Common Sense: The game within the game
Here’s what Friday’s game in Mount Ulla between Carson and West Rowan will look like: run, run, run, run, run, run some more, hook-and-lateral call by Carson, run, run, run. You get the idea.
That game is going to be won on the ground and in the trenches. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema should be there because it is a prime example of what, before the start of the 2013 season, he called, “normal, American football.” The grass in the middle of the field should take a beating Friday night.
The Falcons will hand off the ball to tailback Harrison Baucom in an effort to grind out yards. Baucom goes into this game as the county’s leading rusher — averaging just shy of 150 yards per game — and with 10 rushing touchdowns. The Cougars are in the bottom three in Rowan County against the run, and they surrender 445.8 yards per game — most in the county by almost 50 yards. All of this points to a heavy dose of Baucom.
Carson counters with the 1-2 punch of Brandon Sloop and Darren Isom. Sloop and Isom combine for 244.4 yards rushing per game and have scored 19 touchdowns on the ground. Getting them going for the Cougars could be a challenge. The Falcons are giving up just 139 rushing yards per game.
The matchup of run offense vs. run defense is what decides the game between this pair of South Piedmont Conference foes.
Common Sense had an OK week last week, going 4-2. The misses were North Rowan’s gutsy victory over Forest Hills and the Cougars’ loss to Mount Pleasant. The overall record stands at 21-9.
Now for this week’s games…
Carson at West Rowan
The Cougars’ defense does not pass the test. Baucom has a good night. There’s also the extra motivation for the Falcons to get revenge for last year’s loss to the Cougars. All of that leads to West Rowan’s faithful celebrating.
Common Sense pick: West Rowan 21, Carson 14
Hickory Ridge at East Rowan
The Ragin’ Bulls are going to come at the Mustangs with running back Jaylen Rudisell. The junior averages 6.2 yards per carry and has scored 11 touchdowns. He leads the way on the ground for Hickory Ridge, which goes for 290 yards rushing per game. East Rowan’s defense, which allows 258 yards rushing per game, cannot get overwhelmed.
The ball will once again be in Samuel Wyrick’s hands. Wyrick, the owner of the East Rowan record for career passing touchdowns, will have to connect with receivers Seth Wyrick and Naquis Caldwell to give East Rowan a chance at the win.
Common Sense pick: Hickory Ridge 49, East Rowan 27
South Rowan at Cox Mill
It’s no secret South Rowan’s key to victory is its defense. The Raiders allow only 235.4 yards and 28.2 points per game.
Using the completely unreliable transitive property of how teams play based on scores against common opponents, Cox Mill’s 56-0 win over Northwest Cabarrus doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the Raiders, who beat Northwest Cabarrus 18-13.
If South Rowan’s defense keeps playing the way it has all season, the Raiders have a shot.
Common Sense pick: Cox Mill 21, South Rowan 9
North Davidson at Davie County
Davie County has its hands full with this week’s opponent. The Black Knights come into this game unbeaten, all but one of those wins coming by double digits. North Davidson has scored 48, 49 and 48 points in its last three games.
The War Eagles’ loss last week ranks among the worst in school history. It wasn’t the margin of victory, but the 58 points Reagan scored rank second most in school history. A loss like that can’t carry over when playing an opponent like North Davidson.
Also, this game should be played on Halloween. Black and orange everywhere.
Common Sense pick: North Davidson 42, Davie County 24
Vance at A.L. Brown
The Wonders’ chances for victory aren’t good, but a loss is not guaranteed. A win in this game instantly puts Brown in the race for the Mecka crown.
Vance has been good all year. The Cougars lost to a resurgent Richmond County in a close 42-37 battle in Week 3. The rest of the Cougars’ games have been blowouts. That includes a 28-7 victory over South Carolina powerhouse Rock Hill South Pointe.
Common Sense pick: Vance 35, A.L. Brown 21