Prep Football: Common Sense picks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Common Sense picks were a decent 16-1 last week providing momentum heading into tonight’s playoff games.
The miss was West Forsyth-R.J. Reynolds, and the only explanation for how West Forsyth could beat Mount Tabor one week and lose to R.J. Reynolds the next is that, well … we’re trying to predict the mental focus of teenagers.
The playoff picks look routine locally — raise your hand if you think Mount Pleasant is going to win in Mount Ulla — with the notable exception of Dudley at Davie, which should be the game to go to in the area if you’re seeking the most competitive contest.
West Rowan, Salisbury, A.L. Brown and Davie all open the postseason at home, which is important — or is it?
Let’s check the record book.
n Well, it’s definitely huge for Davie to be playing in Mocksville tonight. Davie correspondent Brian Pitts informs us the War Eagles are 10-2 in home playoff games under coach Doug Illing. Illing’s teams are 10-12 on the road in the postseason.
n We don’t have to consult the record book to know A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome is 0-0 at the helm of the Wonders in playoff games.
While the Wonders haven’t won a state title since 1997, they are traditionally a solid playoff team.
They are always at home in the first round because they always win their conference and they always win in the first round.
Well, almost always. Actually, Brown has won only 20 straight first-round games. The last time the Wonders dropped a first-rounder was against Gastonia Ashbrook in 1987 when they were still competing in the 4A ranks.
Bottom line: Ledford’s chances tonight at Memorial Stadium aren’t great.
n Joe Pinyan became Salisbury’s coach in 2003 and has led the Hornets to a playoff berth every year. His record in the playoffs is 13-7 with that mark getting a major boost from an 8-1 mark the past two seasons.
Salisbury proved it could win challenging playoff games on the road in 2009 (at Shelby and Pisgah) and it got on a roll last year by playing at home in front of its Thunder Dancers. Home field was a factor in serious victories against Berry and Shelby.
Salisbury, which plays Winston-Salem Carver tonight, is 5-3 in first-round games under Pinyan and he’s 10-5 at home in the playoffs.
It should be mentioned that in 2003 and 2005, Salisbury lost first-round home games. That 2005 setback was to Mount Pleasant, which visits West Rowan in Mount Ulla tonight.
n West Rowan coach Scott Young started his career 7-7 but is now 22-7 in playoff games. The obvious turning point was West’s amazing win against Carver in the third round in 2008. The Falcons haven’t looked back since pulling that one out.
West has won 15 straight playoff contests. It’s won 12 of those in Mount Ulla, with the others being state championship games at neutral sites.
The last time West faltered in a playoff game was a second-round home loss to North Gaston in 2007. West also was eliminated at home in 2006 (Anson) and 2005 (A.L. Brown). Season-ending losses in 2000 (Mooresville), Crest (2002), Ashbrook (2003) and Winston-Salem Parkland (2004) came on the road.
That Parkland game seven years ago was the last time West has had to go on the road in the playoffs. That’s an astounding stat.
Young’s home playoff record is a sweet 19-3. Under Young, West is a perfect 8-0 in first-round home playoff games, so Mount Pleasant is unlikely to experience overwhelming success tonight.
n North Rowan is the lone local squad on the road tonight, with the Cavaliers making the familiar trek to West Montgomery.
North owns a four-game losing streak in playoff games, last tasting victory when it beat Surry Central in the first round in 2006. That game was also the last time North had a chance to host an opponent in the playoffs.
The last time North won a playoff road game — and this will be very good news for West Montgomery — was in 2001 when Roger Secreast directed a 2A second-round victory at West Wilkes.
Local picks: West Rowan 28, Mt. Pleasant 7; Salisbury 35, Carver 21; West Montgomery 28, North Rowan 13; Davie 17, Dudley 16; A.L. Brown 49, Ledford 14.
1A: Albemarle 54, W. Columbus 0; S. Stanly 49, S. Davidson 7; Goldsboro 35, E. Montgomery 14
2A: Lexington 31, Wilkes Central 24; Thomasville 35, Surry Central 21; S. Iredell 42, E. Davidson 0
3A: Statesville 21, Cox Mill 17; Concord 29, NW Cabarrus 14; W. Iredell 28, E. Henderson 24; Catholic 42, Hickory Ridge 14
4A: Ragsdale 35, N. Davidson 10; Mt. Tabor 38, W. Guilford 20