Common Sense: Does the county streak end at 37?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

A magnificent streak began with the flying feet of West Rowan’s Horatio Everhart.
Everhart ran back the opening kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown against South Rowan on Sept. 14, 2001. Then, before fans could find their seats in Mount Ulla, Ben Hampton had put two more TDs on the board. Six minutes in, West was up 21-0.
Stunned South, the clear-cut favorite, never recovered. West held off the Raiders 29-12 on a night that was a turning point in county gridiron history. Like it or not, that’s the night West officially seized control of Rowan County football.
The Falcons have refused to relinquish their dominance. Not only has South not beaten West since that night — neither have North, East, Salisbury or Carson.
West’s county winning streak now stands at 37 consecutive games and is just two weeks shy of celebrating its 10th birthday. Maybe it’s time for a bicycle — or a nice statue of Everhart.
It’s possible the long ride ends tonight. West is still good, but the Falcons look human. Their 46-game overall streak was laid to rest by Mooresville right away. Davie gave them all they wanted last week.
Salisbury is very good, surfing on towering waves of confidence after mauling two overmatched opponents.
The Hornets also are playing on the friendly grass at historic Ludwig Stadium. It’ll be interesting. Worth the admission charge.
West’s remarkable run came out of nowhere.
West fell 21-14 against South Iredell to begin the 2001 season, although that loss would become a forfeit win. In the second week of 2001, West struggled again, a 20-10 setback against Davie.
In Week 3, West traveled to North’s Eagle Stadium and got drilled by an explosive Roger Secreast-coached team that would make the 2A quarterfinals. To make a long story short, the Falcons got Miller-ed.
Alfonzo Miller has unusual career stats because his time at North was split between receiver and QB, but on Sept. 7, 2001, there was no question what he was.
He was Michael Vick. He ran for 140 yards and two TDs and threw for 211 yards and two TDs in a 26-14 victory over the Falcons.
It’s unlikely West coach Scott Young left Spencer thinking about starting a streak. At that point, he was trying to survive.
West was no better than No. 3 in the county because South Rowan had already embarrassed North Rowan 47-19. South had two fumble returns for TDs early in that game. Even with Miller, North never got back into it.
The Friday after it was chewed up by North, West faced South. South had to be favored by 20, but Everhart changed the course of history.
By the end of 2001, West had beaten Salisbury and East and owned a modest, three-game streak.
South tried mightily to end it in 2002 but lost 15-9. South took its best shot again in 2003 but fell 42-39.
And then, as North started to slide and South started to slip, the games stopped being competitive. If West-South and West-North games were Ali-Frazier matchups for a while, they suddenly became Ali against Chuck Wepner or George Chuvalo.
There were no challengers at all by 2005 when West blew away four county rivals 51-0, 48-7, 49-6, 51-13. By then, the Falcons’ edge was mental as well as physical, and the streak was at 17.
In 2008, on its way to the first of three 3A state titles, the Falcons obliterated county opponents 60-0, 48-0, 69-0, 56-7 to make it 29 straight.
North hasn’t opposed West since that 60-0 loss.
In 2010, West mashed a fine, 10-win Carson team that thought it had a chance 41-14 and whipped a 2AA state-championship Salisbury team 28-0. A 50-7 thrashing of East made it 37 in a row.
During the course of its prodigious streak, West owns 10 wins against South, nine against East, seven against North, six against Salisbury and five against Carson.
The closest call since South’s near-miss in 2003 was Salisbury’s bitterly contested 14-7 loss to West at Ludwig Stadium in 2009.
The Hornets have risen from the ashes of miserable seasons in the late 1990s to become a serious threat.
They get another chance in the ring with West tonight, and most folks from Carson, North, South and East will be in their corner. There’s not much love for the Falcons. They’ve won too long and too much.
Mentally, it helps the Hornets that they will also walk onto that field as state champions — but it’s hard to pick against 10 years of 37-0.
Common Sense says:
West 20, Salisbury 14
Common Sense was 5-0 last week; 8-3 for the season.
The other local games:
North 12, East 3
Let’s try a baseball score, but it could be a soccer-ish 2-0. Both are hungry. Neither has shown any offense.
Northwest 28, South 12
Might be competitive, but it’s hard to see South’s defense getting enough stops.
Carson 24, Hickory Ridge 14
Turnovers cost the Cougars against NWC, but they’ll bounce back.
Brown 42, Rocky River 14
The Ravens are in serious trouble — even if they bring Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco.
Davie 24, Alex. Central 13
If any team ever had a positive loss, DC had it last week.