Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Brian Bauk
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY - Salisbury fullback Max Allen had this to say about his quarterback, Brian Bauk.
"He's really, really, really, really, really smart."
"You'd be surprised how smart he is, being able to read defenses and checking off," Allen continued. "He reminds me of Tom Brady."
Tom Brady wishes he was as fast as Brian Bauk.
The Salisbury senior produced a clinic on how to run the wishbone offense in the Hornets' 47-18 victory at East Davidson that wrapped up the outright Central Carolina Conference title Friday. He was the game's leading rusher with 125 yards, he scored on a 6-yard run and even threw a 58-yard scoring pass to Allen.
Bauk shrugs it all off. When asked about his running ability, he just says, "Things open up and I take advantage of it."
Coach Joe Pinyan loves what his two-year starter brings to the table.
"He'll call his number in a hurry," Pinyan said. "He'll see something and tap his chest. We put him in situations where he can check plays."
Pinyan added that Bauk does a great job of putting the ball in the right places. The first Salisbury score was a toss sweep to Justin Ruffin. Allen followed him into the end zone three times.
"Man, those guys have gotten so big and fast, it's incredible watching them run," Bauk said.
And Bauk is the fastest player on the team, so that tells you why it is never a surprise to see Salisbury rush for over 400 yards in a game. Against East Davidson, Bauk only passed three times, one for a score.
"We want to throw the ball a little more," Pinyan said. "But we haven't put ourselves in a position where we have to throw it, We're running it so daggone good. I'd like to know Brian's touchdown to completion ratio."
The Hornets are a different team than the one that lost the season opener to East Rowan.
"We decided we weren't going to have a bad senior year," Bauk said.
And in Tim Tebow fashion, he backed up those words. Salisbury is 8-1 since.
The postseason won't be any different for Bauk, who just seems to make plays.
"All of our quarterbacks are taught, 'This is a brand new car, just keep it out of the ditch,' " Pinyan said. "Brian's got amazing savvy where he can do things."
Bauk downplayed his 58-yard scoring pass to Allen, saying, "It was a 7-yard pass that he turned into a 60-yard run."
Allen added, "We work on that at practice and sometimes we don't get it right. But when it's game time, he always executes."
Just like his predecessor John Knox. Those were big shoes to fill two seasons ago but Bauk has made it look easy.
"Nothing's easy, especially replacing John Knox," Bauk said. "I just work hard and do everything I can to help the team win."
He has done that. Now, Cuthbertson gets a chance to stop him in Friday's first-round playoff game. And Pinyan is sure the fun-loving Bauk will have his game face on.
"Sometimes, he jokes around too much but he knows when to turn the switch off," Pinyan said. "He has been a pleasure to coach."