Dragons welcome No. 1 Cavs

West Davidson quarterback Graham Shoaf (17) leads the county in passing. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

Homecoming is a time for remembrances and celebrations but on Friday it’s safe to say that West Davidson hopes North Rowan, the state’s top-ranked 2-A team, doesn’t make itself at home at Charles Elmore Field at Glosson Stadium.

Schools usually schedule what they perceive to be a weaker opponent for homecoming. But the Dragons get the Cavaliers and it’s a big Central Carolina Conference game to boot.

“It’s a big challenge,” said West coach Bryan Lingerfelt. “But each week is a big challenge. North Rowan is a fine football team. We look at it as an opportunity to play a state qualifier type of team. It should be a good experience for our kids. I hope they enjoy that experience.

In other games involving county teams, Lexington hosts Salisbury, Central Davidson hosts North Forsyth, Thomasville visits East Davidson, Ledford travels to Southwestern Randolph and South Davidson goes to East Montgomery. North Davidson is idle.

It may be challenging for West to enjoy playing North Rowan. The undefeated Cavaliers were already dynamic behind dual threat quarterback Jareke Chambers, who has 994 yards rushing and 605 yards passing. But the Cavaliers (7-0 overall, 1-0 got injured quarterback Alexis Archie back on the field last Friday and could be even more imposing.

“We hope that’s a distraction for them,” Lingerfelt said. “They’ve been playing really well without him. Maybe they’ll try to expand the offense too much instead of what they’ve been doing.”

Regardless of the opponent, the Dragons (4-3 overall, 0-1 CCC) don’t want to be staring at 0-2.

“That’s true,” Lingerfelt said. “But we’re trying to improve each week. We hope to correct some of the mistakes we made against Thomasville last week and execute better on offense and defense.”

They’ll need to in order to have a chance Friday.

Thomasville beat the Dragons 33-6 with a powerful running game that featured a pair of 100-yard rushers and a defense that intercepted quarterback Graham Shoaf three times, returning one of them for a touchdown. West only trailed 13-6 going into the fourth quarter.

“We just wore down on defense,” Lingerfelt said. “We didn’t move the ball as well as needed to on offense. We got undisciplined on defense in the fourth quarter and we tried to make plays when we fell behind.”

The Dragons will need plays from their playmakers. Shoaf leads the county with 1,021 yards passing and has thrown 10 touchdown passes. But he has also thrown a county-high 10 interceptions. Zach Queen leads the county with 34 catches for 620 yards and nine TDs. Both were held in check by Thomasville.

Salisbury (0-7, 0-1) at Lexington (0-7, 0-1)

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 33-13 loss to North Rowan that saw them improve greatly in the second half and that’s what they hope to carry into Friday’s homecoming game.

Raekwon Byrd is a dual threat quarterback with 497 yards rushing and 424 yards passing. Byrd should be able to exploit a Salisbury defense that has proven vulnerable so far in 2013. Devin Cross and Shakeem Peterson both have 19 receptions.

Thomasville (2-5, 1-0) at East Davidson (6-1, 1-0)

The Golden Eagles have never beaten Thomasville but may feel good about their chances in what has proven to be a breakout season. Quarterback Austin Wallace threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns in East’s wild 33-32 win at Salisbury last Friday. East has plenty of playmakers like Michael Ramos, Nathan Campbell and Byce Bolen.

But Thomasville has a better defense than Salisbury and the Bulldogs seemed to have got their traditionally power running game back on track, with D.J. Spann running for 162 yards and Demoris Payne 110 yards against West Davidson.

North Forsyth (3-4, 2-0) at Central Davidson (3-4, 2-1)

The Spartans hope to bounce back on homecoming in a game they need to win to stay in the Mid-Piedmont Conference title chase. For the Spartans it’s all about running and Desmond Mabe (619 yards, 4 TDs) and freshman Marquez Stiller (530 yards, 6 TDs) can bring it. But speedy, multiple threat Brandon Capuano, who caught a 65-yard touchdown pass in last week’s 28-21 loss to Southern Guilford, could play a big role.

North Forsyth routed Western Guilford 37-0 last Friday.

Ledford (4-3, 1-2) at Southwestern Randolph (2-5, 0-2)

The Panthers have slumped, losing their last two games. But they will be favored to reverse that against a Southwestern Randolph team that was routed 41-13 by Asheboro and 33-0 by Central Davidson in its two MPC games.

South Davidson (0-8, 0-5) at East Montgomery (4-4, 3-2)

The Wildcats are coming off a 65-0 loss to South Stanly last Friday. East Montgomery fell 26-24 to North Stanly.

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or mike.duprez@the-dispatch.com.