Prep Football: Common Sense picks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just when you thought you wouldn’t have to hear another word about West Rowan’s 10-year, 41-game county streak for the rest of this season, Common Sense proves you wrong.
Carson jumped out in front of the Falcons with a quick TD pass from Austin McNeill to K.J. Pressley on Friday, a somewhat surprising scenario that prompted the question, “How often has West been behind during its county streak — and how often have the Falcons been in serious trouble?”
After a quick check of the record books, those burning questions can be answered.
Friday’s game marked the 10th time during the county streak that West’s opponent has scored first — with three of those occurring this season. Besides the Carson game, Travis Byrd’s fumble return gave Salisbury an early lead and Eric Tyler’s rumbling score on a draw play gave South a 7-0 edge.
Salisbury and Carson also scored first against West in 2009. East scored first against West in 2004 and 2007. South got on the board first in 2005, while Salisbury had an early edge in 2001 when the streak was barely a streak and also in 2006.
So the hard part hasn’t been scoring first against West, it’s been finding a way to maintain early momentum against a relentless team. What’s been close to impossible to do is putting up back-to-back scores against the Falcons.
Still, there have been five instances in the 41-game streak in which Scott Young’s Falcons have been pushed to make a stand or make a rally or make a statement.
Obviously, one was earlier this year when Salisbury led 14-10 after three quarters but couldn’t stop West from fighting back.
In 2009, the Hornets not only scored first on an 82-yard bolt by Romar Morris, their defense made that 7-0 lead stand up until K.P. Parks (and West’s offensive line) produced the game’s last two TDs. Parks tied it midway through the third quarter and got the game-winner with 5:15 left.
The other three times West was in a major mess came early in the streak.
In 2002, West trailed South in the fourth quarter, and that was a not-so-awesome bunch of Falcons who fell to Mooresville 35-0 and actually lost to North Iredell.
Still, they refused to lose to a county opponent. Brent Patterson’s field goal with 9:35 remaining tied it. Norris White’s 75-yard run with 4:27 left decided it.
In 2003, in Game No. 8 in the county streak, North scored four unanswered touchdowns to grab a 25-7 lead, but West responded with 33 straight points — 24 on TDs by Joe Jackson.
There were more dramatics for the Falcons in that 2003 season in a classic game against South in Mount Ulla in which momentum swung a half-dozen times.
West jumped out 21-0.
But West trailed the Raiders 32-28 late in the third quarter after Darius Beaty broke a 78-yard run.
West regained the lead. South took it back and held a 39-35 edge after QB Hoke Shirley scored with 6:44 remaining.
It still wasn’t enough. Jackson’s 5-yard run with just 1:14 remaining on the clock pulled it out for West. The Falcons won despite rushing for 125 yards compared to South’s 381.
But to have a streak like the Falcons have, you have be a little bit lucky — and very good.
We’ve put off talking about the picks as long as possible for a good reason.
Last week was the worst Common Sense effort of the season — a dismal 12-5. Didn’t see Hickory Ridge’s upset of Concord coming or West Forsyth’s amazing win against Mount Tabor.
Also didn’t see much of anything in the CCC. The 0-3 selections in that league tied the all-time worst for weekly picks for one conference.
Can’t do any worse this week, even though there are a number of tough games.
East has already finished its 10-game season.
The picks:
A.L. Brown 42, Concord 14
Green Goblins and Spider-men tangling on Halloween weekend is fun stuff.
Should be a lot more fun for the Wonders than the Spiders, though.
W. Rowan 28, W. Iredell 21
West Iredell always shows up against the Falcons and it has four or five speed guys who could play for any team in the state.
Statesville 52, South 14
If South can keep the margin under 30, it’ll be a moral victory.
Barring supernatural activities, the Raiders’ season will end with a 1-9 mark.
N. Rowan 20, S. Davidson 14
Making this call based on home-field advantage. No two teams in the state have had more similar seasons.
Carson 42, N. Iredell 14
Still waiting for the talented Cougars to put it all together. Maybe it happens tonight.
Salisbury 38, E. Davidson 14
It’s a wild league, but it’s hard to see anything strange happening in this one.
Davie 28, N. Davidson 24
Tossup. We’ll take the good guys on the road.
YVC: Albemarle 28, S. Stanly 14; Chatham Central 35, N. Moore 7; W. Montgomery 28, E. Montgomery 12
CCC: C. Davidson 42, W. Davidson 7; Thomasville 31, Lexington 24
SPC: Mt. Pleasant 34, C. Cabarrus 7; Cox Mill 27, NW Cabarrus 21; Hickory Ridge 35, Robinson 13
CPC: Mount Tabor 42, Reagan 20; W. Forsyth 28, R.J. Reynolds 10
0-3 in the CCC