Spring Football: Things have changed at East Rowan
By Ronnie Gallagher
GRANITE QUARRY — Dropping by Danny Misenheimer’s office at East Rowan these days are a little different than in the past.
Sure, college coaches pass through all the schools during the spring but they are paying more attention to the Mustangs now. Misenheimer, a former East star, has changed everything.
His first year was a rousing success, going to the third round of the playoffs and finishing with an 8-5 record.
On one recent afternoon, a recruiter from Coastal Carolina seemed very interested in several Mustangs, especially rising senior defender Dock Corpening.
Think about that for a moment. Before Misenheimer came on board as the head man, Corpening was another player. Now, after a year in a strenuous weight program, he is coveted. He’s the perfect example of Misenheimer’s leadership and he could be one of the South Piedmont Conference’s top outside linebackers or rush ends in the fall.
“Dock has had a very active spring,” Misenheimer said.
Corpening is currently 6-foot-2, 210 but Misenheimer wants him playing at 225. He power cleans 300, benches 300 and squats 400. He ran a 4.51 40 at the Shrine Bowl combine.
Furman, Appalachian State and Coastal are among those interested.
Corpening must step up. Misenheimer lost some talented defensive players to college like Tyler L’Hommedieu, T.J. Jefferson, Dalton Moose and Dalton Bost.
“We lost seven starters,” Misenheimer said, including Dustin Mowery, who made big plays all season.
Corpening isn’t the only player coaches are interested in. Running back Calvin Edwards is the preseason favorite to win the county rushing title. He just missed out last season after a 1,501-yard campaign.
“Calvin’s being recruited heavily by the same schools,” Misenheimer said. “Those two will have some offers after we go to camps this summer.”
Misenheimer also thinks defensive back Donte Means is a prospect, along with offensive lineman Skyler Rabon and defensive lineman Austin Hill.
“We’re moving Skyler to center,” Misenheimer said of the 6-1, 225-pounder. “He squats over 500. He’ll be a very, very good asset for us.”
Offensively, East returns the Wyrick twins, quarterback Samuel and receiver Seth, who will be in their junior years.
Samuel passed for 1,458 yards, 402 to Seth on 21 catches.
“We didn’t see Sam and Seth much because of baseball but they’re excited to be out here,” Misenheimer said.
Last year was all about believing East Rowan could win after some bad seasons. Misenheimer preaches he doesn’t want a good record every four or five years. He wants one all the time.
“We’re not so much into the believing aspect because we believe we can win,” he said. “Now, it’s not being satisfied with where we are. Our motto now is, ‘Are we working hard enough to be a state champion?’ I don’t want to settle for 8-5 seasons.”
The kids want to be a part of it. In the spring, Misenheimer issued 70 to 80 helmets and shoulder pads. Between 17 and 25 freshmen came in three nights a week.
“We do that so it won’t be a shock when they get over here,” Misenheimer said.
Rising sophomore lineman Sawyer Kimmer can tell them what it was like for him. He has improved enough, he’ll be fighting for a starting spot. He is already 6-foot-4.
Nonconference games will be with North Rowan and Salisbury to lead off and at Ledford late in the season. East beat Salisbury and lost to North last season.
Before then, there will be 7-on-7s with Mount Pleasant and North Rowan and one at North Stanly. The Mustangs are also headed to Elon for a four-day camp.
And let’s not forget the new South Piedmont Conference, where Rowan and Cabarrus schools are merging.
“I grew up playing that schedule when East was a part of the South Piedmont,” Misenheimer said.
One of the conference foes will be Concord, the team that beat the Mustangs in a controversial 21-20 overtime decision in the third round. Afterward, reports were that Glen Padgett’s Spiders were anything but, let’s say, good sports. We’ll leave it at that.
No one in Granite Quarry — from players to coaches to fans — has forgotten
“Week 5,” Misenheimer reported. “We’ve got them up on our board.”
To beat Concord or any of the 2013 opponents, players like Corpening, Edwards and Means must continue to improve. They have so far and that’s why the colleges are interested.
“Every coach will tell them they love them,” Misenheimer said, adding the real attention comes in the summer when the Mustangs start attending camps.
“That’s when you compete, show them your face and make them remember you.”
Everyone remembers what East Rowan did last season. And with Misenheimer at the controls, odds are the Mustangs will never be a forgotten team again.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.