Prep Football Notebook: Week 7
From staff reports
East Rowan broke a 12-game losing streak to West Rowan in Friday's 13-7 victory.
It started in the locker room, where East returned to wait out a 35-minute lightning delay prior to the start of the game.
The Mustangs turned the lights out, listened to music that got progressively louder and kept their intensity level high.
"Madison Hedrick is the one that got everyone fired up," linebacker Dustin Mowery said.
East was confident by the time it took the field.
"And believing you're going to win is 90 percent of the battle," coach Danny Misenheimer said.•MAD DOG: It's a shame "Mad Dog" Hedrick isn't 6-2, 220. If he had size, he probably could play anywhere he wanted.
Hedrick had one of the greatest nights ever for a guy who gained 35 yards on 13 carries.
He had to fight for all 35 on dive plays right into the the teeth of West's fierce defense. There were a number of plays on which an average back would've lost 2 yards, but Hedrick gained 2 - or even 3.
"What Maddy did was huge," Misenhiemer said.
Burner Calvin Edwards was able to turn 17 pitches into 79 rushing yards and scored East's first TD.
QB Sam Wyrick didn't have a big night stat-wise, but he was able to connect with Jordan Phillips on one huge pass and avoided any major mistakes.•DEFENSE: West's first possession offered evidence that it wasn't going to be a business as usual.
West faced third-and-8 on its 35, when defensive end Austin Hill crashed through to sack Tyler Stamp for a loss of 8 yards and force a punt.
That doesn't happen often to West, but Hill is having a special year.
Hill also disrupted a running play for a loss of 2 yards that put West in a third-and-12 situation. Donte Means came through with his pivotal pick-six on the next snap.
"Hill is playing low and playing with great technique," Misenheimer said. "He's very sound."
Nose guard T.J. Jefferson was again the centerpiece of East's defense. The 320-pounder commanded a double team from West's center and a guard, and that gave East's five linebackers a chance to create havoc, especially in the first half.
"We gave West's offensive line a lot of trouble," Misenheimer said.•TURNOVERS: Dalton Bost intercepted a pass late in the first half to preserve East's 6-0 halftime lead. In the second half, he recovered a fumble that was forced by Mowery.
North Rowan shut out North Moore 39-0 in its first shutout since a 22-0 win against South Davidson last year. In YVC play, North has outscored its foes by almost 100 points with a 126-27 margin. Stat-wise, it wasn't an impressive performance for the Cavaliers since they only ran 17 plays on offense. Denzel Price ran the ball seven times for 37 yards to lead the rushers.•X MARKS THE SPOT: Xavier Robinson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 79 yards for a touchdown. It was the Cavaliers' fourth special teams touchdown of the season.
"I told him it's coming right to you," Kasaun Coney said to Robinson. "He was supposed to come around the wedge, but he was fast enough to come around the outside."
Coney has two special teams touchdowns himself on a kickoff and punt return.
"I don't know what's going on this year, but it's good," said Coney, who also had an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown last week.•FORMER STARS: Friday night the Cavs will be honoring their 1985 team during halftime. The '85 Cavs went 11-1 and were unbeaten in conference and regular season play.•BIG PLAYS: On offense, Nixon lauded the play of right guard Brandon Rabon and right tackle Braxton Rabon.
Darrell Taylor caught his first touchdown pass of the year on a 30-yard reception from Alexis Archie. Archie now has 857 yards passing, good enough for third-best in the county.•COACH DIES: Nixon didn't know South Davidson football and wrestling coach and AD Mike Crowell, but he extended sympathy to South. Crowell died Sunday. The Wildcats will share a conference with North through the end of this school year.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the South Davidson family and community," Nixon said. "I didn't know him, but that's terrible."
Crowell played college baseball at Pfeiffer and has coached at South Davidson more than three decades.
Kevin Bowers has been named interim football coach.
North plays South Davidson on Oct. 26.
Salisbury went 3-2 in county games this season, beating Carson, South Rowan and North Rowan but losing to West Rowan and East Rowan.
Even with an 0-6 mark against West Rowan, SHS coach Joe Pinyan is 29-13 in county games. Pinyan is 8-2 against East, South and North and 5-1 against Carson.
Salisbury went 1-2 in county games in 2003, Pinyan's first year as head coach, but he's had a winning record every year since then.•ON TARGET: It's unlikely Salisbury QB Brian Bauk will ever throw for big numbers on a run-run-run team, but the Hornets have passed with great efficiency during their current three-game winning streak.
In his last three games, Bauk is 14-for-18 for 209 yards and four TDs. He hasn't thrown a pick since opening night.
Bauk was 6-for-8 for 62 yards and a score in Friday's 39-7 CCC win against West Davidson. Bauk topped 1,000 passing yards for his career in that game. He also surpassed 1,500 rushing yards for his career.•ANOTHER RUFF NIGHT: Salisbury halfback Justin Ruffin topped 100 rushing yards for the third straight week against West Davidson.
Ruffin got his 112 yards in just 11 carries. It was the ninth 100-yard game of his career, and the Hornets are 8-1 in those games.
Ruffin has scored 10 touchdowns this season and is still averaging over 10 yards per carry.
When senior quarterback Nathan Lambert went down with an injury in the fourth quarter of Friday's 40-34, two-OT win against North Iredell, South Rowan coach Jason Rollins turned to Aaron "A-Rod" Kennerly, who has been the county's best backup QB.
"I was talking to A-Rod, trying to settle him down, but he wasn't nervous at all," Rollins said. "He was smiling ear to ear. He was having a ball out there, leading the team, and the guys were rallying around him."
Kennerly will be the QB the rest of the way. A day after their win over North Iredell, the Raiders learned Lambert's ankle was broken.
"Nathan has meant so much to this program, as a player and as a leader," Rollins said. "Everyone respected him because he was humble and he was tough. The team misses him. Just stretching on practice on Monday, we missed him."•MOVING FORWARD: Friday's win was huge. It means South has a lot to play for the rest of the way.
There's every reason to believe in Kennerly. His QB rating is through the roof - 21-for-43 for 287 yards and five TDs, with one pick - and he's rushed for 56 yards.
While it's been a tough year overall and while it's true South was wiped out by West Rowan, the Raiders are 2-1 in the NPC, where it counts, entering Friday's game with Carson.
"Hey, we're ahead of West Rowan in the standings," Rollins said cheerfully. "But we do know what's ahead of us. After Carson, it's East Rowan and Statesville."
East and Statesville are tied for the NPC lead. West Rowan is 1-2 in the league.•DEFENSE? South's numbers still aren't pretty, but there's been improvement. South has permitted 33 points per game in its last three games after being roasted for 60-plus points three times in its first four outings.
Rollins lauded inside linebacker Ryan Bringle's play against North Iredell.
"He made a ton of tackles," Rollins said. "He always plays so hard."
Linebacker Burke Fulcher recovered a fumble and blocked a field goal.•STEADY: Rollins was pleased with receivers Josh Medlin (seven catches, 119 yards) and Tvadis Wesley. Track star Wesley's game-deciding reception was his fourth TD of the season.
It was the sixth 100-yard game of Medlin's career.
The senior now has 68 catches for 1,227 yards and 13 TDs for his career.
As well as East played on Friday, West wins if any one of a handful of plays go differently.
The killer sequence for the Falcons came in the third quarter when they trailed 6-0.
On first-and-10 from the West 43, Stamp hit tailback Desmond Jackson in stride for what would've been a huge gain, but Jackson couldn't hang on.
When East's Hill smacked Daisean Reddick for a loss on second down, West faced third-and-12, and Stamp threw the fatal pass that would become Mean's second pick-six in two weeks. That put the Mustangs ahead 13-0.
"We gave West's offensive line a lot of trouble," Misenheimer said.•GIVE CREDIT: West coach Scott Young was gracious in a rare defeat, and this was an especially painful one, with the Falcons having their 44-game county winning streak snapped by the school where Young played his high school ball.
"East did some of the things against us that Havelock did in last year's (3A championship game," Young said. "They made us throw the football and we had a terrible night throwing the football. We did not play well, and East deserved to win the game."•TD: Reddick got West's lone touchdown early in the fourth quarter, blowing right up the middle past a diving Mowery.•NOT FOOLED: With desperation time approaching, West faked a punt on fourth-and-4 from its 32, but the Mustangs weren't fooled at all. The snap went to up man Tyler Kennedy, but he was immediately buried by Mowery and Tyler L'Hommedieu, among others.
That play hurt West some field-position wise, although West's defense stopped three plays cold and forced a 10-yard punt.•DEFENSE: While West's defense had its hands full dealing with East's split-back veer prior to halftime, the Falcons' defense ruled the second half.
"I was disappointed in our defense in the first half," Young said. "But we were lights-out in the second."
Not counting four punts, East ran just 12 plays in the second half. The most successful was a 7-yard pass. The longest run by a Mustangs in the second was 6 yards. Two rushing plays went for no gain and Edwards was twice knocked down for losses.
"Their linebackers attacked us more in the second half," Misenheimer said. "That's a very good defense and they did a nice job."•NEXT: West's schedule is always wicked, and the Falcons host Reidsville this week. The Rams, who have lost once, are ranked sixth in 2A.
Carson's struggles continued in Friday's 56-13 NPC loss to Statesville.
Carson (1-6) just can't get started. The Cougars have been outscored 104-7 in the first quarter in their last five games, all losses.
Carson has allowed 226 points in its last five games. That's 45 points per game.•TURNOVERS: Turnovers are always the most important stat, and the Cougars are losing that battle badly.
In the one game they've won, the prevailed in the turnover battle against Northwest Cabarrus.
During their five-game losing streak, the Cougars have lost the turnover struggle 20-3. Yes, 20-3. Carson has committed at least four turnovers in four of its last five outings.•POSITIVES: Well, there are some.
Austin McNeill has thrown a dozen picks, but he also leads the county with 13 TD passes and 1,213 passing yards.
K.J. Pressley is the county's top receiver with 40 catches for 827 yards and seven scores.
Statesville shut down Brandon Sloop, but Darren Isom had a productive rushing game with 6 yards per carry and his fifth TD of the season.
The other positive is the schedule.
Carson has yet to play West Rowan, but it has a reasonable chance to win in three of its final four NPC games against South Rowan, North Iredell and West Iredell.
Imagine the Salisbury Hornets playing without Keion Adams and Ruffin, and that's been A.L. Brown, which is fighting through the middle of its schedule without big wideout Keeon Johnson, a Virginia commit, and special back Kalif Phillips.
Brown (6-1, 3-0) survived 38-34 at Cox Mill on Friday because it was able to plow for 451 rushing yards, including 225 by workhorse Ricky Sherrill, 121 by DB J.P. Lott and 107 by QB Keenan Medley.
The Wonders' offensive line, led by Kyle Cauble and Zeb Ritchie, had a stellar night. Tight end Jake Brandon recorded six knockdown blocks.•BOTH WAYS: Lott may be the team's MVP so far. Besides All-SPC work on defense, he's rushed for 358 yards helping out the depleted offense.
When will Johnson and Phillips return?
Still anyone's guess, although there's at least a chance Phillips could be back from a toe injury Friday when the Wonders welcome struggling Mount Pleasant tomorrow night. It appears Johnson will need another week.•AWARDS: Medley, who had a game-deciding run on a busted play, was named offensive player of the week. Lott was the defensive player of the week.
Ritchie, the left guard, was named "Hawg of the Week." Linebacker Kyrell Williamson was named "Hitman of the Week." Lineman Christian Griffin won the weekly special teams award.•COMEBACK: Linebacker Micah Miller, a starter in 2011, has missed the whole season due to a knee injury suffered in a P.E. class last spring, but he could be available for duty soon.•AMAYA-ZING: Erik Amaya had been a huge plus as a kicker. He has 37 PATs and six field goals for 55 points.•BIG PICK: Things might have gone easier for the Wonders had they scored on their opening possession. They drove to the Cox Mill 4, but Devin Martin made a spectacular interception for the Chargers and returned the ball into A.L. Brown territory.
"That kid made a play that you'll see about once in a lifetime," A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome said.•HANDS FULL: The Wonders struggled to stop Cox Mill because they'd prepared all week to deal with the Chargers' triple option. Instead, Cox Mill came out winging and threw it around for 305 yards. Brown hadn't given up more than 187 passing yards (Robinson) prior to Friday.
Davie (6-1, 1-0 CPC) has won five straight since a bruising loss to West Rowan.
The key guy in a 46-6 win against R.J. Reynolds was DB/RB Devon Parks, who scored four touchdowns. Parks' monster night included a punt return and interception return for scores.•CARNIVAL: Davie's amazing freshman Cade Carney just keeps rolling.
Carney has more rushing yards (1,149 yards in 153 carries) than any Davie back has ever had after seven games.
Davie's offensive line has been good, even with left tackle Cole Blankenship out with a foot injury.
"They were very physical (against Reynolds) and finished blocks the way the OL is supposed to do," coach Doug Illing said.
Davie was an awesome 6-for-7 converting third downs on Friday.•LOCKDOWN: Davie's defense has been close to spectacular all season. Jamal Lackey has three of Davie's 10 fumble recoveries.
Parks has two of Davie's four interceptions.
The unranked War Eagles, who take on bitter rival West Forsyth on Friday, are allowing just 7.7 points per game. Davie allowed two TDs in the loss West Rowan, but the Falcons got their points on special teams and defense.•Mike London, Ryan Bisesi and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.