Friday's Prep Previews
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2012
Salisbury (1-1) at West Rowan (2-0)
Last week: Salisbury beat North Rowan 19-7. West won at Davie 14-7.
Series: Salisbury still leads all-time 18-14, but the once lopsided series has tightened in recent years.
West coach Scott Young is 10-0 against the Hornets, while SHS coach Joe Pinyan is 0-5 against the Falcons.
The last time Salisbury beat West was in Mount Ulla in 1996. That seems like a thousand eons ago. Both programs won only two games that season.
Last meeting: West scored 27 points in the fourth quarter and outscored the Hornets 37-28 at Ludwig Stadium in 2011, but it’s a safe bet that 65 points won’t be scored tonight.
Player to watch: Salisbury’s Justin Ruffin put up a 100-yard rushing game against West last season.Those are rare.
Key to victory: West has the county’s top rushing defense (72 yards per game) while Salisbury has by far the county’s top rushing offense (271 yards per game), so that’s where the decisive battle should be waged.
East Rowan (1-1) at North Rowan (1-1)
Last week: North lost to Salisbury 19-7. East lost 42-20 to Concord.
Series: North leads it 36-16-1 mostly because the Cavaliers won 26 of the 30 meetings from 1975-2006.
East has done fine, lately, however. East won four straight meetings from 2007-2010.
Last meeting: North held East to one first down, forced six turnovers and whipped the Mustangs 24-6 in 2011 in Granite Quarry.
Players to watch: Sophomore QBs Sam Wyrick (East) and Alexis Archie (North) are among the county passing leaders and are going to be around for a while.
Key to victory: Both teams will be emotional, and North will be honoring the players and coaches from its great 1982 team.
It will be a huge win for either of the young head coaches – who are relatives.
Both teams opened with a surprising wins. Both teams came back to earth a little bit last week.
This is an even matchup on paper, Expect the winner to be whoever prevails in the turnover battle.
South Rowan (0-2) at NW Cabarrus (0-1)
Last week: South lost to A.L. Brown 62-6. Northwest lost to Carson 28-13.
Series: South leads it 20-9, but Northwest has been tougher lately. South coach Jason Rollins is 1-4 against the Trojans.
Last meeting: North held East to one first down,forced six turnovers and whipped the Mustangs 24-6 in 2011 in Granite Quarry.
Northwest has won the last three since the Raiders won in 2008 behind Mark McDaniel.
South hasn’t won at Northwest since 1996.
Players to watch: South QB Nathan Lambert had a tough time against the Trojans in 2011. He was 6-for-19 and had two passes picked off. If he has a big night, South has a chance. South tight end Josh Medlin had two catches for 73 yards vs. NWC last season.
Key to victory: Based on the first two games, South isn’t going to have a surplus of opportunities to win. This could be one of their better ones, but even some really good South teams (2000 and 2009) failed to win at Northwest.
Hickory Ridge (1-1) at Carson (1-1)
Last week: Hickory Ridge lost to Cuthbertson 16-14. Carson beat NW Cabarrus 28-13.
Series: There’s been an amazing amount of strange weather history. Expect hail, rain, snow and lightning in China Grove tonight – and nowhere else.
Hickory Ridge leads the series 2-1. Carson won in 2010 with Shaun Warren rushing for 221 yards.
Last meeting: They played on a Monday last season.
Both teams had to be worn out, but Hickory Ridge handled it well and Carson turned in its worst effort of 2011. The Ragin’ Bulls held Carson to 86 rushing yards.
Player to watch: Carson QB Austin McNeill threw for 116 yards against Hickory Ridge in 2011, but he was sacked frequently.Key to victory. It figures to come down to the end. Playing at home and with some incentive from last year’s disaster against the Bulls, Carson is a slight favorite. The biggest key is Carson’s offensive line. Can they protect McNeill this time and open some holes for Brandon Sloop and Darren Isom, two of the county’s top seven rushers?
Rocky River (2-0) at A.L. Brown (2-0)
Last week: Rocky River smashed Harding 62-0. A.L. Brown wiped out South Rowan 62-6.
Series: The Wonders lead it 1-0.
Last meeting: A.L. Brown won 35-14 at Memorial Stadium, although the fast Ravens from Mint Hill didn’t embarrass themselves. Keeon Johnson and Kalif Phillips scored two TDs apiece for the Wonders.
Player to watch: The Wonders passed for a season-high 258 yards vs. Rocky River last season, so QB Keenan Medley probably will have a chance for a big night.
Key to victory: Rocky River’s defense hasn’t allowed a point in two games, but that should change in the first quarter. The Wonders have put up staggering offense with nearly 500 yards per game and 363 rushing yards per game. If they avoid turners they should win by two touchdowns.
Davie (1-1) at Alexander Central (1-1)
Last week: Davie lost 14-7 to West. Alexander Central trailed 35-0 after the first quarter and was blown out 47-13 by Freedom.
Series: It’s tied 3-3. Alexander Central won as recently as 2010.
Last meeting: Davie won 24-10 in 2011.
Player to watch: Davie back Stephon Smoot pounded AC with 24 carries for 181 yards in 2011.
Key to victory: Unless Davie’s bus breaks down on the way to Taylorsville, it’s hard to see the War Eagles having any difficulty.