Lexington, Thomasville rivalry has playoff implications
Thu. October 25, 2012 at 12:10 a.m. | By Mike Duprez
Thomasville running back Gabe Brockett runs outside to avoid Central Davidson’s Jerod Walls (left) during their game on Oct. 1 at Cushwa Stadium. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)
One of the fiercest rivalries anywhere has state playoff ramifications when Thomasville and Lexington hook up Friday night at Cushwa Stadium.
Neither team has the four victories to become playoff-eligible. Thomasville, 3-7 overall, is 3-1 in the Central Carolina Conference and can finish in second place with a win. Lexington, 3-7 overall, is 2-2 in the CCC.
But first things first.
“It’s the Thomasville game,” said Lexington coach Kwayu Graham. “I don’t care if we’re both undefeated. I don’t care if either one of us has a win. It’s Thomasville. Everyone is passionate about this game. Right now, we’ve got to play assignment football, win the kicking game and make tackles.”
A win would make Lexington playoff-eligible and the Jackets would get an automatic spot if West Davidson also beat Central Davidson. A loss would probably keep the Bulldogs from making the playoffs.
“The playoff implications are there,” Graham said. “We need to focus on playing good football. It’s no good if you play poorly in the playoffs and you’re out in the first week.”
All signs point to an offensive shootout.
Lexington was routed by Central Davidson 55-26 last Friday but the Yellow Jackets did manage 423 yards of offense, with tailback Marquez Grayson running for 163 yards and wide receiver Mel Covington catching six passes for 175 yards, including an 86-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Raekwon Byrd. That has Thomasville’s attention.
“We’ve got to prevent them from making big plays on offense, which they are very capable of,” said Thomasville assistant coach Dickie Cline. “They have all the tools to be a big-play team. So we want to control the ball and keep it out of their skill players’ hands.”
Lexington has much to be concerned about when it comes to Thomasville’s offense. The Bulldogs dropped a 43-39 heartbreaker to Salisbury in which tailback Gabe Brockett carried the ball a whopping 55 times for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Consider that Central’s Saig Skeen gouged the Jackets for 386 yards last week and the Bulldogs could be in for a long night.
“They’ve got a very good running back and he’s strong,” Graham said. “Their offensive line is strong and they block well for him. But the key is they get stops and turn the ball back over to their offense. They have a good defense.”
Brockett has caught fire in the second half of the season with the Bulldogs emphasizing more of a power running game and rarely throwing the football.
“I think it started coming around in the High Point Central game,” Cline said. “They have one of the best defenses we’ve seen all year. We didn’t score any points but we moved the ball very well. It’s been kind of building since then.”
West Davidson at Central Davidson
Central, 5-5 overall and 2-2 in the CCC, is already playoff-eligible and the heavily favored Spartans will clinch an automatic spot if they win and Thomasville beats Lexington.
West, 3-6 overall and 0-4 in the CCC, would become playoff eligible with a win.
Skeen broke the school single-game rushing record last Friday and also set a single-season standard with 1,828 yards. He needs 150 yards to become the school’s career rushing leader.
Salisbury at East Davidson
Salisbury, 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the CCC, has clinched a tie for the conference championship and the CCC’s No. 1 seed in the 2-A state playoffs.
East, 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the CCC, would become playoff-eligible with an upset win.
Northeast Guilford at Ledford
Northeast Guilford (6-3) and Ledford (5-5) are both playoff-eligible. The two teams are tied for third in the Mid-Piedmont Conference at 2-2.
North Rowan at South Davidson
North Rowan, 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Yadkin Valley Conference, has clinched a playoff berth. South Davidson, 1-9 overall and 1-5 in the YVC, has been eliminated from playoff consideration.
Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or email@example.com.