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Prep Football: Common Sense picks

So which of West Rowan’s impressive streaks should make Falcon Nation proudest – and which should make West haters groan loudest?
The two streaks every local football knows about are 43 consecutive county wins dating back to Sept. 7, 2001 when North Rowan beat the Falcons, and 32 straight NPC wins, going back to Sept. 28, 2007, when West Iredell managed that elusive feat in Mount Ulla, of all places.
Obviously, three schools have been reluctant contributors to both streaks. That roll call includes NPC members South Rowan, East Rowan and Carson.
Common Sense would give the edge to the county streak as the more special of the two streaks, partly because of its longer duration and partly because the county run includes victories over a terrific East team in 2007, an exceptional South team in 2009, an imposing Carson team in 2010 and several worthy Salisbury clubs, including the 2010 state champs.
It’s not like West has had to beat any state champs in the NPC since that streak began.
West’s string of 32 includes five straight league wins to close the 2007 regular season, a 9-0 slate in 2008 when the NPC still included Lake Norman, Northwest Cabarrus and Mooresville, and 6-0 marks the last three seasons.
In manufacturing its NPC streak, West has beaten Carson, East and South five times each; Statesville, West Iredell and North Iredell four times apiece; Lake Norman and Mooresville twice each, and Northwest Cabarrus once.
To be honest, it’s mostly been routine. In those 32 straight victories, West has won via shutouts 11 times and has rolled 29 times by double digits, with the three exceptions being a scrap with Mooresville late in 2007, an overtime victory against Lake Norman in 2008, and a 22-15 verdict against Statesville in 2011.
It also should be mentioned that a week before the Falcons fell to West Iredell in 2007, they were fortunate to escape Statesville’s Greyhound Hollow with a 26-17 decision.
The last three seasons, even against the 2009 SR Raiders (28-0) and the 2010 Cougars (41-14), the physical Falcons usually have been a steamroller.
West also owns two 3A playoff wins in recent seasons against Statesville (2008 and 2011) that aren’t counted as part of the NPC streak.
Common Sense mentions all these numbers because there’s a reasonable chance that one West streak finally will end tonight. Statesville has serious talent and Statesville pushed the Falcons twice in 2011. Besides the seven-point margin in the regular season, West won 32-27 in the playoffs.
The picks were 5-1 again last week, with Carson – gee, there’s a surprise – again pricking the perfect-record balloon.
While West’s showdown with Statesville is a matchup of top-10 teams in 3A and deserves all the hype it’s getting, there are two nearly as compelling games on tonight’s slate. North Rowan-South Stanly is a YVC elimination bout to separate pretenders and contenders, and East-Carson is a huge crossroads game for both teams’ seasons.
West 17, Statesville 14
Even with Statesville QB Carlis Parker out, West will be hard-pressed to prevail if it turns into a shootout. Still, the Falcons’ offensive line, defense and special teams may be enough to survive a headknocker.
Carson 35, East 28
Could be the kiss of death for the Cougars, but Common Sense gives them a shaky nod one more time.
West Iredell 45, South Rowan 20
South has allowed 60 points three times in four weeks, so the probability of an upset win tonight is low.
North Rowan 26, South Stanly 21
The Cavaliers had an uplifting loss last week. Tonight, it will be about finding a way to win against a talented opponent.
A.L. Brown 49, Robinson 21
Playing the Wonders coming off a loss doesn’t figure to be a barrel of fun for the Bulldogs.
Davie 28, Thomasville 14
Can’t ever remember the Bulldogs being 0-5, but it should happen.

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