Friday Football Fever: Falcons, Wonders ready for tough foes tonight
Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2008
By Mike London
West Rowan practiced on Thanksgiving, fulfilling the fourth of five goals it marked on the greaseboard prior to this football season.
“First off, you always set the goal to have a winning season,” West coach Scott Young said.
“No. 2 for us is to win all our county games. We did that. No. 3 is to win the conference championship. We did that. No. 4 is to practice on Thanksgiving because that means you’ve had a really good year. And then there’s No. 5.”
Young didn’t elaborate on West’s fifth goal, but achieving that one would mean celebrating a 3A state championship at Wake Forest’s BB&T Field on Dec. 13.
West, which plays host to Winston-Salem Carver tonight at 7:30 p.m, is two wins and a million miles from BB&T Field.
Only the big boys are left after two playoff rounds thinned the 3A West bracket to No. 6 seed Asheville, No. 2 Belmont South Point, No. 4 Carver and the top-seeded Falcons.
South Point has a great offensive system. Asheville and Carver have excellent team speed. West has tailback K.P. Parks and a toughness that has allowed it to dominate Rowan County and the NPC for a long time.
Parks added to his legend in a 27-14 victory against Statesville last week. On two good legs, the junior often gets four touchdowns, and he got two last week on one wheel after suffering a sprained ankle in the opening minutes.
Parks has rushed 321 times for 2,441 yards and scored 37 touchdowns to spearhead the highest-scoring squad in school and modern county history.
Parks is closing in on the county single-season rushing record of 2,536 yards he set as a sophomore.
Parks definitely will play. How close he’ll be to 100 percent is the million-dollar question.
West is banged-up in another half-dozen key spots, but there’s no doubt three hurting offensive linemen will take the field to clear the way for Parks one more time.
Quarterback B.J. Sherrill, who makes big plays in the passing game against teams keying on Parks, looked recovered from his bout with turf toe last week. Leading receiver Brantley Horton made three catches against Statesville and showed he can still be a factor with a broken hand.
The marquee guy on a stout West defense is end Chris Smith. He gets lots of help from tackle Kenderic Dunlap, linebacker Nate Dulin and nose Eli Goodson.
West has four pitched shutouts, limited nine opponents to single-digit scores and permitted only two teams to rush for 100 yards.
West (12-1) has won 11 in a row since losing to Davie County, and it seeks to advance past the third round for the first time. The Falcons lost to Mooresville in the third round in 2000 and to A.L. Brown in 2005.
Carver (11-2) lost 20-13 to unbeaten Greensboro Dudley in August, but the Yellow Jackets have won their last 12 on the field. They forfeited a victory against West Forsyth.
Carver, which is built on defense, has a more aggressive, attacking unit than the Falcons have seen this year.
The Yellow Jackets have allowed 11.9 points a game while playing a great schedule. They’ve allowed as many as 20 points only twice and have given up very few sustained drives.
Defensive ends Kenny Uqdah and C.J. Hill are Carver’s answer to West Rowan’s Smith. They have combined for 51 sacks, and defensive back Dominique Tate has committed to Wake Forest.
Sixteen miles from the Mount Ulla countryside, A.L. Brown also practiced on Thanksgiving.
The Wonders, who travel to top-seeded Charlotte Catholic tonight for a 3AA playoff game, are healthy compared to West and motivated as they’ve ever been.
No. 4 seed Brown (11-2) has ended its last three seasons with a loss to Catholic ó 28-3 and 36-21 on the road as well as 19-14 at home.
Catholic has bee Ole Yeller for the Wonders. Lots of tears.
Catholic was clearly the better team in 2005, when it won a state championship. The teams looked even in 2006. Brown may have been a bit better last year when it let one slip away against the state runner-up Cougars.
Brown is the faster team.
Catholic’s athletes, with the exception of Shrine Bowl tight end/linebacker Tucker Windle, aren’t overwhelming. They are very good, and the Cougars have a proven system. Legendary coach Jim Oddo plugs new guys into his Wing-T offense every year and keeps rolling.
Top-seeded Catholic (11-2) lost early to South Meck and Charlotte Country Day, but it has won its last 10.
Catholic is balanced offensively. Backs Joe Felts and Jadarius Bruce have combined for 33 TDs, and Danny Reyes has thrown 18 touchdown passes.
Quarterback Jamill Lott makes the Wonders’ offense go. He’s thrown for 1,496 yards and 18 TDs while rushing for 902 yards and 10 scores.
Brown’s defense has more playmakers than it’s had in a while, and Lott’s legs make the Wonders tougher to defend than they’ve been in recent years.
The Wonders have won their last eight ó some ugly, but some pretty.
The winner gets the Anson-Kings Mountain survivor in the West final. Both Kings Mountain and Anson, which beat A.L. Brown 35-28, are 10-3.
THE PICKSCommon Sense was 7-1 last week and is 128-38 for the season.
We’ll stick with the Falcons and Wonders this week. Both are due.
West is due to get past this round. Brown is due to beat Catholic.
Let’s go West 14, Carver 7 and Brown 24, Catholic 17.