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Prep football: Common Sense picks Cougars

Common Sense says the only year in the past 40 that five Rowan schools won at least five games was 1974.
That record was finally topped this year with all six schools, including newcomer Carson, reaching or surpassing the five-win plateau.
Of course, teams have a better chance of winning five now that they play 11. The regular season was 10 games until 1994.
Rowan has never had every team in the state playoffs ó not even the expanded, watered-down, hard-to-get-left-out-of state playoffs we’ve been blessed with since 2002. I guess that’s cause for a few celebratory six-packs of Sun Drop.
Always the voice of candor and reason, Common Sense says enjoy the fun while it lasts. A week from tonight, your favorite team probably will be done.
When that happens, you can purchase a reasonably priced West Rowan sweatshirt or bring last year’s out of the closet and start supporting K.P. and the Sunshine Band as they try to make it two state championships in a row.
Only the elite last past the second round of the playoffs. It remains to be seen if any Rowan squad other than West is elite. Salisbury and South are good. East, Carson and North aren’t bad. But is anyone elite?
Well, we’ll find out soon enough. Polls and power ratings mean zip now. Starting tonight, things get settled by the guys on the field and the guys on the sidelines.
The NCHSAA brackets appeared Saturday, and if this were the NCAA tournament, Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan and South coach Jason Rollins would be on TV growling to ESPN’s talking heads about that gosh-darned committee.
Neither South nor Salisbury was dealt much of a hand. First-round games that will be tussles. Second-round games, if they can get there, that will be somewhat harder than driving to Honolulu.
South would likely be required to return to West Rowan. That fits the Supreme Court’s definition of cruel and unusual punishment. On Sept. 25, the Raiders’ explosive offense was buried beneath a rockslide in Mount Ulla.
Salisbury would likely visit top-seeded Shelby. That’s not much of a reward for second place, either.
Then there’s North. The Cavaliers got no love at all from the 1AA West bracket.
There are better teams out there than Murphy, but no one is out there any further than Murphy is. If the Cavs actually find Murphy, and they’d better take hunting guides along, they may as well roll on to St. Louis to watch the Rams lose.
Carson and East Rowan don’t have to fret about mountains. As proud members of the 3A East bracket, they both have every opportunity to make the second round. At that point, they probably would be shipped off to Raleigh and New Bern, respectively.
Still, you’d rather be Carson or East than South. Common Sense says any bracket that takes you in the opposite direction of Mount Ulla is the right bracket to be in.
A.L. Brown is in the 3AA West bracket and could make a racket.
The Wonders don’t have to deal with West Rowan, which is good. The Wonders are looking at two home games, which is good.
What we don’t know is if the Wonders are elite or not. An elite team doesn’t lose at home to an arch-rival with a 4-6 record, but Brown did that last week.
Still, writing the Wonders off early can be a major mistake. (See A.L. Brown at West Rowan, 2005.)
As long as there are Ks on their green helmets, they have a chance against anybody.
As far as Davie, I’m at a loss for words. Hard to believe a team that lost to West Rowan 39-36 and beat Salisbury and Thomasville isn’t part of the expanded, watered-down, hard-to-get-left-out-of state playoffs.
Nothing the War Eagles can do except get mad and get even in 2010.
The picks remained mired in a 13-4 rut for the third straight week and are 115-22 for the season.
The picks:
Carson 26, Ledford 21Ledford lost 53-0 last week. To a great team, no doubt, but 53-0 is 53-0.
Carson has a chance to do something the other Rowan schools didn’t do, and that’s win its playoff debut. Never let it be said that Common Sense is not informative.
Playoff debuts:
n Salisbury: 1931, lost to Charlotte Central 26-0
n North: 1962, lost to Asheboro 20-0
n East: 1968, lost to Thomasville 25-21
n South: 1975, lost to North Davidson 15-11
n West: 1985, lost to Statesville 48-0
Murphy 21, North 12Cavs will be on the road about six hours one way. That’s serious home-field advantage.
West 38, Freedom 7
At least Freedom coach Mike Helms (he used to be at Northwest Cabarrus) knows what he’s facing.
East 21, S. Brunswick 15The Mustangs tend to make things nerve-wracking for their fans and coaches.
South 27, R-S Central 24
Raiders have been dynamite at home every time.
Salisbury 17, E. Burke 14
East Burke has lost only to elite teams, but the Hornets are due to win a big one at Ludwig Stadium.
A.L. Brown 35, Robinson 20
Familiar opponent. Should be a familiar result.
NW Cabarrus 17, Concord 14The Trojans won in a blowout at Concord in September, but it’s a much different Concord team now.

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