. Reynolds 17, South Caldwell 10; A.C. Reynolds 28, North Davidson 7; Mount Tabor 35, Ashbrook 13
3AA ó Forestview 27, Marvin Ridge 13; Anson 35, St. Stephens 20
3A ó Statesville 17, Parkwood 14; Carver 28, West Iredell 7
2AA ó Ledford 21, Cardinal Gibbons 17; Orange 35, Central Davidson 7
2A ó Mountain Heritage 49, Providence Grove 7; Brevard 28, Lexington 25

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