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The NCHSAA released its ADM (Average Daily Membership) figures this week, numbers that tell us exactly how many students go to each high school.
The NCHSAA uses those numbers to determine who’s big and who’s little for the state football playoffs. You know the drill by now. If you’re you’re in the big half, you’re 3AA, and if you’re in the small half, you’re 3A.
Thse ADM numbers, which range from Raleigh Enloe’s whopping 2,999 students to tiny Creswell’s 111 students tell us quite a bit beyond the pairings.
And before we go any futher, Common Sense will go on record as stating that all 689 students at North Rowan aren’t outstanding football players, it just seems that way sometimes.
3A South Rowan’s ADM figure is a meager 961, which explains part of the struggles of South football.
While the Raiders have 500 fewer students, they are competing in the SPC with relatively mammoth Hickory Ridge (ADM: 1,464). Hickory Ridge could be a 4A, as it actually has a higher ADM than 4A A.L. Brown (1,439).
SPC school Cox Mill (ADM: 1,404) isn’t that far behind Hickory Ridge.
While Central Cabarrus (1,262), Concord (1,233), Carson (1,178), Northwest Cabarrus (1,133), West Rowan (1,076) and even East Rowan (1,057) are normal, 3A-sized schools, even those schools have talent-pool advantages over South, which actually is smaller now than many 2As.
West Caldwell (ADM: 1,053), which plays Salisbury in the 2A soccer playoffs Saturday, is bigger than South. So is East Davidson (1,024), which competes in the 2A CCC with North Rowan and Salisbury.
Besides South Rowan, the local school that is challenged ADM-wise is A.L. Brown. In the MECKA, the Wonders (1,439) are tangling with giants such as Mallard Creek (2,401) and Hough (2,313). If you’re wondering why Mallard Creek plays better football than the Wonders, those extra 962 students might be the reason.
There isn’t aan exact correlation between school size and football success — Scotland County (ADM: 1,780) might be the state’s second-best team and North Rowan is getting it done with its 689 — but, it stands to reason, that the bigger the school, the bigger the pool, and the better the football team.
The good news for the Wonders is that when the playoffs come, they say goodbye to the Mallard Creeks and Houghs and play in the small half of 4A with people closer to their size.
But there is no good news for South. The Raiders may not see the playoffs for a long time to come.
The brackets come out Saturday, and we’ll see for sure who’s in and who’s out and who’s going where to play whom.
It’s certainly not written in stone, but look for Carson, West and East — yes, East — in the small half of the 3A West bracket. North will be in the small half of the 2A West bracket, although that’s a serious half that also will likely include Winston-Salem Carver, Reidsville and Shelby. A.L. Brown will be in the 4A West bracket but expect a first-round road game.
It appears Davie makes the 4A West bracket only if it wins tonight. Salisbury isn’t likely to make it, but check the brackets just to make sure.
You never know.
Common Sense was 13-2 last week — one miss was the West-Cox Mill wildness — for a 91-20 mark for the season.
The picks:
North Rowan 35, Salisbury 14: Cavs complete their first 11-0 regular season.
CCC: Thomasville 27, Lexington 12; East Davidson 18, West Davidson 14
West Rowan 28, Hickory Ridge 21; Surely the Falcons won’t go 5-6.
East Rowan 35, South Rowan 13: Mustangs should end three-game slide. South skid could reach 14 straight, dating back to 2012.
Carson 24, Cox Mill 21: Common Sense senses that a Fox Correll field goal will decide it.
SPC: Central Cabarrus 49, NW Cabarrus 14
A.L. Brown 29, Hopewell 21: Wonders clinch the bronze medal.
MECKA: Mallard Creek 56, North Meck 13; West Charlotte 15, Robinson 14; Hough 42, Vance 21
Mount Tabor 21, Davie 14: Davie getting healthier, but War Eagles haven’t beaten a winning team.
CPC: Reagan 45, R.J. Reynolds 17; West Forsyth 28, North Davidson 24

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