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Common Sense: Now the real SPC games begin

It’s a big week for the big South Piedmont Conference. The nine-team league is getting into conference games now. The lone exception is West Rowan, which is on a bye. Carson and East Rowan are at home, and South Rowan is on the road.
It’s the start of a fun time because these games count toward playoffs. The conference champions get an automatic bid into the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A or 3AA playoffs. So, the nonconference games in the first few weeks provide a gauge to predict what could happen in the league. These next eight weeks mean much more than a smattering of nonconference games. The South Piedmont has three unbeatens, five one-loss teams with Cox Mill being the only team that has been on the wrong end in two games.
Still, in the scheme of playoffs and conference standings, everyone is 0-0.
Concord is a solid choice to be champions in 2014 after the Spiders won it all last year. With a player like Rocky Reid on the roster, it’s hard not to pick them to be on top of the SPC again. Central Cabarrus could be right up there again. West Rowan can’t be kept down for long. Carson, in its second season under Joe Pinyan, could sneak up on teams in the SPC’s upper echelon.
And away we go.
Common Sense went 3-1 last week, correctly picking wins for West Rowan and Davie County plus the loss for North Rowan. Weddington survived a weather-delayed game with Brown, and handed Common Sense a loss.
Oh well. Everyone knows Common Sense isn’t perfect. It definitely won’t be the last time that happens.
Common Sense is 9-5 on the season.
Now, onto this week’s games.
Central Cabarrus at Carson
The magic number for the Cougars’ first two games has been 42. They scored 42 points en route to a win against Salisbury in the season opener. They also allowed 42 points in a Week 2 loss to North Rowan. With that said, Central Cabarrus has neither reached nor allowed a team to reach that benchmark yet this season. That’s got to be a good sign for the Cougars, right? Maybe.
Common Sense pick: Carson 35, Central Cabarrus 28
Cox Mill at East Rowan
The Mustangs are coming off a bye before jumping into conference play. They’ve played opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to teams from Rowan County. They opened with North Rowan and then faced Salisbury. Sam Wyrick has proved himself to be the one to stop when it comes to the Mustangs’ offense. The senior quarterback passed for 299 yards and five touchdowns against the Hornets two weeks ago. More of that, and the Mustangs will be winners on Friday,
Common Sense pick: East Rowan 21, Cox Mill 17
South Rowan at Northwest Cabarrus
This one is a toss up. South Rowan has to deal with the temporary loss of starting quarterback Aaron Kennerly to a shoulder injury, but the Raiders have had two weeks to get adjusted to that. Northwest Cabarrus, however, is also coming off a bye. The Trojans have not scored more than 20 points in a game.
Common Sense is going out on a limb this week. If South Rowan’s defense can play like it did against South Iredell, the Raiders have a good chance of winning this game.
Common Sense pick: South Rowan 17, Northwest Cabarrus 10
Salisbury at Lake Norman
Stopping Josh Ladowski will be the Hornets’ key in this game. Ladowski passed for 228 yards, ran for another 155, and accounted for five total touchdowns. Expect more of the same this year. In a loss to Hough last week, Ladwoski had 390 total yards and passed for three touchdowns. How the Hornets handle this mini-version of Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M years, will determine their fate in this game.
Common Sense pick: Lake Norman 45, Salisbury 14
North Rowan at Davie County
This is the only game this week that features two teams with winning records. Davie County is coming off of its not-too-unexpected win over Lexington. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are coming off their first regular-season loss in two years. It’s a 2A team on the road at a 4A school, but that sometimes means absolutely nothing. This one has the chance to be really good or really ugly.
Common Sense pick: North Rowan 28, Davie County 24
Berry Academy at A.L. Brown
Brown has not gotten off to a fast start this season. The Wonders fell behind early last week in their 10-point loss to Weddington. That has probably been a point of emphasis this week as Brown prepares for Berry.
Berry is a tough team to get a read on though. The Cardinals shut out East Mecklenburg 35-0 before they got rolled 54-13 by Mallard Creek last week.
Although it’s also hard to get a read on the Wonders.
Common Sense pick: Brown 20, Berry 14

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