East Rowan bounces back
GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan claimed their first win of the 2013 season Friday night with some offensive fireworks but it was their defense that made a statement.
The Mustangs (1-1) not only shut out rival Salisbury 32-0 but they grabbed five fumbles, picked off a pass, scored a safety, and stopped the Hornets four times on fourth down conversion attempts.
Senior linebacker Dock Corpening was a star among stars as he recovered one fumble and twice ran down Hornet quarterback Riley Myers from behind to cause sack fumbles.
“I have to credit Austin Hill and my defensive line for pushing through and allowing me to get free back there,” Corpening stated. “We went through practice this week working on our intensity. Plus we didn’t allow last week’s loss (to North Rowan) to stay in our minds.”
The most impressive defensive stand came in the final four minutes with the game already decided. Myers hit Kreshon Alexander with a 23 yard pass that seemed to be a score for Salisbury but the officials ruled him down just inside the one.
The Hornets (0-2) pounded the interior line four straight times and the East defense pushed them back each time to preserve the shutout.
“That was just pride and determination to not give it up,” East coach Danny Misenheimer said, “I was just real impressed with the way our defense stood up out there.”
The Mustang offense was not too shabby either. Quarterback Sam Wyrick passed for 198 yards and three touchdowns including two more to his twin brother Seth, by far the most productive receiver in the county this year.
Despite the continued absence of injured star halfback Calvin Edwards, East continued to get productive running from junior Jake Boltz and freshman Max Wall.
Reserve quarterback Noah Drye actually led the Mustang ground game with 79 yards on just four carries, thanks to a couple of long sprints on the option play.
Still it was the uncanny connection of the Wyrick brothers that did the most damage to the Hornets. Salisbury opened the game with an impressive drive behind Myers that reached the East 23. But Willie Clark fumbled the ball forward and Corpening pounced on it at the 14 for East to stop the threat.
Then in a deja vu moment that recalled last year’s East win at Salisbury, Sam found wide receiver Seth wide open down the left sideline for the long TD pass. One play, 87 yards and a demoralizing momentum swing for Salisbury.
“If we go down and score on that first drive,” Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder noted,” then our kids would have had a completely different sense of confidence. Fumbles were just crucial tonight and changed the whole dynamic of the game.”
Things got worse for the Hornets on the next series when they were forced to punt from their own 14. Thelong snap sailed well over punter John Mark Petty’s head and out of the end zone for a safety.
East expanded the lead early in the second quarter with a 64 yard drive capped by a two yard TD dive by Boltz to make it 16-0.
After an exchange of fumbles, East got another break when Austin Hill pounced on a muffed punt at the Hornet 25. Three plays later the Wyricks hooked up on an 11 yard screen pass that produced a touchdown and a 23-0 halftime lead.
The Mustangs turned to their talented placekicker Salvador Sanchez to open the third period with a 37 yard field goal. The score was set up by a 50 yard return of the second half kickoff by Donte Means. Sanchez also booted three extra points.
The final score of the game came early in the finalperiod thanks to Corpening’s sack fumble on Myers at the Hornet 20. The ball popped in the air and Michael Collins caught it and raced down to the nine. Two plays later Wyrick hit tight end Simon Soles in the end zone from four yards out to make the final 32-0.
Seth Wyrick led the East offense with three catches for 123 yards and the two scores. Myers was the top producer for Salisbury with 74 yards passing and 24 net yards rushing.
East now enjoys a bye week which Misenheimer says will “ allow us to work on some of the things we need to correct.”
Salisbury has to regroup against rival West Rowan at home next Friday.