Prep Football: Three games scheduled for tonight
Salisbury Post rankings: A.L. Brown (5-0), West Rowan (4-1), Davie (3-3), Carson (3-2), North Rowan (1-5), East Rowan (1-4), Salisbury (2-4), South Rowan (0-5).
Hurricane Joaquin is expected to dump major rainfall in the area.
Carson-West Rowan, Davie-Reagan and South Rowan-Cox Mill were moved up in anticipation of difficult playing and travel conditions and were played last night.
A.L. Brown at Vance (7 p.m.), Lexington at North Rowan (7:30 p.m.) and East Rowan at Hickory Ridge (7:30 p.m.) are still on the schedule for tonight, with ADs, coaches, fans and players hoping for the best.
Salisbury is off this week at a perfect time between the end of their non-conference schedule and the start of CCC play next week against East Davidson.
The Hornets beat Surry Central last week, becoming the second Rowan team this year to win a game against a team outside the county. West has won three outside the county.
The picks were 4-0 in a rain-shortened effort last week and are 28-2 for the year. West Stokes over North Rowan and Robinson over Carson would not have been difficult picks, but those games were moved up to Thursday and the picks and previews stick to a strict Friday schedule.
LEXINGTON at NORTH ROWAN
RECORDS: Lexington (4-1, 0-0 CCC). North Rowan (1-5, 0-0 CCC).
LAST MEETING: North rushed for 271 yards and won 35-12.
THE SERIES: North Rowan leads 23-15. The Cavaliers have won the last two seasons since returning to the CCC. Lexington’s last win in the series was in 2010. The schools didn’t meet in 2011-12.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: North sophomore back Xavier Haley has 534 rushing yards. Junior defensive end Zion DeBose has 17 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hurries.
Lexington QB Daniel Reid-Bennett is 50-for-70 passing for 706 yards and six TDs.
OUTLOOK: As the conference opener it’s a big game for both teams. It’s a fresh start for North after a difficult non-conference stretch and a five-game losing streak since an opening night win at East Rowan.
For Lexington, which has lost only to strong 4A North Davidson, it’s a chance to prove it’s lofty non-conference record is meaningful. The Yellow Jackets haven’t beaten any powerhouses.
PREDICTION: North Rowan 17, Lexington 14
EAST ROWAN at HICKORY RIDGE
RECORDS: East Rowan (1-4, 0-3 SPC). Hickory Ridge (3-3, 3-1 SPC).
LAST MEETING: The Ragin’ Bulls outscored the Mustangs 49-35 in 2014.
THE SERIES: Hickory Ridge leads 5-1. The Ragin’ Bulls have been bad news for the Mustangs, whether it’s been conference or non-conference. East won the inaugural meeting 28-22 in 2009, but the Bulls have won five straight since then.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: East Rowan junior Max Wall has rushed for 486 yards Senior receiver Naquis Caldwell has 20 catches for 390 yards and five TDs. Junior DB Wesley Porter has been East’s top defender.
Hickory Ridge QB Greg Waslo has thrown for 543 yards while rushing for 440. Jaylen Rudisell, a 215-pound senior, has rushed 19 times for 648 yards.
OUTLOOK: East has lost three straight in the SPC after whipping Salisbury 33-0 for its only victory. Hickory Ridge owns SPC victories against Robinson, Central Cabarrus and Cox Mill, a team that beat the Mustangs.
Both teams lost to Concord. Hickory Ridge gave the Spiders a tougher battle.
Hickory Ridge has run the ball very well for nearly 250 yards a game. East has a chance if it can stand firm against the run and can limit turnovers.
PREDICTION: Hickory Ridge 28, East Rowan 14
A.L. BROWN at CHARLOTTE VANCE
RECORDS: A.L. Brown 5-0, 1-0 MECKA). Vance (4-1, 0-0 MECKA).
LAST MEETING: Vance rolled 48-35 at Memorial Stadium in 2014.
THE SERIES: 1-1. The Wonders outscored Vance 55-40 in 2013.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: A.L. Brown senior quarterback Damon Johnson has thrown for 714 yards. Two-way senior Sandon McCoy has 459 rushing yards and five sacks.
Vance still has running back Donnavan Spencer and receiver Myles Dorn, two guys the Wonders will remember from last year. Spencer, a Western Carolina commit, rolled over the Wonders for 405 rushing yards and four TDs last season. The rushing yards broke the single-game record for a Mecklenburg County player.
OUTLOOK: The Wonders’ defense has been stout, but obviously the challenge gets larger against Vance, a talented offensive team that has topped 40 points three times already.
Vance’s huge offensive line and Spencer demolished the Wonders last season. This one should be more interesting, but Vance, ranked eighth in 4A, has been impressive. Vance lost to South Carolina perennial power South Pointe 41-34 but whipped Virginia power George Washington.
The Wonders are 5-0 for the first time since 2006. If they can make it 6-0, they’ll be ranked in the top 10 in the state poll.
PREDICTION: Vance 28, A.L. Brown 21