Gallagher column: Notes ‘n’ quotes
Notes ‘n’ quotes …
Every week, it seems like you get the same thing on these sports pages.
Plenty of K.P. Parks.
Plenty of John Knox.
Those are currently the two most exciting Rowan County players in the state playoffs. We talk about Knox’s power and elusiveness. We talk about Parks’ ability to elude defenders, and when he doesn’t, we talk about Parks’ ability to bowl them over.
It’s no surprise that Knox is the Offensive Player of the Year in the Central Carolina Conference and Parks has won the same honor in the North Piedmont.
But I have just one question: What about those defenses?
West’s defense had plenty of preseason hype, but did anyone envision the Salisbury defense being so dominant?
The 2AA Hornets held 3A West and Parks to only 14 points, a season low. They held Davie, a 4A school, to 10 points.
In a 14-7 loss to Thomasville, mammoth Kiontae Rankin knocked out two of the Bulldog runners.
But it’s the state playoffs where we see the real defense. And Pisgah, which was averaging 33 points coming in, didn’t score until the third quarter, finishing with just one touchdown.
Asheville, which was averaging 39 points, didn’t score until the third quarter and was held 25 points under its average.
Fans love the offense, but coaches know defense wins games.
Trivia question: Of the 32 teams left in the state playoffs, only three of North Carolina’s 100 counties still have two teams participating.
Can you name the counties?
Something strange happened on Friday. County fans listened to the West Rowan-Asheville game on the radio and were actually nervous.
It had been a while since listeners did anything but enjoy another rout.
West has won 28 games in a row and you wonder if and when the streak will ever end.
They were thinking the same thing in Hays, Kansas until last week. Smith Center lost 20-12 in the Kansas Class 2-1A title game. The loss ended the Redmen’s 79-game winning streak, the longest in Kansas history and one of the longest in the country.
Trivia Answer: Mecklenburg (Butler and Independence, which square off on Friday), Edgecombe (Tarboro and North Edgecombe) and our own Rowan (West Rowan and Salisbury).
With football at a fever pitch, we’ve almost forgotten that basketball season has started. Sort of.
Mike Gurley keeps postponing games because he has 10 ó count ’em, 10 ó of his players still wearing pads.
Salisbury’s Jason Causby is missing seven, including Joe Pinyan’s backfield: Knox, Romar Morris and Dejoun Jones.
But Carson’s playing tonight at home. It will give you a chance to see the county’s top returning scorer in Darius Moose, who has a dazzling array of moves around the basket, and the county’s top outside threat in Nick Houston.
On Tuesday, East and South are at home. West is at Salisbury, but only the girls are playing. The jayvees start at 6 with the varsity to follow.
On Wednesday, Northwest Cabarrus is supposed to visit Salisbury, while East goes to Hickory Ridge.
West’s boys won’t play North on Thursday but South will go to A.L. Brown.
There’s four basketball meetings scheduled for Friday, but let’s just postpone them and go the football games. It’s an exciting time for West, Salisbury ó and all of Rowan County.