High school football: Week 3 preview
By Mike London
It’s already Week 3 of a brief seven-game high school football season.
The key game tonight is East Rowan at West Rowan.
Both teams went 0-2 in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but they get a fresh start tonight with the chance to be 1-0 in the North Piedmont Conference.
Win this one, and it won’t be hard to put the last two weeks in the rearview mirror. Lose this one, and an 0-3 start is pretty hard to overcome in a seven-game season.
East-West is the only Rowan home game that conducted ticket pre-sales this week. As of Thursday, West expected to continue selling tickets at the gate. Tickets are $7. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
North Rowan was able to pick up a non-conference home game for Friday with Hibriten when the schools had their respective opponents (Albemarle and Fred T. Foard) quarantined.
North anticipates no shortage of tickets at the gate, although Hibriten, which is making a trip from Lenoir, is a strong program that usually travels well. Tickets are $6. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $6 for Thomasville at South Rowan. There was no pre-sale. Tickets will be sold at the gate. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
A.L. Brown will celebrate Senior Night when it entertains Cox Mill. That’s a 7 p.m. kickoff.
There was no pre-sale for Salisbury at Lexington, and Hornet fans shouldn’t have any issues if they want to make the short trip to see that one. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Carson is on the road at North Iredell. As of Thursday, Carson still had tickets to sell. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Davie is at R.J. Reynolds.
Hibriten (2-0) at North Rowan (2-0)
It’s great that North Rowan found a game when Albemarle was quarantined, as the Cavaliers only had six games scheduled. They still have an opening on April 2.
North has played a long list of schools in a rich football history that began in 1958, everyone from Albemarle to Winceoff, alphabetically speaking, but never Hibriten.
Hibriten was 3A not long ago and won the 2AA state championship in 2017. Sam Mackey, who coached five seasons at Lexington a while back, is the head coach.
Hibriten is known as the Panthers. The school colors are red and black.
Hibriten is ranked sixth in 2A after mauling Bunker Hill and West Caldwell to start this season.
In the 62-6 win against West Caldwell last week, Hibriten’s Duder Tugman returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and Hibriten scored three safeties in the first half, which may be some sort of record.
North Rowan is off to a nice start under new coach Nygel Pearson and has taken care of Yadkin Valley Conference opponents North Moore and South Stanly convincingly on the road. This will be North’s first home game.
North has put up nearly 700 yards of offense in two games, although it’s going to get a lot more challenging tonight.
Zay Davis has 200 rushing yards and five TDs. Kyree Sims has rushed for four TDs and thrown for two.
Salisbury (1-1, 0-1) at Lexington (0-2, 0-1)
Salisbury should be able to bounce back from the Central Carolina Conference loss to Oak Grove.
It’s been a pretty disastrous start to the season for Lexington, which was outscored 116-14 in its first two outings. In last week’s 66-7 loss to CCC opponent Central Davidson, Lexington allowed 32 points in a quarter.
Salisbury didn’t have its best game last week in a penalty-plagued effort.
But there’s still a lot to like about this team. JyMikaah Wells already has 255 rushing yards and Vance Honeycutt has produced 325 yards rushing and passing.
Salisbury beat Lexington 28-0 in 2019 and has won the last four meetings with the Yellow Jackets.
East Rowan (0-2) at West Rowan (0-2)
Both good teams could use some good news. Both teams really need a win.
Turnovers and penalties wrecked the Mustangs in their opener against Mount Pleasant, but they cut down the miscues in last week’s 21-6 road loss to Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, a team that might be heard from in the 1A state playoffs. That was a one-score game until about two minutes to go.
Sammy Pickney continues to be the workhorse for East’s offense and owns two of the Mustangs’ three touchdowns.
East’s defense improved dramatically against the pass in Week 2, but allowed 251 rushing yards.
West had only one way to go after a rough opener against Salisbury, and there were encouraging signs in Week 2, despite a 35-7 loss to Davie.
Back to full strength West did better job of running the ball and of stopping the run. West actually out-rushed Davie by a lot, but the War Eagles compensated with 200-plus passing yards.
Can West contain Pinckney and can West get its passing game going? West’s receiving corps was basically wiped out by graduation. The Falcons had only 50 passing yards last week.
Akin Robinson rushed for 155 yards for West last week and has accounted for the Falcons’ only touchdown.
West leads the all-time series 30-23-1. West won 31-7 last season and has won the last five meetings since East wiped out the Falcons 59-14 in 2014.
Carson (1-1) at North Iredell (0-1)
Another North Piedmont Conference opener.
North Iredell’s only game was a 19-7 loss to Brevard.
Carson rolled against South Rowan on opening night, but got down 27-0 against Mount Pleasant before losing 27-21 after an exciting comeback.
Carson is throwing more this season and has been well-balanced — 335 passing yards and 312 rushing yards.
Defensively, Carson held South to under 100 yards. Mount Pleasant got 296 last week.
Alex London has thrown TD passes to three different receivers. Jake Harris had five catches last week.
CP Pyle has 133 rushing yards and Jordan Garland has three rushing TDs.
Carson has had as much success against North Iredell as it has anyone. Carson won 35-14 last season and leads the all-time series 7-3.
Thomasville (0-1, 0-1) at South Rowan (1-1, 1-0)
South had a solid defensive effort last week to beat East Davidson 7-3, while Thomasville was finally getting started with a 24-6 loss to North Davidson. Thomasville’s scheduled opener with Reidsville was canceled due to a COVID situation.
QB Landon Thomas and running back Jabrii Carolina lead Thomasville’s offense. They connected for a passing TD last week. The Bulldogs faced a lot of long fields and couldn’t get much going against North Davidson’s stout defense and special teams, but Thomasville always has speed and good athletes.
QB Nathan Chrismon has scored South’s only TD. South ran the ball effectively against East Davidson, but probably will have to throw more to move the chains tonight.
South is 1-15 all-time against the Bulldogs, with the lone victory coming in 2017.
Thomasville won 29-8 in 2018 and rolled 57-7 in 2019.
Davie (2-0) at R.J. Reynolds (1-1)
Davie owns impressive wins against Ragsdale and West Rowan and gets Central Piedmont Conference play started tonight.
Davie back Tate Carney already has eight touchdowns. Alex Summers has thrown for 324 yards, and Jack Reynolds has 12 catches for 158 yards and two TDs.
Defensively, Davie has been just as stout.
Davie is ranked 15th in the state by MaxPreps and 10th in 4A.
Reynolds has had an interesting start — 48-6 win and a 62-6 loss.
Davie outscored the Demons 63-34 in 2019, but lost to RJR in 2018.
Cox Mill (0-2, 0-1) at A.L. Brown (2-0, 2-0)
Cox Mill hasn’t scored in its first two outings, so it’s hard to imagine anything going wrong for the high-powered Wonders on Senior Night.
The Wonders have been getting a lot of offense from QB Cam Kromah and running back Jamison Flowe.
In last week’s 16-0 loss to West Cabarrus, Cox Mill manged just 55 yards of offense, turned it over four times and was 1-for-10 on third-down conversions.
Meanwhile, A.L. Brown was winning a double-overtime thriller at Central Cabarrus.
The Wonders lead the series 7-1 and won 29-19 in 2019,
Cox Mill’s breakthrough win was in 2018.