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Gallagher Column: A battle of 8-2 teams tonight

Roaming the county getting ready for tonight …
There were a lot of people expecting a letdown from East Rowan last week when the Mustangs played at last-place North Iredell.
East entered that contest 7-2 but was coming off a 41-7 beatdown to undefeated West Rowan.
East coach Brian Hinson wasn’t especially happy with the way his team played, but it did win 21-9. He didn’t consider it a letdown, either. His players were going for their eighth win, something that hasn’t happened much in Granite Quarry.
“We were in uncharted territory,” Hinson said. “It has been a while since they won eight football games here. I don’t know if they know how to carry themselves as an eight-win team.”
With a smile, he added, “But it is a testament to the hard work they’ve put in.”
Know who is carrying itself as an eight-win team? South Rowan, East’s opponent tonight.
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To have South and East both standing 8-2 and playing (at East) in the last week of the regular season is perfect. Hinson says South is his school’s biggest rival, not West Rowan.
“I don’t think West is because we haven’t beaten them in so long,” Hinson said. “But South Rowan, there’s a lot of rivalry right there between the schools. It will be big for these kids.”
Jason Rollins’ South team is fulfilling its preseason promise.
“Jason’s done a great job,” Hinson said. “He has one of those special (senior) classes.”
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Know what’s special at East? That humongous crowd that always shows ó win, lose or draw. And Hinson expects the Quad Cities to pack ’em in tonight.
The Quad Cities?
“Granite Quarry, Rockwell, Faith and Gold Hill,” Hinson chuckled. “These fans will support us. It’s something the kids are excited about.”
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It’s a wonder Hinson hasn’t had a nervous breakdown. His team is the master of drama, winning five of the eight games by scores of 7-0, 28-22, 17-14, 29-26 and 31-27. Even last week, the North Iredell win wasn’t wrapped up until late in the fourth quarter.
“Everybody likes to watch it,” Hinson said, “and it makes for good entertainment. But it’s giving me too many gray hairs and my blood pressure is going through the roof.”
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And then there’s the very best team in the county, West Rowan, which goes for an undefeated regular season at North Iredell.
West coach Scott Young said he noticed on film that North plays better in the first half than the second.
“I feel we have to go up there and play well in the first half,” Young said. “We have to impose our will the best we can.”
K.P. Parks heads into tonight with 9,529 career rushing yards. Wonder what the over-under is on his yardage?
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Like East, Salisbury has to bounce back from a loss to Thomasville that probably sewed up the CCC title for the Bulldogs.
Expect the Hornets to rebound on senior night against East Davidson. One thing about Joe Pinyan. He’s a motivator, and those kids love him. And he wants those seniors to go out with a bang.
And they want to win for him.
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Don’t forget the Bell Game in Kannapolis as A.L. Brown takes on Concord, winner of four straight since B.J. Beecher took over at quarterback.
Tommy’s little brother should test the Wonders secondary.
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The only county loser tonight should be in the East-South game. North Rowan will have no problem with South Davidson, whose wins are against three of the worst teams in the state: Chatham Central, North Moore and Wheatmore.
For the record, those three have a combined 1-28 record.
It will be two wins after tonight. Chatham Central (1-9) faces North Moore (0-10).
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On the air tonight …
n On the WSTP Platt-form, Hall of Famer Howard Platt and sidekick Wilson “Don’t call me Wild” Cherry will be calling Pinyan’s game at Salisbury on 1490-AM.
– Mark, Johnny and the boys will bring us the weekly updates and radio cut-ins on WSAT 1280-AM.
– The Commissioner of high school football, Carl Ford, and The Coach, Bob Parker, will call South’s game at East.
Go to a game tonight, folks. And be nice.

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