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Gallagher column: Football just won't end

We can’t remember football dominating the landscape around here so close to the Moir Christmas Classic as it has this year.
The county is ready to turn its attention to basketball but West Rowan’s K.P. Parks and Chris Smith won’t let us. What they did Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C., was unexpected and unbelievable.
Two guys from the same high school as team captains? Two guys from the same high school winning Most Valuable Player awards? They did it in the biggest all-star game in the Carolinas.
Noting how many photos have been in the newspaper of Parks, a buddy joked the other day, “We know what K.P. Parks looks like, OK?”
Then, laughing, he added, “Well you can’t ignore him. He’s doing great things.”

So is Smith. Once he reached the playoffs, where all teams think they’re worthy of a state title, they stopped double-teaming the defensive end, referred to as “Hercules.” And when it’s one-on-one blocking, Smith tends to dominate.
Photographer Jon Lakey called me around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, saying, “North Carolina just scored first. Guess who scored?”
“K.P. Parks,” I guessed.
“Nope. It was Chris Smith.”
He also had two sacks, bringing his total to four in the two most prestigious games of his season: the state championship and the Shrine Bowl.

That same buddy agreed with me when I said, “I’m just about U’ed out.”
Of course, we’re talking of the Mount Ulla craze of forming a “U” every time West Rowan scores. It supposedly stands for “Mount Ulla University.”
Smith didn’t disappoint when he ran in on a 67-yard fumble recovery. He turned to the bleachers, where the Rowan County faithful were situated and formed the U. His teammates and coaches acknowledged it. See photo above.

We cover the Shrine Bowl every year because Rowan always seems to have somebody playing. Lakey usually has to take photos of the kid standing on the sidelines. Not this year. Parks got 19 carries, which is practically unheard of in an all-star game with so many other good runners available.

Parks and Smith are just two of the players who made 2009 the greatest football season in Rowan County history. All six teams made the playoffs.
If you want to see the best players of the year, you can visit Catawba’s Shuford Stadium today at noon. The Post is holding its all-county photo shoot.
The team will be showcased in the Post on Christmas Day.

With the announcement that Parks and Smith have been invited to another all-star game in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Jan. 2, it just pushes their basketball season back even more.
It doesn’t push ours back. There are plenty of games tonight and Tuesday to take our minds off football for a minute or two.
Tonight’s schedule is actually the games snowed out on Friday.
Mr. Lakey can forget about the U and shoot the only two schools that haven’t been photographed yet: Carson at home against East Rowan tonight and West at home against Davie on Tuesday.
Monday’s other varsity doubleheaders include West at North and North Iredell at South.
Tuesday’s other doubleheaders have North Iredell at East, Statesville at South, Carson at West Iredell and North Rowan at West Montgomery.
And if some of you pigskin diehards want football, well, I’m sure there will be several of those all-county football players on the court.
Go to a game, folks. And don’t forget the Moir Christmas Classic is Dec. 28-29-30. It’s the biggest sporting event of the year in Rowan County. Be a part of it.


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