Prep Football: East Rowan 49, North Iredell 0
By David Shaw
SALISBURY - Anyone waiting for a letdown from East Rowan's football team will have to wait a little longer.
A week after snubbing West Rowan, the Mustangs laced up their work boots, strapped on their hard hats and laid down a Week 8 hammer on host North Iredell Friday night.
"We've been telling them all week that this is a job," first-year coach Danny Misenheimer said after East collected a 49-0 NPC victory. "We wanted to come out here and go to work. Now they can have some fun."
East (5-3, 4-0) earned a momentary breather after dominating winless NI on both sides of the ball. The Mustangs ammassed a season-high 452 yards and scored touchdowns on seven of their first nine possessions. Defensively, they forced two fumbles and limited the Raiders (0-8, 0-3) to 70 yards and four first downs.
"We were just determined not to have a letdown," senior Tyler L'Hommedieu said. "All week we knew this could be a trap game. So we tried to come out, get on top quick and kill their morale."
That's exactly what East did, but not until it completed what Misenheimer viewed as a poor, unfocused pre-game warmup.
"We weren't doing things right," he said. "We were jumping offsides, fumbling the football, stuff like that. So before we came back out we told them 'This is an important game. It's just as important as playing West Rowan or Statesville. If you lose this, you're still not conference champs.'"
That must have been the phrase-that-pays because East cashed in and remained tied for the conference lead.
"The thought that we could lose this game was always there," running back Calvin Edwards said after rushing for 127 yards and his 10th touchdown of the season. "Anything can happen. But once we scored our mindset became, 'It's our game.'"
It took the Mustangs less than a minute to bust out of their stalls. On the second play from scrimmage Edwards took a handoff from quarterback Sam Wyrick and turned what looked like a broken play into a 62-yard TD run. "I had to plug it in," he said with a post-game smile. "I picked up the speed, picked up the pace and set the tone for the rest of the game."
Wyrick (8-for-10 for 97 yards) threw the first of his four touchdown passes moments later when Jordan Phillips snagged a 5-yard rollout pass. L'Hommedieu, a linebacker/tight end hybrid, made his first TD reception when Wyrick spotted him uncovered in the middle of the field on a 24-yard scoring play in the second quarter.
"(Wyrick) did a great job," Misenheimer said. "He checked some plays at the line of scrimmage that we scored on. At least two of our touchdowns were plays that he checked on."
By halftime it was 28-0, thanks to Seth Wyrick's 7-yard touchdown catch. The rout continued in the third period when Sam Wyrick, Madison Hedrick (14 carries, 109 yards) and backup quarterback Noah Drye reached the end zone.
"We've repped these plays so many times," Sam Wyrick said. "The games are just like practice. We've gotten the hang of this. We knew we could win big like this. I don't think anybody else did, not even the parents."
Losing coach Sandy Grinton paid tribute to East's beefy offensive linemen. "You can tell their kids have been in the weight room," he said. "They were very physical up front."
East was just as explosive without the ball. In the first half, North had only one first down, 20 yards passing and negative-4 on the ground.
"We killed them in the first half," defensive lineman T.J. Jefferson said. "We were quicker, smarter and on our game. We took them down and didn't let them up."
The hosts never took a snap in East territory until the fourth quarter, when its final drive reached the ER 15-yard line. L'Hommedieu's fourth-down sack with five minutes to play ensured the shutout.
"We just want to make sure people don't think (beating) West Rowan was a fluke," he said. "That's all."
NOTES: East has allowed only 21 points in its four NPC games. ... Shiheem Saunders and Donte Means recovered fumbles.