Gallagher column: Roaming the county getting ready for tonight
Roaming the county getting ready for tonight …
The North Piedmont Conference opens play tonight and at first glance, you’d think West Rowan’s trip to Statesville is the most important game. The Falcons have won 32 straight in the NPC and eight consecutive championships. And isn’t this is the season Statesville is supposed to end the dominance with Virginia Tech commitment Carlis Parker at quarterback, East Carolina-bound linebacker Tristan Mumford and future Duke Blue Devil defensive back Breon Borders leading the 10th-ranked Greyhounds?
But in Rowan County, there may be a game with more importance because a win may salvage a season.
Carson visits East Rowan. Both are 1-3.
What does a win mean for either?
A 2-3 record and you still have plenty of hope and momentum. And you’re 1-0 in the league, First place.
What does a loss mean for either?
A 1-4 mark and it becomes very tough mentally. Especially being 0-1 in the league with West and Statesville looming.
Both East and Carson have had their moments.
East started the Danny Misenheimer era with a win over Salisbury. The Mustangs have arguably the county’s best running back in Calvin Edwards. No one else is averaging his 6.9 yards per carry. East has the second-best offense in the county. Donte Means is tied for the county lead with two interceptions.
Carson? The Cougars are the top offensive team in the county, averaging over 300 yards. Mark Woody has the top receiver in K.J. Pressley, one of the leading scorers in Ben Gragg and his team averages more points than anyone in the county.
So it comes down to who makes the big plays on defense. Only South has given up more points than either.
It’s a pregame tossup. Everyone we’ve asked says they have no idea who is going to win. That’s why the most interesting game could be in Granite Quarry.
•The West-Statesville showdown has its own intrigue. Parker, who missed the season last year after tearing up his left knee in the opener, banged up the other knee last week in a 37-35 loss to North Davidson. As of Wednesday, it wasn’t clear if he would play. He was sent to get an MRI. If Parker doesn’t play, it steals some of the statewide luster from the game.
Parker, who has already thrown for 700 yards on 44 completions for the 3-1 Greyhounds, will be replaced by Mumford if he can’t go. Mumford stepped in in 2011, completing 108-of-199 for 1,427 yards and 16 touchdowns.
With Parker’s status up in the air, it means more headaches for West (4-0), the fourth-ranked team in 3A. Now, Scott Young has to come up with two gameplans.
•Rowan County football fans wish they could be in three places, actually. There will be some emotion at North Rowan, where Tasker Fleming brings his South Stanly team to Spencer for a Yadkin Valley 1A Conference opener. That’s Tasker Fleming, as in last year’s North coach. The Cavaliers are Joe Nixon’s team now, and they had everyone on the edge of their seats last week in a close loss to West.
Fleming did win a YVC title a couple of years ago at North and he’ll see a lot of familiar faces.•In other games, South Rowan would like nothing better than getting back on track with a win over West Iredell. These teams are not fond of each other, so it could be a real headbanger in Landis. A.L. Brown is favored against Robinson and will be an angry bunch of Wonders who want to rebound from their first loss last week against Porter Ridge. Davie goes to Thomasville.
That’s 0-4 Thomasville. Say what?
Salisbury has a week off after evening its record at 2-2. Next week, the Hornets will play either 2-3 Carson or 1-4 Carson. Stay tuned.
•On the air tonight …
• WSTP 1490 AM will cover Fleming’s return to North with Hall of Famer Howard Platt and sidekick Wilson Cherry.
• WRNA 1140 AM will cover South’s game against West Iredell with the “Commissioner of High School football” Carl Ford.
Go to a game tonight, folks. And be nice.
•Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.