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2009 Football: West Rowan favorite in NPC

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
Lake Norman, Northwest Cabarrus and Mooresville vacated the North Piedmont Conference, turning a 10-team monster into a more conventional seven-team league.
Defending 3A champion West Rowan’s domination of the NPC has been so complete that the only realistic race this season is for second place.
Want numbers? We have numbers.
West Rowan has won four straight outright NPC championships and tied for the top spot with former league member A.L. Brown in 2004.
West Rowan has won 22 straight NPC road games. The Falcons have won 36 of 38 conference games the past five seasons, with one loss to West Iredell (by two) and one loss to A.L. Brown (by seven).
West has won 29 straight against Rowan opposition so none of the other three Rowan schools in the NPC have beaten the Falcons in a blue moon. West hasn’t lost to East since 1998 or to South since 2000. Obviously, West hasn’t lost to Carson in the Cougars’ three-year history.
The Falcons have won their last six against Statesville and their last six against North Iredell. They are 8-2 lifetime against West Iredell.
Enough said. On the other hand, the silver medal is up for grabs, and there are plenty of solid candidates.
South Rowan is the pick for runner-up honors here, even though the Raiders were mauled 56-7 the last time they ran into West Rowan.
South has talent and experience at the offensive skill positions and in the secondary. If some linemen come through on both sides of the ball, it’s not a stretch to see the Raiders edging West Iredell and Statesville, even though South’s history against Statesville is an ugly two wins and 12 losses.
West Iredell coach Mark Weycker always has a serious stud (or two). This year it’s P.J. Clyburn, a receiver/safety who is being checked out by everyone from Arkansas to North Carolina.
West Iredell has 12 starters back in green and gold, including seven on the offensive side of the ball, from a 7-5 team.
Sophomore Sayer Robinson is expected to be the quarterback, stepping in for departed star Quan Rucker. Soph QBs usually mean growing pains.
Statesville graduated a 30-man senior group that turned around the program, and a lot of those stalwarts were three-year starters.
Still, the Greyhounds have 20 seniors in uniform and 120 came out for football at a school where interest has been rekindled.
QB Tevin King will be one of the keys.
There’s no doubt Carson will have the best team it’s had so far. The Cougars won three games last year and were in five more. They played South and Statesville tough so they’ll be looking for breakthroughs against those two schools.
Carson has not been competitive against West Iredell. It has lost three games by a combined 111-17 to the Warriors.
East Rowan has to be better than last season, when it’s only win came early against North Rowan, but it looks like five schools in the league have more proven players and more firepower.
North Iredell lost 52-0 to South Rowan to close last season. That didn’t exactly build momentum for the offseason.
Shannon Ashley returns as coach. His team was 2-9 in 2008 with the wins coming at the expense of Carson and East Rowan.
Seven starters are back for NI, including linebacker Ben Haynes and defensive lineman Jay Sharpe.


2008 NPC standings

NPC Overall
West Rowan 9-0 15-1
Mooresville 7-2 9-4
Statesville 7-2 9-4
Lake Norman 5-4 7-5
West Iredell 5-4 7-5
South Rowan 5-4 5-7
NW Cabarrus 3-6 5-7
North Iredell 2-7 2-9
Carson 2-7 3-8
East Rowan 0-9 1-10

Conference changes
Out: NWC, Mooresville, L. Norman

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