High school football: Hot road trips in store for Rowan teams

Published 5:01 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

By Mike London

SALISBURY — It’s going to be a steamy football Friday, even muggier than normal for August.

High temperatures of 99 degrees are anticipated for Friday — that would be a near record for Aug. 25 in the area — so starting times for games are being pushed back with the hope of providing a measure of relief for players, coaches and fans.

Sunset is scheduled for 8 p.m. Most games are now scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

It’s a very heavy road week for Rowan County squads, including three trips to Stanly County, which might be unprecedented.

South Rowan is at South Stanly. East Rowan is at North Stanly. Carson is at West Stanly.

North Rowan plays at Forest Hills, down in Marshville, near Wingate University. Salisbury travels to Walkertown, about eight miles northeast of Winston-Salem.

West Rowan is the lone Rowan team that will be playing at home. Davie County visits Mount Ulla. That’s clearly the headliner game of the week any way you look at it. It’s the WSAT game of the week and will be broadcast on 101.7 FM.

Not far south of the county line, A.L. Brown is at home against Northwest Cabarrus in a battle of 1-0 teams that is rightfully garnering a lot of attention.

With the exception of Davie-West, East-North Stanly and A.L. Brown-Northwest, Week 2 is not a week overflowing with tradition.

Week 2 was once an ideal time for non-conference county battles, but that’s no longer the case. This is pretty much a freaky Friday with several first-time-ever match-ups.


Davie (0-1) at West Rowan (0-1), 8 p.m.

History: Davie has won 31 of the 54 meetings. The Falcons own 21 wins in what has been a super series. There have been two ties.

West pulled out a 35-34 decision against the War Eagles in one of the heart-pounding games of the 2022 season, a huge victory that helped West go 9-3.

Davie smacked the Falcons 56-30 in 2021 for its most recent win in the series.

What’s supposed to happen? Davie is favored by 10 points.

West has to move forward without Kayvone Norman (ACL), who was expected to be the workhorse back.

Fortunately, there’s still plenty of firepower on offense with veteran Evan Kennedy and varsity newcomers Jaylen Neely and Kaden Feaster. Sophomore QB Brant Graham showed a lot more good than bad in his first varsity start and threw for a touchdown and ran for two more.

Davie boasts an explosive passing game with QB Ty Miller and made a strong fourth quarter charge at Mooresville last week. losing 31-24 after getting down 21-3.

Expect another shootout between the Falcons and War Eagles.


East Rowan (0-1) at North Stanly (1-0), 8 p.m.

History: East leads the series 18-9. North Stanly won 30-14 in 2022. East’s most recent victory over the Comets came in 2019.

What’s supposed to happen? North Stanly is favored by 24 points.

North Stanly is coming off an impressive 17-12 win against always tough Anson.

Chance Blake led the Comets on a determined comeback that erased a 12-0 deficit.

East was beaten soundly by North Rowan 51-10 on opening night, but there were bright spots, including a 100-yard rushing effort by Tijon Everhart.


South Rowan (1-0) at South Stanly (0-1), 8 p.m.

History: First meeting. South Rowan has never played South Stanly or West Stanly. The Raiders do have substantial history with Albemarle and North Stanly.

What’s supposed to happen? The Raiders are favored by 29 points.

Seriously, South Rowan is favored by 29 — on the road.

Part of that is the Raiders are making some strides. The other part of that is that the South Stanly Bulls were 0-10 in 2022 and are on a 12-game losing skid.

Brooks Overcash (3 TD passes), Jadon Moore (2 TD catches, 1 field goal) and Marshal Faw (2 TD catches, 1 TD pass) had a strong first week.

It’s worth noting that South Stanly’s most recent football victory came in 2021 against Union Academy, the same program that South Rowan beat 36-22 in Week 1.


Salisbury at Walkertown, 7:30 p.m.

History: First meeting

What’s supposed to happen? The Hornets are favored by 26.

Salisbury turned in an impressive debut with a 42-0 pounding of North Davidson. The defense totally dominated the line of scrimmage, while Mike Geter accounted for four offensive touchdowns (2 passing, 2 rushing). Jamal Rule rushed for 180 yards as the new workhorse back.

The Walkertown Wolfpack opened with a 35-14 win against Atkins.

Walkertown, a 2A school, was 8-3 last season, but its marquee player, QB Bryce Baker, a 4-star recruit committed to UNC, transferred to East Forsyth.


NW Cabarrus at A.L. Brown, 8 p.m.

History: There have been 47 meetings, with the Wonders holding a 41-5 edge. There was one tie.

A.L. Brown won 35 in a row in the 40-year span from 1977-2017, but things have evened up some lately.

Northwest whipped the Wonders in 2018 and 2019, although the Wonders rolled 51-19 in the most recent meeting of the programs in 2021.

What’s supposed to happen? The Wonders are favored by 3 TDs. Yes, it’s 4A vs. 3A, but that sounds like a lot.

Northwest opened with a stout defensive effort and beat West Cabarrus 21-0.

The Wonders had their hands full with West Rowan but finished strong for a 38-27 win in Justin Hardin’s first game as head coach.

Northwest QB Alex Walker has attracted Division I offers.

A.L. Brown QB CJ Gray threw for the decisive score against West and ran for a clinching touchdown.


North Rowan at Forest Hills, 8 p.m.

History: North leads 2-0. North won meetings with the frequently strong Yellow Jackets in 2013 and 2014, seasons when the Cavaliers were good enough to beat just about anyone.

What’s supposed to happen? Forest Hills is favored by 24.

2A Forest Hills dismantled 3A Ashbrook 55-12 on opening night, which helps explain why 1A North Rowan is such a big underdog.

North’s defense will be challenged. Forest Hills QB Brady Hibbard had a huge opening game, with five passing TDs, 231 yards and no interceptions. He also ran for a TD.

North was impressive on both sides of the ball on opening night. Jaemias Morrow had 155 rushing yards and scored the 53rd and 54th TDs of his career. QB Jeremiah Alford didn’t have to throw much in the romp against East Rowan but still accounted  for four TDs (2 rushing, 2 passing), The junior has 44 passing touchdowns in his career. Ason Best was a big-play guy and had over 100 receiving yards on his two catches.


Carson at West Stanly, 8 p.m.

History: There is none. First meeting.

What’s supposed to happen? The Colts are favored by 3 points. Based on the Massey Ratings, this is the tossup game this week.

West Stanly opened with 34-0 win against South Stanly, while Carson was losing 26-16 to Mount Pleasant.

West Stanly has earned a reputation as a good athletic school, but it’s been down some in football with 3-6 and 3-7 records the last two seasons.

West Stanly QB Jett Thomas is a solid athlete who plans to continue his baseball career at Wingate University.

Carson has to get off to a better start than it did at Mount Pleasant, but if they do, the Cougars should have a 50/50 chance to even their record.

Running back Jay McGruder had the strongest opening night for Carson’s offensive players with 90 rushing yards and two TDs.

QB Michael Guiton will look for a more consistent night through the air. He was intercepted twice at Mount Pleasant.