Prep football: Common Sense picks
Common Sense says if you call your out-of-town friends and tell them there’s a big South Rowan-East Rowan game tonight, they’ll think you’re talking fall baseball.
But as Mr. Shakespeare once penned, “The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on.” In this case, two fed-up-with-losing worms have turned it around in football simultaneously.
South and East dwell 24 hours a day in the massive shadow cast by the Mount Ulla Monster, but they are nonetheless enjoying magnificent seasons.
Both are 8-2.
It’s easy to see how South jumped from 5-7 to 8-2. Talent and speed are commodities the Raiders have in more abundant quantities than they usually have them. They’ve got a killer senior class reinforced by former East running back Thomas Lowe, a 1,000-yard guy.
South beats people’s brains out with firepower. Two really good backs. One really good receiver. One really good QB who can run it or throw it. Plus one really, really good middle linebacker.
The Raiders beat themselves at Northwest Cabarrus. Other than that, only West has stopped them.
East has made the quantum leap from 1-10 to 8-2 through means that can’t be detected by the naked eye. Pick any adjective you like from a list that includes tenacious, spunky, plucky, gritty, gutty and dauntless. The Mustangs are Team Intestinal Fortitude. They have moxie.
East is methodical, but it has shown the priceless ability to execute in the fourth quarter of close games.
People who don’t care for East simply believe they have been that five-letter word that rhymes with plucky. But that doesn’t completely explain 8-2.
Common Sense says tonight’s meeting for the NPC silver medal is the biggest East-South game there’s ever been. There’s been only one other season in which both were strong at the same time.
That was in 1975, and when they squared off in Week 2 they were headed in opposite directions. East was near the end of its glory days under W.A. Cline. South was emerging as a power under Reid Bradshaw. South won 28-20.
East finished the 1975 season 6-4 and wouldn’t enjoy another winning season until 1991. South finished 8-3 and wouldn’t suffer a losing season until 1990.
The 16 combined wins by South and East are the most they’ve ever accumulated. If my math is correct, it will be 17 after tonight. The previous record for combined wins by these schools was 14 in 1975 and 1996.
As recently as 2005, South and East met in the Lump of Coal Bowl, an event known to some by an even less flattering name that calls to mind bathroom fixtures. Both entered that game 0-9. Both endured more than their share of jabs and jibes.
One of the few things Shakespeare didn’t write was “Every dog has his day,” but that old proverb is fitting in this instance.
The worms have turned.
Tonight’s winner will be 9-2, barking loudly and getting ready to host a home playoff game next week.
Who should win?
South beat Statesville 76-22. East beat Statesville 31-27. South beat Salisbury. Salisbury hammered East.
Put it this way. So far no one’s accused East of running it up on anybody.
Who will win?
If the Raiders lay it on the ground a few times, it’ll get interesting.
It’s possible South jumps out early, throws East’s conservative gameplan right out the window and wins by 30.
But it’s also possible East hangs in there. And if the Mustangs are still hanging in there in the fourth quarter, who knows? They haven’t lost one of those yet.
The picks struggled to 13-4 last week with a rough night in the SPC. The overall record is 102-18.
South 28, East 17
X-factor is Lowe. Every Mustang will be emotional playing against him. Can he give the Raiders the same energy he’s had the last month or so?
West 56, N. Iredell 0Advice to North Iredell: punt on first down.
Salisbury 38, E. Davidson 7Hornets have breezed through the little ones. All the big ones have gotten away so far, but that could change in the playoffs. Despite four losses, SHS is one heck of a 2A team.
North 32, S. Davidson 6
Should be four more fumble recoveries for Javon Hargrave. Plus eight sacks and three picks. He’s too good for that league, folks.
A.L. Brown 42, Concord 21The pregame talk has been about Concord QB B.J. Beecher. The postgame talk will be about Wonder tailback Travis Riley.
Davie 21, N. Davidson 14The War Eagles own the Black Knights, and Davie really needs this one.
NPC: W. Iredell 28, Statesville 14
CCC: W. Davidson 17, C. Davidson 14; Thomasville 42, Lexington 12
SPC: Mt. Pleasant 27, Central Cabarrus 7; NW Cabarrus 35, Cox Mill 7; Robinson 35, Hickory Ridge 24
CPC: Reynolds 42, Reagan 7; Mount Tabor 24, W. Forsyth 21
YVC: Albemarle 41, S. Stanly 20; W. Montgomery 48, E. Montgomery 13; Chatham Central 26, North Moore 20