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Gallagher Column: Roaming the county

We’re past the midway point of the season and stress can hit a coach in ways other than simply losing a ballgame in the final seconds.
Losing a player can be just as excruciating.
Carson fell to Statesville 22-16 last week on a 50-yard touchdown pass with just seven seconds left. Coach Mark Woody scurried off the field visibly shaken. On Monday, he apologized for not talking to the press.
He didn’t have to. What happened to one of his players was depressing.
Devon Peacock, an offensive lineman, kicked off and immediately hit the ground in pain. When he planted his left leg, his knee gave out. He broke the bone where the patella connects. Surgery was performed and a screw was inserted. It was just too much for Woody to bear.
“Seeing a kid get hurt like that bothered me,” Woody admitted. “I coach the offensive line. He’s a kid I’m around a lot. It was one of those freak things.”
On the same night, Salisbury’s Joe Pinyan watched tackle Garrett Yelton get blindsided, putting him out for the season with a concussion. At West, Falcon QB Zay Laster scored but crashed into East’s Austin Hill, who was taken to the hospital with a mild concussion.
Coaches want to win games. But they care more about their kids. They hurt as much as the player when an injury sidelines one of them.

Stress can hit a coaching staff on the field as well. What Woody and Carson face next is a daunting task.
Carson’s varsity will play three games in seven days: at South Rowan tonight, at Hickory Ridge on Tuesday and at home next Friday against West Iredell. The Hickory Ridge game is a makeup from a month ago when lightning ended any chance of playing.
Counting three jayvee games, that’s a lot of football and a lot of hours for the Cougar staff.
“I’ve never done it before,” Woody said of his suddenly packed schedule. “I don’t know how we’ll handle it. We’ll learn as we go.”

Carson’s game tonight at South should be fun. Those schools are located four miles from each other and the everyone knows everyone else.
Another job of a coach is to keep his players ready to play. Carson’s loss last week could have been crushing. It’s up to Woody and the coaches to make sure the players move on.
“Our kids are smart,” Woody said. “They read the paper. They know they played a good team with tremendous talent. We had them. They know that.
“But we talk about not getting too high or too low. Hopefully, that will carry over.”

The Carson-South game will be unique. You’ll probably see a lot of pink in South’s stadium. Both schools will be hosting a “Pink Out” and collecting money for breast cancer awareness.

South (1-6) picked up its first win last week at North Iredell. East Rowan (0-7) is hoping for the same success tonight when it plays host to the Raiders from Olin (1-6).
The most intriguing matchup has three-time defending state 3A champ West Rowan (5-2) traveling toward the Virginia border to face 2A power Reidsville.
Reidsville, you’ll remember, had the nation’s longest winning streak at 55 before losing and giving that title to West. The Falcons ran their streak to 46 before losing.
Salisbury (6-1) has the best record in the county and is playing host to a dangerous Central Davidson team for Homecoming. North Rowan (2-5) travels to Albemarle. Davie goes to West Forsyth and A.L. Brown travels to Mount Pleasant.

On the air tonight …
• Hall of Famer Howard Platt and cohort Chris Sifford will be calling the Central-Salisbury game on WSTP 1490 AM.
• Lance, Glenn, Johnny and the boys at WSAT 1280 AM will also be with P.A. extraordinaire Windsor Eagle at Salisbury.
• Carl Ford, the “Commissioner” of high school football, and The Coach, Bob Parker, will call the South-Carson game on WRNA 1140 AM.
Go to a game tonight, folks. And be nice.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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