A.L. Brown downs South Rowan
LANDIS — LANDIS – A.L. Brown slot back Casey Walker sharpened his focus on the bus trip to South Rowan.
He excelled as a focal point of the offense in a 41-6 victory against the Raiders on Friday night.
Walker rushed for the Wonders’ first two touchdowns and scored on an 18-yard pass in the third quarter. He finished with 10 touches for 158 yards, including 98 on six carries.
Kenny Moore, Jarrett Boykin, Uriah LeMay, Damien Washington and Kalif Phillips are among the players who have performed well as H-backs – or slot receivers – in coach Mike Newsome’s system at Butler and A.L. Brown. Walker, a junior, appears comfortable in that high-profile position.
“Some of the best players I’ve ever coached have played that position,” Newsome said. “He fits right into that bill of being one of the best players on the team.”
Walker scored on a 30-yard jet sweep with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter and added a 15-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Andrew Ramirez’s short touchdown passes to Johnny Delahoussaey and Rodney Edmonds pushed A.L. Brown (1-1) to a 27-0 halftime lead, and Delahoussaey hauled in a 28-yard scoring toss from Ramirez with 7:46 left in the third quarter.
Walker struck again six minutes later, taking a throw from backup quarterback Damon Johnson to the end zone.
Johnson normally lines up at the other H-back position, and Walker is familiar with its pedigree.
“We know about our past,” he said. “With Kalif Phillips, Damien Washington, we know the standards we have to fill. The blocking was there, and I was just focused. Coming up on the bus, I was just thinking about what I had to do.”
Despite a strong start, South Rowan (0-2) didn’t score until Derrick Blackwell reached the end zone on a 5-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
South defensive back Bryson Deaton picked off Ramirez’s first pass of the game, and linebacker Burke Fulcher intercepted Ramirez’s final throw of the opening half, but the Wonders scored on four of the five possessions sandwiched between those miscues.
Deaton’s interception followed a tip by teammate Michael Childers, and South used 11 plays on its first offensive series to march from its 43-yard line to the A.L. Brown 11. Junior quarterback Aaron Kennerly converted a pair of third-down passes to Eric Stowe on that drive, and Blackwell gained 24 yards on six rushes, but running back Dominique Bost fumbled into the end zone after reaching the 5 on a second-down carry from 11.
A.L. Brown’s Malik Fowler recovered the ball for a touchback, and Walker capped an eight-play drive with his first touchdown run. Ramirez’s 14-yard pass to Walker on a third-and-7 play from near midfield extended the possession.
A.L. Brown stopped a pass on a fake punt and pressured punter Marshall Long into a desperate, one-handed throw to set up short fields that helped the Wonders score their final two touchdowns of the first half.
“For people who saw us last week and how we kind of got stunned real quick, tonight we were a different football team,” said South coach Jason Rollins, whose team fell 44-9 in its opener against South Iredell. “I thought we held ourselves well in the first half.”
The energy from the students and band members in the home crowd made a big impression on Rollins, who said the support motivated his players to keep fighting.
“I was so proud to have such a great group of kids up there in the stands,” he said. “To have that tonight meant more to our kids. Just knowing they backed us, were behind us, it was an awesome feeling.”