Prep Football: Previews for Week 3
Published 10:50 pm Thursday, September 1, 2016
The picks were 3-1 last week, which would be an acceptable success rate, except that the miss came in a game in which Davie County walloped West Rowan, 41-0.
It isn’t every Friday that a team picked to lose, instead wins by 41.
That Davie won wasn’t a surprise — at least 60 percent of the world believed the War Eagles would end a seven-year run of futility against the Falcons and sports editor Dennis Davidson assured me that they would.
Still, the magnitude of Davie’s victory was stunning. Even the most optimistic Davie fan didn’t expect the War Eagles to win by 41. No one expected West to be shut out for the first time since 2002.
Davie and North Rowan have been the feel-good stories in the early going. Both face major tests at home tonight — weather permitting. Davie and North play each other on Sept. 9
It’s risky picking undefeated Davie to lose — that hasn’t worked out all that well the first two weeks — but the War Eagles are playing Dudley, so they’re once again picked to lose. If the War Eagles beat Dudley, I’ll cheerfully jump on the bandwagon for the ride to the state championship.
North plays at home against Statesville, the start of a challenging stretch of non-conference games for the Cavaliers. Two opposing coaches have told me North’s defense is very legit, and I’m also convinced, for what it’s worth.
“Defensively, North is stinkin’ good,” East Rowan coach Kenneth McClamrock said. “At a lot of places, North is as good as they were two years ago.”
“Stinkin’ good” apparently is even better than “really good.”
After getting its standard win against South Rowan, A.L. Brown will now claim its annual win against Northwest Cabarrus.
Carson and Salisbury both are coming off rough and disappointing weeks. I’ll take the Cougars to rebound stronger in that tussle.
West gets a week off to regroup. South also gets a week off to recuperate.
East Rowan played Concord on Thursday due to fears of Hurricane Hermine. The picks (only 4-4 so far) could’ve used a boost from that almost automatic pick. This is not a “9” year, and East, which opened in 1959, only has beaten Concord in “9” years — 1969, 1979 and 2009.
Carson (0-1) at Salisbury (1-1)
What happened in 2015: Carson won, 27-13. Salisbury scored its TDs on defense and special teams. Carson ran the ball pretty well and got a huge pick-6 from cornerback Brenden Westbrook.
The series: Salisbury leads 5-4, but the Cougars have won the last three. Salisbury romped 68-28 in 2012 when it had a backfield of Justin Ruffin, Brian Bauk, Keion Adams and Max Allen.
History: Carson coach Joe Pinyan, who guided Salisbury to a state championship in 2010, returns to Ludwig Stadium. Pinyan was 5-1 coaching Salisbury against Carson. He’s 3-0 coaching Carson against Salisbury.
Watch for: Both teams are still not settled at quarterback. Both will probably play more than one. Both teams started OK last week, but Carson faltered in the second quarter against North, while Salisbury struggled in the second half against East Rowan.
Pick: Carson 21, Salisbury 13.
Statesville (1-0) at North Rowan (2-0)
What happened in 2015: Statesville’s 35-21 win was keyed by quarterback Travis Ramseur (now at Winston-Salem State), who rushed 23 times for 225 yards.
The series: Statesville leads 4-1-1. The lone North win was a 39-33 thriller at Greyhound Hollow in 2013.
Watch for: Statesville QBs Jai Hogue, who had five rushing TDs in a 40-20 win against Hickory, and Bryant Young are both former West Rowan Falcons, and former West coach Scott Young is now on the staff at Statesville as a volunteer assistant. North QB Corbin Smith, WR Alonzo Sirleaf and RB Jaleel Webster have been good in the early going, and North’s defense has been a brick wall against the run. Pass-rusher Zion DeBose has been disruptive and destructive.
Pick: North Rowan 24, Statesville 14.
NW Cabarrus (0-1) at A.L. Brown (2-0)
What happened in 2015: Wonders romped, 56-7, in a mercy-rule, running-clock game.
Series: Wonders lead 36-3-1. The Wonders have won the last 32 meetings. Northwest hasn’t tasted victory since it whipped the Wonders, 18-0, in 1976.
History: The Wonders nearly blanked the Trojans for the decade of the 1980s, posting shutouts annually from 1980-88.
In 1997-98, Nick Maddox years, the Wonders pummeled the Trojans, 70-0 and 97-0.
Watch for: Northwest has a new head coach (Brandon Gentry) and former West Rowan and North Rowan assistant Steven Williams is the new defensive coordinator.
Pick: A.L. Brown 49, NW Cabarrus 0.
Dudley (2-0) at Davie County (2-0)
What happened in 2015: Dudley demolished Davie, 56-14. It was 35-8 at the half.
History: A Davie team directed by future Guilford All-American Adam Smith had Dudley on the ropes in the 2011 state playoffs but lost on a Hail Mary in the closing seconds.
Dudley won the 4A state title in 2013 and won all its games on the field in 2014 before forfeiting the entire season. Dudley was 13-2 in 2015, falling to Charlotte Catholic in the 4A West final.
The last 3-0 start for Davie was in 2006. That team finished 12-2.
Watch for: Davie has done everything right in its first two games in all three phases, but the War Eagles will be up against terrific talent. Dudley QB Hendon Hooker, a Virginia Tech commit, threw for five TDs in a 58-7 waltz against Ragsdale. Dudley DB D.J. Crossen recently committed to UNC.
Davie’s passing combination of Chris Reynolds-to-Cooper Wall accounted for a 50-yard TD against Dudley last season.
Dudley 35, Davie 21.