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In 51 years of football, South Rowan has employed only five head coaches, a track record that says a good deal about the men chosen to lead the program as well as the wisdom and patience of the administrators who selected them.
The late Lope Linder, head coach at China Grove before China Grove and Landis teamed to form South Rowan in 1961, is a Salisbury-Rowan Hall of Famer. His tenure at South lasted through 1970.
Catawba Hall of Famer Reid Bradshaw, who played for Linder, coached South from 1971-1982 and made conference championships an annual expectation. His record was 78-48-3.
Larry Deal, who played for Linder and assisted Bradshaw, took the reins in 1983 and held them through 1994.
His 12 seasons produced a 70-58 record, including a school record for wins (11-2) in his debut. Deal guided South into the 4A ranks in 1985 and extended the long string of consecutive winning seasons that Bradshaw started in 1974 through 1988.
Rick Vanhoy, a Deal disciple, took charge from 1995-2005, a stretch that included terrific teams in 2000 and 2001. The 2001 team was a CPC conference champ. The 2000 team, which swept Rowan, was even better.
Jason Rollins, who coached under Vanhoy, debuted as head coach in 2006.
Now in his sixth season, the highlight of his tenure is the 9-3 season in 2009.
During the years Linder, Bradshaw, Deal, Vanhoy and Rollins piloted the Raiders (and Rebels), North Rowan, the runner-up in the county’s stability standings, employed seven head coaches. West Rowan has had 14, Salisbury 15 and East Rowan 16.
At Carson, of course, Mark Woody has been the head coach for every game the Cougars have played in their six seasons.
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Five coaches is not much turnover for 51 years.
Salisbury had five different head men in the eight-season span from 1978-85; five more from 1993-2000.
West is as stable as it gets now — Scott Young is in his 14th season — but it had six different head coaches in the 1960s alone.
East has had six head coaches since 2002 and had five different ones in the decade of the 1980s.
Even North had two brief head-coaching runs between legends Burt Barger and Larry Thomason.
If you’re a fan of West, Salisbury or North, you can brag that your school has won more games in the past 51 years than South has.
But if you’re a fan of South, there’s still plenty to feel good about. Here’s hoping Rollins stays for a decade or longer, as all his predecessors have done.
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As far as the picks, they sparkled last week — 15-1.
The miss was a close miss missed by most. Central Davidson beat Thomasville for the first time since “Dances With Wolves” was playing at your local movie house, “The Cosby Show” was must-watch TV viewing and Randall Cunningham was the toast of the NFL.
This is a much tougher week, however. East-North Iredell? West Iredell-Statesville? South Stanly-West Montgomery?
Frankly, who knows?
Albemarle 35, North 7
Albemarle would do fine in 3A.
Salisbury 42, C. Davidson 27
Time to bring the bang-bang. Joe Pinyan says the Hornets need to score every possession. He may not be joking.
N. Iredell 14, East 10
Just doing our part to fire up the Mustangs.
Carson 27, South 14
Cougars have edges in the running game and defense.
Wear pink!
West 28, Reidsville 20
West’s first trip to Reidsville in 45 years. This one may be tougher than the one in 1966.
A.L. Brown 27, Mt. Pleasant 0
The Wonders will get very angry when someone finally scores on them.
Davie 27, W. Forsyth 14
Davie got it going a lot earlier this year. This should be six in a row.
Others
YVC: South Davidson 28, Chatham Central 7; East Montgomery 41, North Moore 6; South Stanly 21, West Montgomery 14
CCC: Thomasville 42, East Davidson 7; Lexington 42, West Davidson 7
NPC: West Iredell 24, Statesville 17
SPC: Robinson 27, Central Cabarrus 14; Concord 35, Cox Mill 14; NW Cabarrus 21, Hickory Ridge 10
CPC: Mount Tabor 45, R.J. Reynolds 13; N. Davidson 28, Reagan 17

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