West kicks off CCC slate

West Davidson’s Zach Queen (right) slips away after making a catch against South Davidson. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

For all intents and purposes, nothing that has happened the past seven weeks on the football field has mattered for teams in the Central Carolina Conference.

That will change Friday night.

The CCC kicks into high gear and, for West Davidson and Thomasville, there is no time like the present. The Dragons (4-2) are enjoying a turnaround season under first-year coach Bryan Lingerfelt, and they will invade Cushwa Stadium with high hopes. “We’ve been real fortunate here early on,” Lingerfelt said. “Some good things have worked out for us.

“That gets us into conference play, and we’ve got a tough conference. So hopefully we’ve improved a little bit throughout the year, and we’ll be able to execute tomorrow night.”

As has been the case in recent seasons, Thomasville has lined up against a tough nonconference schedule. The result is a 1-5 record, but assistant coach Dickie Cline hopes his players know to throw that record out the window. “Well, it’s a new season,” Cline said. “This is pretty much what it’s been the last few years, as far as starting the conference.

“Everybody gets to start with a clean slate. Hopefully through this preseason, nonconference schedule, we’ve made some improvement where we can compete for a conference championship.”

Thomasville beat West 35-5 last season in Tyro, but the Dragons have taken a new approach on offense and it has paid dividends. Graham Shoaf leads the county with 905 yards passing, despite missing a game with an injury. His favorite target, Zach Queen, has 578 receiving yards; both of those marks lead the county.

That is certainly something Cline and the Bulldogs will have to contain. “They like to spread you out, and they throw the ball well,” he said. “Got some good skill players, good quarterback, good receivers. Some nice, tall receivers.

“Our secondary’s not that tall, but we’ve played against tall receivers all year.”

Lingerfelt has been very pleased at how quickly those skill players have picked up his aerial attack. “I’m real happy with our players, and out seniors,” he said. “They really have a good grip of what we’re trying to do … But we’re expecting a hard-fought football game. Thomasville’s Thomasville. They’re a real good football team, very well-coached.”

Central Davidson (3-3, 2-0) at Southern Guilford (3-4, 1-1)

The Spartans have opened Mid-Piedmont Conference play with a pair of impressive wins, including a come-from-behind 32-28 victory over Ledford last week. The going will continue to be tough this week, when Central heads to Southern Guilford to take on the Storm.

This looks to be a battle of two very good ground attacks. Central is led by Desmond Mabe’s 545 yards and Marquez Stiller has run for 457, as the Spartans almost never attempt a pass. Darryl Brown, who has had some high-flying passing attacks at Southern, has settled for a much more conservative approach this year, with good reason. Reggie Gallaspy has run for 971 yards and 12 TDs.

North Davidson (6-1, 1-1) at Parkland (0-7, 0-2)

This looks like a tremendous mismatch on paper. The Knights’ only blemish is a 28-25 loss at Mount Tabor, and they rebounded from that with a 41-24 victory over Davie County last week that wasn’t as close as the final score would suggest.

Parkland, meanwhile, has struggled mightily in its first year in the Central Piedmont Conference. The Mustangs have been outscored 104-6 in their first two league games, and have been shut out five times in seven games.

North is led by Kennedy McKoy, who has run for a county-high 914 yards. But the Knights can beat their opponents in a variety of ways with a variety of weapons, led by quarterback Brandon McCray and Khylil Miller, who plays quarterback, receiver and running back.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220, or jason.queen@the-dispatch.com.