Prep Football: Picks, previews for Oct. 27

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 27, 2017

By Mike London

Prep previews and picks …

It’s late October, and Rowan County football teams remain in search of a signature victory against an opponent outside the county’s borders.

North Rowan is a solid 7-2, although the only team the Cavaliers beat that owns a winning record is Salisbury, and that was back on opening night. North Rowan was battered at North Stanly last week, turning the ball over often in its first major test in a long time and losing, 35-7.

North Rowan’s second and third-best wins came against Lexington (4-4) and South Stanly (4-5).

The Cavaliers have a chance for redemption tonight on the road at West Montgomery. There’s a lot on the line. It’s a game for second place in the Yadkin Valley Conference and the second-place team in the league gets an automatic playoff berth and projects to get a first-round bye in the 1AA playoffs. North will be in the West bracket, while West Montgomery is expected to be in the 1AA East bracket. North Rowan will be in the playoffs as a wild card if it falters tonight — all wild cards will be determined by MaxPreps rankings — but it would be nice to win and move closer to that first-round bye.

Salisbury (6-2) is officially in the 2A playoffs. While the Hornets entertain hopes of upsetting powerful North Davidson on the road tonight, they are headed for third place in a nine-team league. Salisbury projects to fall into the smaller half of the 2A West bracket, and the Hornets project to be a No. 8 seed, assuming they can beat South Rowan in their final regular-season game. If they do grab that No. 8 seed, they’ll be home for the first round of the playoffs, which would be nice. The bad news is the 2A West bracket is expected to include powerhouses such as Reidsville and Mountain Heritage.

Who have the Hornets won against this year? Their best win actually was last week against East Davidson (6-4). That’s the only Salisbury victim that currently owns a winning mark.

West Rowan (5-4) controls its own fate. As a six-team league, the North Piedmont Conference gets two automatic playoff berths. West will finish second if it can win against Carson and Statesville to close the regular season. West projects to make the playoffs as a wild card, if it wins against Carson, but loses to Statesville.

West Rowan would fall into the smaller half of the 3A West bracket. That bracket probably will include Charlotte Catholic, Robinson, Crest and Weddington, among others. MaxPreps rankings will be used to determine who the wild card teams are.

West  Rowan has beaten one team this season that owns a winning record. That was North Rowan. West’s biggest win other than that was against Concord (4-5).

Carson is 2-1 in the NPC, so it’s still alive to finish in the league’s top two and get an automatic playoff berth. That would require a pretty major upset tonight against the Falcons, given the history of that series and Carson’s injury report, plus a shock-the-world upset next week against first-place South Iredell.

Given the low expectations early on, Carson (3-6) is two plays away from having a remarkable season. If the Cougars had been able to win cliffhangers against Central Cabarrus and Statesville, they’d be an amazing story right now.

South Rowan (2-7) has made strides but doesn’t project as a playoff team. East Rowan (2-7) had a decent start but it hasn’t gone well lately.

In the South Piedmont Conference, A.L. Brown (8-1)  and Robinson (7-2) are both 3-0 in the league heading into tonight’s game, and they’re going to finish 1-2 in a league with two guaranteed playoff berths. Tonight’s game will determine who is 1 and who is 2.

The Wonders will be in the 3AA West bracket, a bracket that’s expected to include Mount Tabor, South Iredell, A.C. Reynolds and the only team that beat the Wonders —  Marvin Ridge.

Davie (4-5)  won’t finish in the top two in the Central Piedmont Conference, but it has played a killer schedule, boasts a lofty MaxPreps ranking, and projects to make the small half of the 4A West bracket as a wild-card team. Davie projects to be in a difficult bracket with teams such as Harding, Hickory Ridge, Vance, Porter Ridge, South Caldwell and Mooresville. Davie has a tossup game against East Forsyth tonight. East Forsyth appears destined for the 4A East bracket.

The ADM  numbers used for determining school size (A or AA) will be released the last week of the regular season.