Common Sense Picks for Week 10
Got two calls today that we didn’t want to hear, but we knew that they would come.
To protect their identities, let’s call Thursday’s callers Rudy from Rockwell and Greg from Granite Quarry,
“You picked East last, didn’t you?” was the basic point of both calls.
Actually, no. Just to set the record straight, in the fearless preseason NPC predictions published in the Post’s award-winning football edition, the Mustangs were forecast to finish fifth in the seven-team NPC. Statesville was picked to win, with West Rowan second.
Common Sense never questioned East’s talent, only its depth. But the Mustangs (6-3, 5-0) stayed healthy where they had to stay healthy and they have performed beyond all expectations except their own.
As East enters its regular-season finale, Common Sense can state without fear of contradiction that the Mustangs will not finish fifth or fourth or third.
They will either be first (if they win at Statesville) or they will be second.
There are some who believe the Post has become too swept up in Mustang Mania during East’s five-game winning streak, but Common Sense would argue that East, as of Oct. 19, is the biggest story in local football.
It’s not news that West Rowan, Davie and A.L. Brown are 7-2. West and Davie are good every year. In Kannapolis, 7-2 has diehards ready to leap off high ledges.
It’s not news that Salisbury is 6-2. The Hornets win their league at least half the time.
Yes, it is news that North Rowan is 6-3, but not a huge surprise. Most penciled in the Cavaliers for 7-4 or 6-5, so they’re ahead of schedule, and kudos to coach Joe Nixon for a super job, but they aren’t going to win the YVC. The young Cavaliers are talented, but they would be bigger news had they been able to beat Albemarle in a showdown similar to the one East faces tonight at Statesville.
Which brings us to East. A year ago, the Mustangs went 1-9 and didn’t get that lonely win until Week 9. Yet, it’s mostly the same guys who will take the field tonight competing for the school’s first conference title in 15 years and first outright title in 42 years. Now that’s a compelling story.
Madison Hedrick, a senior running back who is 5-foot-nothing, but a very fast 5-foot nothing, is the beating heart of the Mustangs. An all-county DB in 2011, he moved over to offense this season and has played as hard as anyone has ever played. He sat in the locker room after East demolished South last week, still not sure if he was dreaming. To go, in one year, from getting hammered every Friday to actually beating the wheels off people, is a lot to deal with.
“I always believed we could play like this, and we put in the work in the offseason to make it happen,” he said.
East got chewed up and spit out 30-0 by Statesville a year ago. East rushed 29 times for minus 5 yards. Seriously, minus 5.
Hedrick admits the Mustangs were scared of the Greyhounds a year ago. He also insists that East fearing anyone is in the past.
Statesville has Shrine Bowlers in Tristan Mumford and Carlis Parker. East’s only Shrine Bowler will be coach Danny Misenheimer, who played in the 1999 game.
“Statesville’s extremely talented, and they have kids who can turn that 3-yard pass into a 75-yard touchdown if you miss an assignment,” Misenheimer said. “Mumford is a great linebacker. Both cornerbacks are beasts. We can’t turn it over and we have to do what we do – 3 or 4 yards a time. We need to play perfect.”
A lot of people are going to see if East can play perfect. One is Alvin Smith, a noted local athlete who played for Boyden’s 1955 football state champs and was the first batter in the 1955 American Legion World Series. Smith says he hasn’t been to Statesville High since he was playing, but a lot of others, he’s been caught up in Mustang Mania.
Statesville 21, East 14
Should be a great game, but Statesville’s talent level is overwhelming.
West Rowan 35, Carson 14
Carson wants to run it, but running the ball against West usually means bruises, not yards.
Salisbury 24, Thomasville 21
Mazur with a last-minute field goal.
North Rowan 27, West Montgomery 16
Warriors have been a thorn for North, but not this time.
A.L. Brown 42, NW Cabarrus 21
Even with all the injuries, Wonders have been held below 38 points only once.
Davie 17, Reagan 14
CPC is tough this year. Another test for War Eagles.