2009 Football: Thomasville the team to beat in CCC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

By Mike London
It’s a new-look, six-team Central Carolina Conference.
Longtime members Ledford and North Rowan have moved on. So has Providence Grove, which made a cameo appearance last season.
The lone newcomer in 2009 is Thomasville, making for a league that is compact geographically and impressive in talent. At least four teams should be very good. The other two are optimistic.
Thomasville has lost exactly one game during the past four seasons and is a staggering and swaggering 114-15 since 2000 so it’s not hard to pick a favorite in the race.
Thomasville is moving up in classification after a dominating run in 1A that included a 2008 1AA title, its fourth in five years. Thomasville plays 4A Davie annually and usually wins. Thomasville also scrimmages 3A power West Rowan every preseason and holds its own. Sometimes it more than holds its own.
Thomasville hasn’t been in 2A since it was a CCC member in the 1996-97 school year. It will meet Salisbury on a football field for the first time since 1995 when the Bulldogs derailed an undefeated SHS team in a memorable, third-round playoff matchup.
Thomasville, coached by veteran Allen Brown, has holes to fill, but it apparently will fill a big one with junior quarterback Sam Nelson, a transfer from East Davidson.
Lawrence Thomas could become the go-to back for a program that always likes to make a physical statement with its ground game.
Salisbury, which has exceptional skill people in blazer Romar Morris and smart QB John Knox, gets the nod for second place. The Hornets were saddled with four forfeits late last season, but on the field they were only seriously challenged in the CCC by Lexington and West Davidson.
West Davidson won nine games and is the defending CCC champ. The Green Dragons return lots of linemen but lost standout receivers Jon Jarvis and Jordan Hudson.
Defensive end Njeal Stephen is a horse to build around, and coach Dale Barnes usually gets the most out of his troops. Salisbury had its hands full in Tyro last season.
Lexington faces life without standout quarterback Teland Todd and running back Chris Bush, but Coach of the Year Chris Deal’s program turned the corner with eight wins in 2008. It was Lexington’s first winning season since 2004.
New quarterback Al Challenger led Lexington’s jayvees to nine wins last season. Safety Stedman Stevenson is a great athlete. Rod Carter is an anchor on the O-line.
Everything’s new at Central Davidson, including head coach Mark Hoover (defensive coordinator at West Forsyth last season) and his unusual Wing-T offense.
Quarterback Kirk Brown, son of former East Rowan standout, Billy Brown, threw nearly 300 times last season, but the Spartans will run more in 2009.
All-CCC receiver Brett Woodard was moved to the backfield right away, a pretty good indicator the Spartans are changing their offensive philosophy.
East Davidson will be led by quarterback Taylor Warren and running back Dylan Gallimore, but the Golden Eagles, 3-8 last season, have worries about both lines.
The Golden Eagles have had only one winning season since 2000 and CCC wins will be tough to come by in 2009.

2008 CCC standings

CCC Overall
West Davidson 6-1 9-4
Lexington 5-2 8-5
Ledford 5-2 8-4
East Davidson 3-4 3-8
Central Davidson 3-4 5-7
Salisbury 3-4 7-5
Providence Grove 2-5 5-7
North Rowan 1-6 1-10

Conference changes
In: Thomasville
Out: N. Rowan, Ledford, P. Grove