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R-S Central in County Championship Mix; TJCA Still Soaring in Football

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Kevin Carver

For those who counted R-S Central out of the Rutherford County Championship on the gridiron this year after a 1-3 start…last Friday night landed them in major contention again.

They only have to beat East Rutherford at home on November 1st to be the outright champs for the first time since 2009.

 R-S Central (2-4, 1-3) dominated Chase despite the 14-7 outcome. The game could have easily been a three score game at half, but turnovers kept it close. Chase had two chances at the end, but both ended in turnovers. Hats off to the offensive line of the Hilltoppers with Andrew Steptoe, Michael Murphy, Robbie Rothrock, Aaron Logan, Dillon Hull and Ivan Gutierrez who helped pave the way for nearly 300 yards rushing in the win. 

They mostly paved the way for Matt Atchely who piled up 139 yards and picked off two passes on defense. 

The Hilltoppers have my game of the week as they host Kings Mountain (2-6, 0-5) on Friday. The Hilltoppers actually get back into the thick of the playoffs too. They need at least two wins in the next four games to become playoff eligible.

On the other hand, Chase (3-4, 1-4) is struggling offensively.  Despite having an experienced group, the Trojans have scored just 28 points in the last three weeks. On the upside, Jacob Rollins (junior) and Stephon Phillips (sophomore) turned in solid performances on defense. Chase will host triple-option oriented North Gaston in a non-conference match up this Friday. The Trojans still need one more win to become playoff eligible.

It wasn’t easy, but Thomas Jefferson came back and beat Cherryville on the road, 20-14 last week. The Gryphons spotted the Ironmen two touchdowns in the first five minutes, but three receiving scores by Efrim Borders, the last with six minutes left decided the outcome. 

The next two games should likely tell the tale of whether or not Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (7-1, 2-0) can pick up its first conference title in football. The Gryphons will visit Community School of Davidson (1-6, 0-1) at Hopewell High School.

The Gryphons will have to figure out how to disrupt quarterback Garrett Hart, who can throw it around the field pretty well. On the bright side, the Spartans gave up more than 400 yards rushing in a competitive 38-30 loss against Bessemer last week. This one could be fairly competitive too.

East Rutherford (2-5, 2-2) had a tougher time this past week in a 48-10 loss to Shelby. The Cavaliers travel to Valdese Draughn this weekend. For East, they will have to stop the run as the Wildcats have a scheme similar to the Hilltoppers Wing-T offense. Draughn (3-5, 3-2) hasn’t looked like world beaters, but they have won three of their last four games.

It would be nice to see so support for Thomas Jefferson who will play at home against Community School of Davidson for a share of the soccer conference title on Monday (10/21/13). The same for Chase as they will go to Shelby on Wednesday (10/23/13) except to try and win the conference outright. Both have never won a conference title in soccer.

On the NASCAR front, treacherous Talladega is up this Sunday. This will be the biggest test among the championship contenders. Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson have managed to fair the best lately on the restrictor plate tracks as maintaining the lead or among the top five throughout have kept them away from trouble. Still, there is no guarantee. David Ragan pulled off the upset win in April as nearly 40 cars could probably win this weekend. Intriguing, I think so.

And finally, the Carolina Panthers go out and beat a team they should have in the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, 35-10. While Minnesota’s defense is solid defending the run, Carolina was able to run the football for about 140 yards last week. Although, it does put him at more of a risk, Cam Newton needs to run a little more versus staying in the pocket. Newton only rushed for 30 yards, he still got a touchdown and was sacked just once. Also, it was huge that they had no turnovers, especially for Cam, who had four the week previous. I don’t see Carolina beating New Orleans, well maybe once this season. Still, they need to win seven if not eight of their next 11 games to even challenge for a playoff spot. They host the Rams this Sunday.

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