Prep Football Notebook: Week 1
North Rowan coach Joe Nixon credited long snapper Carter Thomason and special-teamer Dylan Riley with their efforts in Friday’s 33-16 win against East Rowan.
But the kicking game struggled with three unsuccessful PATs.
“We’ve got to get better at kicking the football,” Nixon said.
LONG TIME: If it wins Friday against Carson, North will be 2-0 for the first time since 1998 when it started 4-0. North beat Carson to start last season but lost to Salisbury in Week 2. The Cavaliers beat East Rowan for the third straight year.
DEFENSE: North capitalized on a fumble recovery and a bad snap on a punt against the Mustangs. Alexis Archie scored from 3 yards out with 35 seconds left in the first half to make it 20-0 at the break.
“The defense set us up with a short field at the end of the half, and that was big,” Nixon said.
TURNOVERS: Cornerback Kenyon Tatum snagged an interception to ice the game in the final minutes. Tatum, a basketball standout, transferred to North from Davie County.
Jaquon Boyd recovered a fumble for the Cavaliers.
FIRST GAME: “First game, we knew we were gonna make mistakes,” Nixon said. “But we emphasized to our kids — ‘Let’s keep our composure. Let’s snap it again and see what happens.’”
IMPRESSIVE: North arguably had the county’s best performances by a quarterback (Archie), running back (Jareke Chambers) and receiver (both of Sakil Harrison’s catches were TDs) in Week 1.
“Jareke can score anytime he touches the ball,” Nixon said. “We had a good offensive game and we played great defense. It was a full team effort top to bottom.”
In a 14-9 win against Salisbury, Carson scored a game-changing touchdown on the final play of the first half after the Cougars were ruled to have gotten out of bounds with one-tenth of a second to go in the half.
That’s right, one-tenth.
“We got lucky,” Carson (and former) Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “In 29 years of coaching, I’ve never seen the clock stopped with one-tenth left. Especially as the visiting team, you don’t expect to catch a break like that. Salisbury called a timeout to regroup, and that gave us a chance to get a play called.”
Tyler Reynolds scored on that final play of the half on a 3-yard run to finally put Carson, which had trailed 3-0 since early in the game, on the scoreboard.
“Sure you can kick a field goal in that situation, but our kids had worked so darn hard to get down there,” Pinyan said. “We were gonna go for the six, and if it didn’t work out, well I would’ve been the goat.”
McNEILL UPDATE: Carson’s senior QB Austin McNeill, a three-year starter, didn’t have a big statistical game, but wins and losses are the only stats that really matter for QBs. McNeill had 94 passing yards, 23 rushing yards — and a win.
“I thought Austin pressed some in the first half,” Pinyan said. “In the second half, he did a much better job of letting the game come to him.”
RAT PACK: While Anthony McCurry’s five tackles for loss earned him Carson’s defensive player of the week award, fellow linebacker Patrick Ratliff also was praised by Pinyan.
“Ratliff didn’t have a shabby game, either,” Pinyan said. “He had 11 hits and was the primary tackler six times.”
HONORED: Kicker Logan Correll was named Carson’s special teams player of the week, but no offensive award was handed out.
“We didn’t name anyone on offense,” Pinyan said. “Too many mistakes.”
STOUT HEARTS: Carson hopes to have star linebacker Myquon Stout back in action Friday. The Cougars will need him against North Rowan.
Eighty-nine yards of offense?
Thirty-nine rushing yards?
That’s what the stat-sheet said after Salisbury’s 14-9 loss to Carson.
Salisbury was held under 200 yards rushing only once in 2012, and that was by West Rowan. Of course, that Salisbury team had seniors Justin Ruffin, Brian Bauk and Max Allen, and this year’s backfield is all new.
Salisbury had not rushed for fewer than 100 yards since 2008 when it had only 65 but still managed to beat Lexington 28-25 by throwing for 258 yards.
Salisbury had not been held to fewer than 39 rushing yards since 2001 when it had virtually no ground game. That 1-10 Salisbury team was held under 100 rushing yards by 10 of its 11 opponents. Ledford and South Rowan held Salisbury under 50 yards of offense that season.
FLIP SIDE: Most of Salisbury’s experience is on the defensive side of the ball, and the Hornets didn’t disappoint there. Salisbury came up with four turnovers against Carson and played well enough to win most games.
“Defensively, I thought Salisbury was tough,” Pinyan said. “They held us down pretty good.”
East Rowan is next for Salisbury.
East receiver Seth Wyrick had a fine performance in Friday’s 33-16 loss to North Rowan.
Wyrick’s seven receptions and 109 receiving yards lead the county.
The junior enjoyed his third career 100-yard game. He topped 100 receiving yards last season against Salisbury and Rockingham County.
THORN: North continues to be a tough obstacle for East coach Danny Misenheimer.
Misenheimer’s Mustangs lost to North last season, and while Misenhiemer played on good teams for four years on East’s varsity in the 1990s, those teams never beat North.
OPTIMISM: The opening loss to North didn’t do much to dampen East QB Samuel Wyrick’s outlook.
“We knew we were a good team and we showed it in the second half, but North did a great job and they just outplayed us,” Wyrick said. “But the only thing this means is that we can’t go undefeated. It doesn’t mean that we can’t win all the rest.”
West isn’t likely to get tailback Daisean Reddick back this week, He suffered an ankle injury after scoring two early TDs in a 35-21 loss to Mooresville.
Reddick is the main man in West’s offense, so it may be another offensive struggle for the Falcons Friday against Davie.
THE BAD: West allowed 258 rushing yards against Mooresville. That’s unheard of for the Falcons, who always make stopping the run the No. 1 priority. The most rushing yards the Falcons allowed in a game in 2012 was 146 against Northeast Guilford in the playoffs. West held nine of its 12 opponents under 100 last season.
Mooresville’s 258 rushing yards was the most yardage West has permitted on the ground since North Gaston rolled for 259 in a playoff game in 2007. Incidentally, that North Gaston game was the last time West lost to a North Carolina opponent in Mount Ulla.
THE GOOD: Under very difficult circumstances (no Reddick, fierce pass rush), West’s new QB Harris Baucom showed Friday that he’s a good enough athlete to win games.
Baucom took some shots, but he kept getting up. He ran the ball hard, made some good throws, and boomed his punts 40 yards.
On a couple of occasions, most notably after a lick he took in the end zone, Baucom had to get up after being battered by the pass rush on third down to punt on fourth down.
“The ref joked with me one time,” Baucom said. “He told me I’d just made a heck of a punt considering the hit I took.”
Besides praising Baucom, West coach Scott Young liked the work of strong safety Zeke Blackwood and receiver Darius Gabriel.
“It looked like Zeke was all over the place,” Young said. “And I thought Gabriel ((three receptions, 53 yards) made a lot of impact plays.”
In a 44-9 loss to South Iredell on opening night, South Rowan had some of the county’s top statistical performers.
Despite frequent sacks, QB Aaron Kennerly connected with eight different receivers and paces the county with 178 passing yards.
He was 15-for-24 with no interceptions.
Running back Derrick Blackwell rushed for 135 yards and had 48 yards in receptions.
South had only three games last season in which it rushed for 100 yards as a team, and the team’s leading rusher often was QB Nathan Lambert.
Blackwell was the first South running back to top 100 yards since Ricky Sherrill had 120 against Northwest Cabarrus early in the 2011 season.
BIG FOOT: South kicker Brennan Lambert only got to kick one PAT, but he showed some distance, booming kickoffs to the end zone.
GOOD FOOTBALL NAME: The biggest surprise for South in the opener may have been Peyton Penninger, who had four catches for 55 yards.
CHAMPS: South opened against a defending state champ in South Iredell, and the Raiders’ defense will try to build Friday on a second half in which it allowed only seven points.
One of the most impressive War Eagles in a 32-22 opening-night loss to Greensboro Page was freshman linebacker James Boyle. He was in on two sacks.
“James is a puppy with a high motor,” Davie coach Devore Holman said. “That’s why we have him on varsity.”
OUT: Davie missed linebacker Sam Nesbit in a 32-22 opening-night loss to Greensboro Page. He was out with a sprained ankle.
NOT PARKED: Davie coaches expressed preseason confidence that QB Parker Correll would contribute rushing yards this year, and he had 16 carries for 43 yards against Page. Parker rushed for a net of 48 yards all last season.
Concord’s defense usually performs well against Mike Newsome’s Wonders’ running game, and the Spiders were run-stoppers again in a 33-20 win against the Wonders on opening night.
Brown was held to 137 rushing yards on 40 attempts.
The two teams that held the Wonders under 150 rushing yards in 2012 were Charlotte Catholic and Concord.
The three teams that slowed the Wonders down on the ground in 2011 were Catholic, Concord and Rocky River.
The team with the most rushing yards has won the last four A.L. Brown-Concord games and 10 of the last 11.
0-1: The last time the Wonders lost their opener was in 2003 when they fell 37-36 in overtime to South Rowan. They bounced back that season from a 1-2 start to go 10-4 and reached the third round of the state playoffs.
The last time the Wonders opened the season with a home loss was in 2001 when North Rowan won 20-19 at Memorial Stadium on Alfonzo Miller’s run with eight seconds left.
Mike London, Ryan Bisesi, Marny Hendrick and Brian Pitts contributed.
to the notebook.