Common Sense Picks: West's defense gets the nod

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2012

Common Sense reasoned last Friday that West Rowan’s work-in-progress offense might be in trouble against Davie County’s experienced defense.
Common Sense was right — in a sense — but West still managed to prevail 14-7 with a special-teams touchdown and a 95-yard pick-six.
Everyone at that game no doubt realized they were witnessing a remarkable defensive struggle, but what transpired in Mocksville was – in several respects – the most unique contest of West coach Scott Young’s 190-game head coaching career.
West made just four first downs, rushed for only 44 yards and passed for just 17 — 61 net yards of offense — but still won. Just a few numbing numbers from Friday’s game:
• West’s streak of 112 consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards came to an end. A.L. Brown held West to 89 rushing yards when it beat the Falcons 14-7 in a helmet-rattler at Mount Ulla in 2004. 
• West had scored at least one offensive TD in 114 consecutive contests. That long streak also is history.
The last team to hold West without an offensive TD was Greensboro Grimsley in 2004. The Falcons still managed to beat the Whirlies 6-3 on two Ben Erdman field goals. 
• West’s 61 yards of offense were the fewest managed by the Falcons in any contest since Young became head coach prior to the 1998 season. The previous low was 68 vs. North Rowan in 1998 when the Cavaliers whipped the Falcons 28-0.
• West produced its lowest rushing total on Friday since 2000 when it was held to 20 ground yards by Concord, but it still beat the Spiders 17-3 that night on about 50 James Francis tackles, a pick-six, a field goal and a game-clinching TD pass.
• West has had a handful of games under Young that generated fewer passing yards than the Davie game. West officially passed for minus-2 yards against Northwest Cabarrus in 2005 but still won a well-remembered headknocker in Mount Ulla 14-3. Both teams entered that epic defensive wrestling match with 9-0 records and West fans probably will never forget Northwest nightmare Whopper Williams, who went on to fame at Appalachian State. Brett Hatley led West’s receivers that night with one catch for 3 yards.
• One streak that did survive Friday: West has scored in 133 consecutive games since it was shut out by Mooresville in 2002. That’s one of the 10 longest such streaks in the state. 
The picks were slightly better last week, but 3-2 is still nothing to brag about. This is no piece-of-cake week, either, with a pair of marquee county games on the menu, plus South Rowan and Carson facing SPC opponents in games that could go either way.
The guesses: 
West 14, Salisbury 7
Salisbury has scored double-digit points in 28 straight games. If the Hornets can do that tonight — and yes, that’s a really big if — they could finally knock off the Falcons.
North 19, East 16
Yes, we realize East beat Salisbury and Salisbury beat North, but North has the better defense and the home field. 
Carson 28, Hickory Ridge 24
Carson played its worst game of 2011 at Hickory Ridge and got smashed. It owes the Ragin’ Bulls one.
NW?Cabarrus 35, South 27
This is winnable for South, but the Raiders’ defensive numbers so far look like Arena League stuff.
A.L. Brown 35, Rocky River 14
4A Rocky River will bring serious speed and a dangerous QB (Andre Rice) to Kannapolis, but look for the Wonders to pass their first serious test.
Davie 31, Alex. Central 7
The War Eagles should bounce back from the bruiser with West with no problem.