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Common Sense: Don't play East Rowan in overtime

Common Sense says no one wants to go into overtime with East Rowan’s football team.
The Mustangs, who topped South Brunswick 14-11 in overtime in the first round of the 3A playoffs, have defied all odds by winning their last eight overtime games.
East has gone two decades without losing in OT.
Its most recent overtime prior to last Friday was a 21-20 verdict at North Stanly in 2006.
In 2001, East won a pair of mind-boggling OT games, topping Northwest Cabarrus 43-42 and beating North Iredell 38-35 in three OTs.
Other OT victories by the Mustangs in the streak came in 1996 (Parkwood), 1992 (Salisbury), 1991 (Statesville) and 1990 (Salisbury). The 35-34 victory against Statesville in the first round of the playoffs was the only time prior to last week’s excitement that East had gone to overtime in a postseason game.
To find the last time East lost an OT contest, you have to go all the way back to a 22-21 setback against North Stanly in 1989.
A deadlock at the end of regulation was an acceptable result even in conference games before the implementation of provisions for overtime periods in the 1970s. Eight East games have officially ended in draws since the school opened in 1959.
East’s first official overtime contest was a 14-6 victory against Northwest Cabarrus in 1977. East lost to the Trojans in OT in 1978.
East’s 1979 team set the bar high when it came to extra football, playing three OTs in a span of six weeks and winning twice.
The Mustangs beat South Rowan and Forest Hills. They also played overtime with NWC for the third straight year but lost.
East is 11-3 all-time in overtime.
South (6-6), North (6-6) and Salisbury (8-8) have all split their overtime games, which is exactly the ratio that should be expected.
Carson hasn’t had one yet.
The school that’s had little luck in overtime is West Rowan.
The Falcons are 4-8 in overtime games, and they broke a four-game OT losing streak when they beat Lake Norman in double overtime in 2008. That victory ended an 18-year drought for West as far as winning a game that went past regulation.
The picks were 6-2 last week, fumbling South’s loss to R-S Central and Northwest’s setback to Concord. For the season, Common Sense is a struggling 127-26.
Only West is favored tonight among the Rowan schools, but Common Sense has a gut feeling there will be an upset in Shelby.
The picks:
Havelock 27, E. Rowan 14
If it goes to overtime, Havelock is in real trouble, but can get the Mustangs get there?
Havelock has been an offensive machine all season, putting up at least 21 points every game. The Rams’ only loss was 36-28 to Kinston on Sept. 18.
The unknown here is the severity of an injury to Havelock QB Danny Webster, one of the state’s best juniors. Webster strained his knee in Havelock’s first-round victory Monday, and it will be a quick turnaround for him.
Webster is a high school version of Tim Tebow. He went 15-for-16 passing on for 196 yards and rushed for 89 yards on Monday. He also plays safety and is the Rams’ punter.
West 35, R-S Central 14
R-S Central beat South Rowan with its old-school buck sweeps last week, but West has allowed 100 rushing yards just once in its last eight games.
Not that R-S Central isn’t pretty good. Probably good enough to keep K.P. Parks on the field for four quarters. West hasn’t needed a complete game from Parks since September.
Gibbons 21, Carson 14
The Cougars are on the road facing a No. 1 seed.
Ordinarily that’s an automatic season-ender, but Cardinal Gibbons’ 11-1 record has been fashioned against a schedule softer than marshmallows.
It’s likely there are several teams in the 3A East bracket better than Gibbons.
This is winnable for the Cougars if they avoid turnovers.
Salisbury 17, Shelby 14Shapes up as a great matchup. While Shelby is 11-1, the disparity in the teams’ records reflects the more challenging schedule played by the Hornets (8-4).
Salisbury has a slightly more potent offense. Shelby has a slightly stouter defense. It’ll be low-scoring, physical and athletic.
A.L. Brown 35, Erwin 28Erwin likes to throw it and can throw it, and Brown’s pass defense has allowed 140-plus passing yards five times.
The good news for the Wonders is Erwin has struggled to stop physical running attacks. The Warriors may see Travis Riley coming at them 30 times.

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