Prep Football Notebook: Week 4
After watching Keion Adams return an interception against West Rowan, the Salisbury coaches wanted to get the ball in his hands more. Adams, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior, ran the ball six times for 33 yards and had a 14-yard touchdown burst. All this coming with Adams seeing the majority of snaps at middle linebacker.
"I told him before the game 'you're going to play fullback and linebacker," Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. "The good news is that on Saturday he can rest."•O-LINE: Pinyan commneded the play of offensive linemen Jalen Warren. Warren, a senior, has started at tackle for two years. Junior tackle Tim Rhodes had a nice game after missing a practice during the week.•DEFENSE: As weird as it sounds, South Rowan led 9-7 after one quarter and was moving the ball okay. The Raiders' first drive went 75 yards on 16 plays and ate up 8:12. Nathan Lambert hit Josh Medlin for passes of 16 and 12 yards. However, the Hornets shut down South for the most part after that drive. Lambert ended up completing four more passes for the rest of the game to toal 75 yards. Medlin caught four balls for 64 yards.
"It's just a matter of you can't let [Medlin] release off the line untouched," Pinyan said. "Once we were getting some hands on him, it's a little bit harder for Lambert to find him."
Pinyan praised Jayquan Smith and Antwuan Payne's play in the secondary and noted Bobby Johnson and Quan Davis at the Hornet position.•SCOOPS: Ben Ritchie recovered a fumble for the Hornets and Braylon Dailey scooped up an onside kick.
Playing against former teammates and in a venue where his father (Darryl) was twice a county player of the year running back in the mid-1980s, West Rowan tailback Desmond Jackson produced three touchdowns and battled for 82 tough yards on 19 carries in an intense 29-21 win against North Rowan.
"Des battled through some tough times this summer and he's battled through the adversity of a knee injury," West coach Scott Young said. "But was very productive again against North Rowan."
West had serious concerns at tailback after Jackson was hurt in a 7-on-7 scrimmage, but he's been able to provide steady chunks of yardage in three of West's four games. And now the Falcons are suddenly very deep at tailback.
Back in uniform after sitting out three games due to a discipline issue, Daisean Reddick made an impressive season debut with 66 quick, slashing yards on 14 carries against North. Then there's Raykwon Torrence, a transfer from East Rowan who made his West debut in the Salisbury game. Torrence, best known as a track standout, had a 15-yard scoring burst against North.
"He looked very fast," Young said.
Young's biggest problem now might be finding enough carries to go around, and that's a nice problem to have.•BLOCK PARTY: Young praised left guard Brandon Hansen and tight end Jack Gallagher for having their best games of the season against North.
"We ran the ball the best we have so far, and it was a game where we needed every yard of offense we could muster," Young said. "Those two blocked especially well. Hansen graded out the highest, and Gallagher drove his man 5 yards into the end zone on Desmond's first scoring run."•DEFENSE: DB Zeke Blackwood stood out for West's defense.
"He made some mistakes, to be sure, but Zeke played physical and he tackled well," Young said.•MAKING IT COUNT: West QB Tyler Stamp threw for only 34 yards, but 32 of them came on one clutch completion to Jackson for West's only second-half score.
Stamp also ran the ball effectively, producing a net of 49 yards on nine carries.
"We're still not where we want to be offensively, but Stamp, Jackson and Reddick all did some great things," Young said.
While North lost to West Rowan for the eighth straight time, the 1A Cavaliers dominated the second half against a program that has played in the 3A state championship game four straight years.
After the break, North had nine first downs to three for the Falcons and the Cavaliers had a 199 to 81 advantage in yards. North outrushed and outpassed West after halftime.
West was covering up like a bleeding boxer the last eight minutes, and its defense, which was on the field most of the second half and had its backs to the wall most of that time, was exhausted at the end of the game.
"North is a great team," West linebacker Logan Stoodley said. "That's a team that can make a run."
West assistant Tim Dixon essentially said the same thing as he embraced North head coach Joe Nixon after the game.
"Win the rest of them," Dixon told him. "You can win the rest of them."•GROWING UP: North quarterback Alexis Archie, a sophomore who attended West as a freshman, came of age in a scrap with his former teammates.
Archie entered with 233 passing yards in three games, but he produced 222 against West, and he was 12-for-20 for 142 yards in the second half.
Archie's effort was the biggest passing night for a North QB since Cameron Wood threw for 240 yards against Lexington in 2007.
Archie found five different receivers. He hit Michael Connor seven times for 64 yards and found Jareke Chambers for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Archie also ran the ball hard against the Falcons. He had negative rushing yards for the season coming into Friday's game, but he picked up 27 yards on six carries and rushed for a touchdown against the county's toughest defense to run against.•CROWDED HOUSE: Meeting for the first time since 2008, West-North drew a sensational crowd. It was Standing Room Only and many fans had to park their cars several blocks from Eagle Stadium.•SALUTE: Rodney Cress, a star football player and record-breaking track man at South Rowan in the mid-1960s, was designated "an honorary Cavalier" in pregame ceremonies. Cress performed with extraordinary heroism in the Vietnam War.
Carson's 27-21 loss to Jay M. Robinson on Friday included two outstanding individual offensive performances.
Junior quarterback Austin McNeill passed for 309 yards, accounting for the second 300-yard passing game in Carson history and only the 17th in the county record book.
It's an even more exclusive club than it sounds because just 10 players have accounted for those 17 300-yard games.
North's Mario Sturdivant and Mitch Ellis surpassed 300 four times apiece, and North's Graham's Hosch reached the plateau twice. Accounting for one "300" each are North's Alfonzo Miller, Sakelo Lilly and Daniel Griffith, East's Shawn Eagle, West's Shane Weimer and Carson's Zack Gragg and McNeill.
Gragg's 329 passing yards in a playoff game against Hickory in 2010 survived McNeill's onslaught and remains the Carson record. Gragg's brother, Ben, is one of the receivers who helped McNeill put up those huge numbers on Friday.•ON FIRE: The guy who contributed the most to McNeill's amazing night - 309 yards on just 10 completions - was senior receiver K.J. Pressley.
Pressley shattered the school record with 241 yards on six catches and likely broke the county record, although research continues.
The Post's records for individual game stats are readily accessible back to 1994, and Pressley's game is the biggest in the county for any receiver since that year.
There have been only a handful of 200-yard receiving games in the county since 1994. Most of them, as you might expect, were by Cavaliers.
East's Nick Heard had 227 receiving yards against Sun Valley in 1997.
Miller, who began his North career as a receiver and finished it at quarterback, had 214 receiving yards against East Davidson in 1999 and 201 that same season in a playoff game with Brevard.
North's Lathan Charleston had 201 yards in a playoff game against South Columbus in 2006.
It's also noteworthy that in North's 1997 game against East Rowan in which Sturdivant set the county record with 414 passing yards, J.R. Neely had 199 yards in receptions (and five TDs) while teammate Omar "Smoke" Robertson had 175. That was the "Airport" at its peak.
The NCHSAA record book lists 11 games in which a receiver produced 250 or more yards. Pressley nearly joined that list.
Pressley has amassed 422 receiving yards the last two weeks and now has 1,773 yards for his career. He's second on the school's all-time list for receiving yards (behind Cody Clanton) and he's 10th on the all-time list.
Hard times continued for South in a 64-9 home loss to Salisbury in which the Raiders actually led 9-7.
South dropped its last three games in 2011, so it now has lost seven straight.
South has been outscored 218-67 in four games this season.•POSITIVES: In the good news department, Josh Medlin had four catches for 64 yards on Friday. He has 310 receiving yards this season.
With 22 receiving yards on Friday, Medlin will become South's third 1,000-yard receiver, joining Adrian Parker and B.J. Grant.•LAMBERT UPDATE: South senior Nathan Lambert was limited to six pass completions for 75 yards by the Hornets.
Lambert still surpassed Kevin Sides for second place on South's all-time list for passing yards. Lambert has 2,790. Blake Houston's school record set in 2009 is 2,973.
In a 49-27 loss to Hickory Ridge, East nonetheless rushed for 253 yards, with Calvin Edwards gaining 128 for the second straight week and Madison Hedrick adding a career-best 122.
The last time East had two 100-yard rushers in the same game was in 2009 when Quentin Sifford had 175 yards and QB Jamey Blalock added 152 in a 31-27 win at Statesville.
Five turnovers wrecked the Wonders in Friday's 41-14 loss to 4A power Porter Ridge.
It was an even first half, but the Wonders were outscored 27-0 after halftime.
The Wonders did move the ball on the ground, pushing for 253 rushing yards.
Kalif Phillips rushed for 146 yards, the 10th time he's topped 100 yards in his two-year varsity career. In two games against Porter Ridge, Phillips has rushed 31 times for 368 yards.
Virginia commitment Keeon Johnson caught another touchdown pass. A three-year starter, Johnson has 80 career catches for 1,314 yards and 13 TDs.
Davie has outrushed opponents 1,050 to 438 because of a stout defense, a massive offensive line and freshman running back Cade Carney.
West Rowan held Carney to 60 yards on 24 carries, but aside from that game, he's rushed for 234, 174 and 194. The youngster scored three TDs in Friday's 49-7 blitz of Lexington.•Mike London and Ryan Bisesi contributed to the notebook.