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Prep Football: Previews, picks for Week 9

Salisbury Post rankings: 1. A.L. Brown (7-0), 2. West Rowan (6-1), 3. Davie (3-5), 4. Carson (4-3), 5. East Rowan (2-5), 6. North Rowan (2-5), 7. Salisbury (2-5), 8. South Rowan (0-7).
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Football in the 2A Central Carolina Conference isn’t always great, but at least it’s always interesting. All six league members have claimed a football championship in the last 11 years. That’s something not many conferences can say.
Lexington, co-champ with Salisbury in 2004, has experienced the longest title drought.
The league, which produced six football state champs in the 1980s and three more in the 1990s, isn’t what it used to be. Even with state titles sub-divided since 2002, the only CCC state-title winner in the last 15 years was Salisbury’s 2010 2AA champs.
Unless amazing events occur, there won’t be a CCC state champ again this year.
North Rowan’s ugly 18-13 victory against Lexington qualified as the shootout of the CCC’s opening week of league games. Lexington scored on defense, while North Rowan, which turned the ball over five times, won the game by blocking a punt.
The other defensive-minded CCC scores for Week 1: Thomasville 14, West Davidson 0; East Davidson 14, Salisbury 7.
It’s a year when there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of difference between the league’s best and the league’s worst. Let’s stick with the Cavaliers as the favorites until someone proves otherwise. North is 11-0 in CCC games since returning from the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference for the 2013 season.
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The picks, counting North’s weather-delayed win against Lexington last Thursday, are 35-4 for the season. The picks were 5-1 last Friday, with the miss coming when East Davidson rained on Salisbury’s homecoming parade.
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NORTH ROWAN at WEST DAVIDSON
RECORDS: North (2-5, 1-0 CCC). West Davidson (2-5, 0-1 CCC)
LAST WEEK: North 18, Lexington 13 (on Thursday). West Davidson lost, 14-0, to Thomasville.
LAST MEETING: North scored 34 points in the second quarter and destroyed the Green Dragons, 62-8.
THE SERIES: North leads 18-4. West Davidson’s most recent win in the series occurred in 2008, which was also the last year West Davidson won the CCC.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Xavier Haley (596 rushing yards, 6 TDs) has been North’s most consistent offensive force. Zion DeBose, a junior defensive end, should be a threat for a sack on every West Davidson pass play.
OUTLOOK: The teams have the same overall record and similar stats, but North has played a tougher schedule. North could get its first shutout since 2013.
PICK: North 17, West Davidson 0
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SALISBURY at LEXINGTON
RECORDS: Salisbury (2-5, 0-1 CCC). Lexington (4-2, 0-1 CCC)
LAST WEEK: East Davidson 14, Salisbury 7. Lexington fell to North Rowan, 18-13.
LAST MEETING: The Hornets rushed for 329 yards, including 203 by Antwond Glenn, and beat Lexington 30-20 at Ludwig Stadium.
THE SERIES: Lexington leads 38-37-4, but the Hornets have won 12 straight meetings since the Yellow Jackets romped 41-14 in 2002. The Hornets’ winning streak began with Joe Pinyan’s 10-year tenure as head coach, and Ryan Crowder has kept it going the last two seasons. Even when the Hornets went 2-9 in 2013, they beat Lexington.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Glenn steamrolled the Yellow Jackets last year. Lexington QB/safety Daniel Reid-Bennett is big and fast and has the look of a D-I athlete. The Hornets will have to contain him.
OUTLOOK: With both teams starting 0-1, this is basically an elimination game in the CCC race. It’s almost certain to be low-scoring, as both are better on defense than offense.
PICK: Salisbury 14, Lexington 13
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CARSON at CONCORD
RECORDS: Carson (4-3, 2-3 SPC). Concord (6-1, 5-0 SPC).
LAST WEEK: Carson trampled South Rowan, 51-10. Concord didn’t scare anyone in a 23-9 win against Cox Mill.
LAST MEETING: Carson rushed for 340 yards and traded scores with the Spiders all night before losing, 35-26.
THE SERIES: Concord leads 3-0, including a 30-21 playoff victory in 2010 against the strongest team Carson has ever had.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Carson fullback Dylan Livengood (422 rushing yards) scored three TDs last week. Carson linebacker Ryan Bearden has to get pressure on Concord’s outstanding QB Keenan Black.
OUTLOOK: The talk all season has been that Concord isn’t as good as usual, but all the Spiders do is win. They’re 21-0 in the SPC the last three seasons and they’ve won six in a row this year since losing to A.L. Brown, a still-unbeaten 4A team. Concord is tied for first in the SPC with West Rowan.
Carson is 0-2 against Cabarrus schools this season, losing hard-fought games to Central Cabarrus and Robinson.
PICK: Concord 21, Carson 10
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CENTRAL CABARRUS at SOUTH ROWAN
RECORDS: Central Cabarrus (2-4, 1-4 SPC). South Rowan (0-7, 0-5 SPC).
LAST WEEK: Central scared West Rowan before losing, 21-14. South Rowan was competitive for a half with Carson, but lost 51-10.
LAST MEETING: Central won 21-0 in 2014.
THE SERIES: South leads 10-5, but the Vikings have won the last four meetings. Central buried South 62-0 in 2013 and outscored the Raiders 66-31 in 2012. South’s last win was in 2010.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Linebacker Brian Cagler led South’s defense against Carson. Central receiver Joseph Dorton has been doing some damage, and Demarcus Alexander rushed for 94 yards last week against a stout West Rowan defense.
OUTLOOK:The toughest part of the Vikings’ schedule is behind them and they have a good chance to close the regular season with four straight victories. Central has a big speed advantage over South.
Central defensive coordinator Daniel Crosby is a former SR Raider and wouldn’t mind seeing his guys pitch a shutout, but it’s hard to blank South out when Brennan Lambert can kick 50-yard field goals.
PICK: Central Cabarrus 28, South Rowan 3
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HOUGH at A.L. BROWN
RECORDS: Hough (6-1, 2-0 MECKA). A.L. Brown (7-0, 2-0 MECKA).
LAST WEEK: Hough shocked most of the world by beating defending 4AA state champ Mallard Creek, 31-28, in overtime. The Wonders actually won twice last week, battering highly regarded Vance on Monday and holding off Robinson, 28-21, on Friday.
LAST MEETING: Hough scored 24 points in the second quarter and spanked the Wonders, 44-20.
THE SERIES: The Huskies from Cornelius lead 2-0.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: A.L. Brown QB Damon Johnson rushed for two TDs against Hough last season. Hough is primarily a passing team and has gotten fine play from junior QB Jackson Gibbs.
OUTLOOK: It’s one of the biggest contests in the state, with A.L. Brown ranked sixth in 4A and Hough ranked 10th. The Wonders have been pretty banged-up, but when you have players such as Johnson, Jayln Cagle and Sandon McCoy, you have a chance against anyone.
PICK: Hough 21, A.L. Brown 17
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DAVIE at NORTH DAVIDSON
RECORDS: Davie (3-5, 1-2 CPC). North Davidson (6-1, 1-1 CPC).
LAST WEEK: Davie was tied after three quarters but lost 36-22 to West Forsyth. North Davidson suffered its first loss, a 40-6 blowout at Reagan.
LAST MEETING: The Black Knights demolished Davie 59-29, putting up an astounding 728 yards of offense, including 435 rushing yards.
THE SERIES: North Davidson has won the last three to take a 25-22 lead.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Davie junior QB Chris Reynolds has 18 TD passes. Safety Nygil Dalton’s pick-six accounted for North Davidson’s only score last week.
OUTLOOK: North Davidson is 4-0 at home in Welcome, while Davie is 1-3 on the road. That means the Knights are likely to bounce back from last week’s debacle.
PICK: North Davidson 27, Davie 22

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