Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2013

Ranked No. 1 in 2A after six impressive wins, North Rowan takes a break tonight. The Cavaliers start their five-game CCC season next week. Based on what’s happened to this point — North has outscored its opponents 220-91, and they’ve been pretty good opponents — the Cavaliers are in excellent position to run the regular-season table, something the program hasn’t accomplished since 1985.
At Salisbury and South Rowan, both 0-5, they’ve faced brutal schedules and are just looking for a win — and a win over anyone will do.
On paper, Salisbury is in over its head again tonight when it travels to face unbeaten 4A Southeast Guilford. South, at least has a fighting chance at home against SPC opponent Cox Mill.
A quick check of the record book indicates that since 1958 — we’ll use 1958 because that’s when North Rowan, oldest of the consolidated schools opened — 26 Rowan teams have started 0-5. There have been a pair of 0-5 teams in the same year five times, counting this season, with all occurring recently.
East Rowan and South in 2005; Carson and South in 2006 — that was Carson’s first year — and the same duo again in 2007. Plus East and South in 2011.
An important thing to note is that most of those hungry-for-a-win pairs were headed for an eventual collision as conference opponents.
Obviously, South and Salisbury won’t be meeting each other. They aren’t in the same conference, although they probably should be. South is closer in size to 2A Salisbury now then it is to most of the schools it’s competing with in the SPC.
In case you’re wondering, the last time West dealt with an 0-5 start was in 1984.
Salisbury is 0-5 for the first time since 2001. That was a tough stretch for the Hornets, who also started 0-5 in 1998 and 1999.
There’s some hope for the 0-5s. North started 0-5 as recently as 2008, and look where the Cavaliers are now.
There’s also hope in that several county teams got in early holes and made inspirational comebacks.
South’s 1999 team made the most startling rise-from-the-ashes rally I can recall. That team started 1-3 and stood 1-7 when it suddenly won its last three games and made the playoffs. Take your hats off to Rick Vanhoy, who was the head coach, for that comeback.
South’s 2006 team, playing in 4A and the first team coached by Vanhoy’s successor, Jason Rollins, didn’t make the playoffs, but it did turn an 0-6 start into a respectable 3-8 finish. Take your hats off to Rollins for that one. That team was 3-0 in the only three games it had any sort of chance in.
Salisbury went 0-11 once — that was in 1999 — so the win-watch is probably tensest at South right now. Officially, South has never lost them all, although South’s 1970 team did lose them all on the field. East forfeited a 13-6 win to South that year because of an ineligible player.
So do Salisbury and South break through tonight? Common Sense says probably not. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed for both of them.
The picks were 12-1 last week (the miss was Cox Mill’s overtime loss to Northwest Cabarrus). Thank you Carson for a late comeback.
The much-maligned picks are a respectable 34-7 for the season.
Besides the OT loss to Northwest, Cox Mill lost to East Rowan by a PAT. It’s not like the Chargers are bad: Cox Mill 35, South 21
Salisbury has been shut out three times, while Southeast Guilford has been crushing people. It’s hard to be optimistic: SE Guilford 49, Salisbury 7
Carson has been finding ways to win tough games, but the Cougars will have to be mistake-free just to stay in this one. Carson fans are excited about their first home game, but West Rowan is rolling and has smashed its last three opponents: West 28, Carson 10
There hasn’t been much talk about it, but East faces a critical road game at Hickory Ridge. It’s a must-win if East is going to have a successful season. Common Sense says the Mustangs will respond: East 35, Hickory Ridge 24
It’s frying pan-to-fire for Davie in the dog-eat-dog CPC. Davie couldn’t outscore Reagan at home, so it’s a big underdog in Welcome against a big rival: North Davidson 35, Davie 21
A.L. Brown isn’t favored at MECKA opponent Vance, but the Wonders have solved the defensive issues of 2012 and they usually thrive in an underdog role: A.L. Brown 27, Vance 21
Speaking of the MECKA, it’s fun picking those automatic Mallard Creek and Hough games. It helps the Common Sense percentage.
MECKA: Mallard Creek 54, Hopewell 14; North Meck 34, West Charlotte 14; Hough 42, Robinson 13
CPC: Mount Tabor 27, West Forsyth 24; R.J. Reynolds 28, Parkland 8
SPC: In the battle of unbeatens at Concord: Concord 35, Central Cabarrus 28
BONUS PICK: NW Cabarrus 10, Mount Pleasant 7