High school football: West and East scheduled to start on road tonight
By Mike London
Friday football …
Mooresville at West Rowan
Tonight’s meeting between West Rowan and Mooresville will be the 50th in the long-running series.
West opened in 1959 and the Falcons were playing the neighboring Blue Devils, who are just 14 miles away, by 1960.
Mooresville leads the series 27-22 largely on the strength of 8-2 dominance in the decade of the 1960s.
West finally achieved its first victory against Mooresville in 1967. That 8-1-1 squad was West’s first really strong team.
The 1970s and 1980s were a dead heat, with both teams winning nine decisions.
The teams didn’t meet for a decade following a 1990 Mooresville victory, but the rivalry was rekindled in 2000 with an exciting third-round 3A playoff win by the Blue Devils, who beat the Falcons 36-29.
Mooresville beat West 49-46 in overtime in 2001, probably the most exciting game ever played in the series. West lost despite 210 rushing yards by Ben Hampton.
West temporarily took control of the series during Hall of Fame coach Scott Young’s great run. West beat Mooresville twice in 2005, avenging that loss in the 2000 state playoffs, and won every game played between the two schools between 2003-2010.
On opening night in 2011, Mooresville stopped West Rowan’s 46-game winning streak, the nation’s longest at the time.
But the series has taken another swing in recent years. Mooresville has won the last two and five of the last six, including a 21-7 victory in 2018.
West has high hopes for 2019, with a host of returning linemen and DBs. West returns one of the county’s studs in receiver Jalen Houston, who already has accumulated 100 career catches and 2,235 receiving yards. He’s scored 32 touchdowns. He’s tied for 12th in county history in career receptions and is seventh in receiving yards. He has a great chance to become the county’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
Mooresville is recovering from the loss of Gavin Sharpe, a Blue Devil player who lost his life in the preseason in a non-football related tragedy.
Coach Thad Wells has talented players returning in QB Hunter DeBerardino, receivers Keshaun Black and Justin Torrence and backs Glenwood Robinson and Ashton Edstrom.
Given the recent history of the series, Mooresville has to be favored tonight, but it’s also West’s chance to make a statement after back-to-back 6-6 seasons under coach Joe Nixon.
East Rowan at North Stanly
East Rowan leads the series 17-7.
East won the first meeting in 1966 and has never trailed in the series.
North Stanly won for the first time in 1971.
North Stanly’s triumphs have included a forfeit victory in 1973 and an overtime win in 1989.
East got an overtime win over the Comets in 2006.
The schools are only 18.4 miles apart, but they didn’t play from 1993-2004. The series was dormant again from 2007-2016.
North Stanly won the 2017 meeting, but East Rowan opened the 2018 season with a victory over the Comets. That was a significant East success as North Stanly had a record-setting team last season that was one of the best in 1A and may have been the best in school history.
North Stanly has lost a host of stellar guys. An all-star offensive backfield was wiped out by graduation. The five leading tacklers also graduated.
East was a pretty stout 6-6 last year under coach John Fitz, including victories over North Stanly and South Iredell that were among the best wins for any Rowan program in 2018.
East has a lot of offensive linemen back, as well as an experienced QB (Logan Forbis has 1,296 career passing yards) and a tough running back (Sammy Pinckney has 1,615 career rushing yards). East has to replace some of the county’s top players — Christian Bennett, Gabe Hinceman, Elton Hooper, Hunter Eagle — but East has a good chance to beat North Stanly again.
Davie, trying to bounce back from a 3-8 season (0-5 Central Piedmont Conference), faces Greensboro Page in Mocksville.
Davie, with returning QB Nate Hampton, is loaded as far as skill positions and defensive backs, with some questions on the offensive line.
Page is tremendously talented, as usual, but quite young. Pirates to watch include QB Javondre Paige, defensive lineman Demarkus Bailey and linebacker Isaiah Oglesby.
Page won 35-28 on the field last season, although that victory later became a forfeit loss. Davie’s last win (on the field) in the series was in 2016.
A.L. Brown is off tonight and will open at home on Aug. 30 against Ashbrook.
The Wonders only have 10 games this season. They may have less than 11 again next season. West Cabarrus will be added to the schedule in 2020, but that may create some complications with keeping Carson and Davie.
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