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Gallagher: Let’s not forget South Rowan

Roaming the county getting ready for tonight …
As four of the six county teams move on in the state playoffs, let’s not forget one of the teams that isn’t.
South Rowan deserves some kudos.
We took basketball photos at South on Wednesday and there were so many of those kids who wanted to still be wearing pads. You felt for them.
Head coach Jason Rollins sure did, but he is showing why he’s the leader of that program. He keeps reminding them of what they accomplished, not the 28-21 loss to R-S Central last week in Round 1.
“Our kids were disappointed,” Rollins said. “I told them, ‘You didn’t win that ballgame, but you have to look at the positives.’ ”
There were plenty of them.
“We beat a good Kannapolis team and we beat a good Salisbury team,” Rollins said. “We finished second in the conference to what could possibly be a state championship team (in West Rowan).”
Somebody from Salisbury asked me the the other day if the Hornets got more all-county players because they went farther in the playoffs.
No, South beat you.
Somebody from East asked the same thing.
No, South beat you.
South Rowan was the second-best team in the county this season, hands down. The Raiders defeated Salisbury, Carson and East, losing only to that juggernaut over in Mount Ulla that no one can beat. And it held K.P. Parks to 167 yards, quite a feat considering Parks is averaging 242.
South set records on offense. It set records on defense.
“We had a lot of success stories this year,” said Rollins, who noted an appreciative community has been very good to him and his players since the loss last Friday.
“I’ve been real positive about it,” he said. “There were a lot of sad parts, but man, we talked about how proud we we were of this team.
“And we’re excited about next season, too.”

R-S Central now gets its crack at that juggernaut in Mount Ulla ó defending state 3A champ, and 12-0 West Rowan.
Just for the record, Parks needs 232 yards tonight to break Toney Baker’s North Carolina’s career rushing mark of 10,241.
Baker played his high school ball in High Point, where miniscule crowds follow those teams. It’s only appropriate that the greatest running back in state history plays in the country, where communities thrive on their high school athletics and come to the games by the thousands ó where football isn’t about how big your facilities are, but how important you are to that community.
West’s practice football field is beside a big corn field, similar to all of our teams in rural Rowan County.
We’re country and we love it.

Chris Moore has seen the agony of defeat and the ecstacy of winning ó all in a two-week span.
He fumbled late in a 27-20 loss to South in the regular-season finale. Coach Brian Hinson didn’t want his running back to stay down.
Moore didn’t. He scored the winning touchdown in overtime of a 14-11 win against South Brunswick in the first round.
Moore credited running backs coach Sean Rinehart with a good pep talk at halftime and credited his linemen for the scoring run.
As you read this, East has probably already boarded their bus, headed on a five-hour trek to Havelock.
East’s 9-3 record is the biggest story of the year, if you don’t count …

Carson.
The Cougars are going to top seed Cardinal-Gibbons tonight in Raleigh for their second-round playoff game.
With a first-round win against Ledford, 7-5 Carson has secured a winning record. Everyone who knows him talks about what a good coach Mark Woody is. He proved it this season in only the fourth year of the school’s existence.

And then, there’s Salisbury, who is always in the playoffs. The Hornets may have played their most well-rounded game in a 35-6 win against East Burke.
Now, it’s on to Shelby.
“It’s a football town,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “I’m sure there will be a ton of people there.”

On the air …
– Howard Platt and Wilson Cherry will be at West for perhaps a record-breaking performance by Parks on WSTP 1490 AM.
– WSAT 1280 AM is sending Johnny Cloer and Glen Taylor to Shelby to call Salisbury’s game.
If you don’t go to West, get in your car and follow your team on the road. Those kids deserve it for giving you a great season of high school football.
And as always, be nice.

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