Prep Football: Common Sense picks
Salisbury travels to Starmount tonight for a second-round 2A playoff game, proof that everything comes back around sooner or later.
It’s only the second meeting of the schools. The Hornets had to make the same second-round trip to Boonville in 1995 — 16 years ago — and believe it or not, they won that night by 16.
If the Hornets can repeat their road success against the Rams, nemesis Thomasville will probably be waiting for them in Round 3 — the identical scenario the Hornets encountered in 1995.
It should be mentioned that the star of the game the last time the Hornets ventured to Starmount was running back Desmond Adams. He piled up 164 rushing yards that evening. Desmond’s son, Keion, a strapping, 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior, will start for the Hornets at linebacker tonight, probably not wonderful news for the Rams.
Salisbury heads to Starmount with two 1,000-yard rushers in the backfield — halfbacks Dominique Dismuke and Justin Ruffin.
When the Hornets made the trip in 1995, they also had two 1,000-yard guys. The speedy Adams and 205-pound bull Andre Turner formed one of the great thunder and lightning combinations in county history. They combined that year for 48 TDs.
The 1995 Hornets were a monumental aggregation, not just because they won their first 12 games but because they set school records on both sides of the ball.
They averaged 39 points a game, still the school record.
Their defensive numbers (5.4 ppg) were the best the school has had since 1957. They shut out seven teams, still the school record.
The 1995 Hornets didn’t just sting teams; they obliterated them. They took no prisoners. They beat down Davie County 64-0 and wiped out North Stanly 75-0 in the most lopsided SHS game in the modern era.
They annihilated Randleman 64-0 in a playoff game the week before they played Starmount. Adams scored the first TD and the last two, and coach Conrad Green offered no apologies. He told the Post after that blowout, ‘We expected a great team to come in here, so we prepared to play a great game.”
Salisbury’s 1995 squad featured a bevy of Everharts — quarterback Priest, linebacker Scottie, and free safety Calvin.
Calvin’s All-State season was one of the finest defensive and special-teams efforts in county history. He scored four TDs on defense, picked off 11 passes and blocked five punts.
Asked to describe his team by the Post in 1995, Calvin said, “We’re not too small and we’re not too big. We’re just right.”
It was a fairy-tale team.
But as you probably recall, that mighty club still lost to Thomasville and the Bulldogs went on to win the 2A state championship.
To this day, Salisbury fans will tell you they were denied a sure crown by inches. Turner was stopped a centimeter or so short of paydirt on a critical fourth-down carry in that 14-6 loss at Cushwa Stadium.
This year’s Salisbury defense isn’t as ferocious as it was in 1995, but it’s not bad. The Hornets give up two TDs per game, and their offense can produce two TDs in two minutes. Visit the restroom when the Hornets are playing and you can miss a pair of 80-yard scampers.
Salisbury scored 506 points in 1995, a mind-boggling, unheard of total at the time.
But the Hornets, who rolled up 529 points in 16 games while winning a 2AA state title in 2010, already have put 511 on the board this season in a dozen games.
They’re averaging 42.6 points per Friday night, with Ruffin and Dismuke accounting for 20 TDs apiece.
SHS is a four-headed Hydra this year. Fullback Max Allen romped for 294 yards last week — he’d be well over 1,000 if he hadn’t missed two games with an ankle injury — and QB Brian Bauk, as swift as any of his dashing running mates, has a season high of 191 yards. It’s a pick-your-poison bunch, and unless you’re allowed to use more than 11 guys on defense — or unless you’re West Rowan — you can’t contain all four.
Finally, it should be noted that coach Joe Pinyan’s Hornets have won 20 of their last 22 — one of the finest stretches in school history.
Common Sense was 14-3 last week. Davie and Lexington probably should’ve won, but they didn’t. The other miss was West Iredell, which bit the dust in a shootout.
Salisbury 26, Starmount 10
With Starmount’s QB hurt, we’ll go with a repeat of 1995.
West 21, Statesville 14
The Greyhounds have the one thing that can make West’s defense sweat — an exceptionally mobile QB who can make plays on the run. Still, West always finds some way to beat the talented Hounds.
A.L. Brown 35, Weddington 21
Weddington is a good team, but the sixth Catholic vs. Wonders matchup in the last seven years is looming.
In other second-round matchups involving area leagues: Thomasville 38, Wilkes Central 24; Albemarle 42, Princeton 14; South Stanly 20, Lakewood 17; West Montgomery 28, Central Academy 14; Concord 27, Rockingham County 24; Ragsdale 35, Mt. Tabor 31.