Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2013

It’s been a fantastic fall for Rowan County sports.
Salisbury’s girls already have won their third straight golf state championship, and the Salisbury tennis ladies will play for consecutive state title No. 6 on Saturday morning.
On Saturday evening, Carson’s girls again will play for the 3A volleyball championship. It’s harder to get back than it is to get there the first time, and win or lose Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum, the Cougars are champions. They weathered three straight tremendous matches in a five-day span to get back to Raleigh.
In addition to those three elite teams, Salisbury’s Madeline Hoskins and Alexandra Drye already have won the 2A state individual doubles championship.
While Salisbury tennis and golf and Carson volleyball easily won their conference titles, so did Salisbury’s top-ranked boys soccer team, Salisbury’s boys cross country team, Carson’s soccer team, East’s girls tennis team and East’s boy cross country team, a state qualifier.
Then there’s North’s volleyball team, which shared its first conference championship with West Davidson to rank as the pleasant surprise of the fall.
In five of six fall sports, Rowan teams have won championships.
The sixth fall sport is football, and in that arena. Rowan is very likely to win one too, but only one.
In football, it’s pretty much been thank goodness for North. Subtract North’s 9-0, and Rowan teams are 14-31 in the marquee sport.
There have been 10 “county games,” games in which Rowan teams played each other. When you subtract those games and peel away that layer of paint, it really does start to get ugly.
Rowan teams are 13-21 against teams outside the county, and when you take away North’s 7-0, that leaves 6-21. Yes, 6-21.
Not saying North should have 20 guys on the all-county team, just saying it’s been tough times for everyone except the Cavaliers.
It’s hard to find a signature win for any of the other five Rowan schools against an opponent outside the county. Sure, West beat Davie, but Davie’s down. Davie is 3-6. West’s only other win outside the county was against SPC middle-of-the-packer Northwest Cabarrus.
Outside the county, East has won twice. East beat Cox Mill in a squeaker. The Mustangs, for unexplained reasons, also walloped Northwest at Northwest.
Carson has enjoyed exhilirating county wins over East and West, but the Cougars’ only victory against a non-Rowan team was a struggle against 2A non-conference opponent Mount Pleasant.
Salisbury’s only win — period — was against one-win Lexington.
South? Well, the Raiders’ struggles have been well-documented. There’s no need to pile on.
West coach Scott Young and Carson coach Joe Pinyan warned in the preseason that the SPC was going to be a bear, but it’s been even more bearish than anyone figured.
West was supposed to contend with Concord and Central Cabarrus for the title, but West lost tough battles with both Cabarrus powers and also lost at Carson.
East was supposed to challenge for a spot right behind the big three, but the home loss to Carson really jolted the Mustangs’ season.
In the preseason, Carson was perceived as the darkhorse in the league race, but while the grind-it-out Cougars held their own at times, they just couldn’t hang with high-powered Concord and Central for 48 minutes.
The bottom line is that it’s Week 11 of this football season and Cabarrus schools have won 12 of 15 SPC meetings with their Rowan adversaries That’s 80 percent.
None of the Rowan teams have beaten Concord and Central — or Hickory Ridge.
Does that start changing tonight? We’ll see. East can’t be expected to fare well against Central, but West should beat Cox Mill.
As far as Hickory Ridge vs. Carson in the Cabarus-Rowan rubber game of the night, who knows? It’s a really pivotal matchup to sort out the middle of the SPC pack. The Cougars can win, but they have to be the Cougars who showed up for the second half at East and for all four quarters against West.
I’m still convinced that West and Carson are very good teams who are going to be heard from in November, but time is growing short.
If West and Carson can’t make it happen, well, at least there’s North. Thank goodness for North.
The Common Sense picks were 12-3 for a 78-18 season record. Misses included Carson-Northwest and East-Ledford. Carson’s loss stunned me. Carson lost at home to a team West destroyed. East must have been a no-show for its tossup road game at Ledford. If the Mustangs don’t show up tonight, they could lose by 50.
The picks:
As good as the Cavaliers are, there aren’t any easy ones at Cushaw Stadium: North Rowan 28, Thomasville 14
Picking the Hornets for the first time this year, I believe, and being picked by Common Sense isn’t necessarily a positive: Salisbury 27, West Davidson 20
Hard to believe West is part of a four-way tie for third in the SPC, but this is still a stout team. It’s not like Central or Concord overmatched the Falcons: West 42, Cox Mill 14
We know what the Cabarrus vs. Rowan numbers look like, but I’ll take the Cougars in a thriller: Carson 28, Hickory Ridge 27
East’s field house will be named for retired principal Kelly Sparger tonight, but that may be the only highlight: Central Cabarrus 42, East 21
South takes a welcome break from the SPC, but Central Davidson coach Chad Tedder had South’s number when he was at East Rowan: Central Davidson 34, South 21
Anyone’s going to look good to the Wonders after facing Mallard Creek: A.L. Brown 49, West Charlotte 7
A two-game winning streak for the War Eagles is a sure thing: Davie 45, R.J. Reynolds 13
CCC: East Davidson 27, Lexington 21
SPC: Concord 49, NW Cabarrus 28
MECKA: Mallard Creek 63, Robinson 0; Hough 42, North Meck 14; Vance 28, Hopewell 20
CPC: Mount Tabor 56, Parkland 6; North Davidson 31, Reagan 24