Area Athletes Update:
Area athletes update ...
SALISBURY — Everyone feels a few opening-day jitters, but for West Liberty defensive end Quentin Sifford the butterflies were accompanied by the nervous excitement of a homecoming when West Liberty visited Catawba on Saturday.
West Liberty is in the northern part of West Virginia and is not far from Pittsburgh, so there’s a lot of Interstate 77 between Sifford and home. West Liberty traveled about 430 miles to play at Catawba.
“It really was a rush to play at home,” said Sifford, after West Liberty dropped a hard-fought 10-9 decision to the Indians. “It was a great feeling to go out there and start the game in front of friends and family, but it wasn’t long before the heat hit me, We don’t have heat like that in West Virginia.”
West Liberty’s recruiting trips into SAC territory that netted players such as Sifford and his West teammate Eric Cowan actually had a lot to do with Catawba scheduling West Liberty. Chip Hester, Catawba’s coach then, wanted to make the point that good players didn’t have to leave the area to play good D-II football.
Sifford was a big catch for West Liberty. He was a terrific linebacker for West Rowan’s 2010 3A state champions, and before that, he was a two-way player at East Rowan.
Sifford actually was a Post Friday Night Hero at both high schools. Probably his greatest game was as a junior for East in 2009 against Hickory Ridge when he rushed for two touchdowns, threw a TD pass and also made a game-changing sack.
Sifford redshirted at West Liberty in 2011. That had to be a slow-moving year.
“It is a long way from home, and it was tough at first,” Sifford said. “But it’s good now.”
Sifford, listed at 6 feet and 230 pounds, had a stellar redshirt freshman season for West Liberty’s Hilltoppers. He had 10.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks.
He’s starting as a sophomore and was credited with one solo tackle against Catawba. He played against West teammate Trey Mashore.
• Catawba started safety Mark McDaniel (South Rowan), guard Timmy Pangburn (West), receiver Joe Watson (Davie) and running back Mashore (West) against West Liberty. McDaniel made five tackles. Mashore rushed for 23 yards. Pangburn and the offensive line didn’t allow a sack.
Freshman linebacker Desmond Lackey (Davie) made on tackle for Catawba.
• Johnson C. Smith kicker Erick Amaya (A.L. Brown) was instrumental in J.C. Smith’s 34-17 win against Livingstone. Amaya kicked field goals of 36 and 34 yards and was 4-for-4 on PATs. He averaged 64.7 yards on six kickoffs.
Freshman DB J.P. Lott (A.L. Brown) made two tackles for the Golden Bulls. Lott’s father, James, starred at A.L. Brown and Clemson. He is the defensive coordinator for the Golden Bulls and also coaches the secondary and special teams. Former Wonder DBs Kaleel Hollis and Jamar Clemmons are on the J.C. Smith roster.
• Lenoir-Rhyne junior fullback Ike Whitaker (Salisbury) was held to 31 yards on 10 carries, as Concord beat the Bears 18-10.
Zach Long (Davie) made one tackle for L-R.
•In UNC Pembroke’s big win against Winston-Salem State on Thursday, Ben DeCelle (East Rowan) caught three passes for 25 yards. Cadarreus Mason (South) had four tackles, including a sack for UNCP.
• Charleston QB John Knox (Salisbury) rushed for 30 yards and ran for 39 in a 44-14 loss at Shaw. Knox scored on a 17-yard run.
• In Charlotte’s 47-7 win against Chowan, Kalif Phillips (A.L. Brown) caught three passes for 51 yards, including a 40-yard TD reception. Phillips also rushed five times for 21 yards.
• UNC Romar Morris (Salisbury) rushed 10 times for 46 yards and two TDs as the Tar Heels beat Middle Tennessee 40-20. It was the first two-TD game for Morris.
Safety Darien Rankin (Salisbury) intercepted a pass at the UNC 12-yard line to stop a Middle Tennessee drive and returned it 12 yards.
• Kevin Parks (West) rushed 19 times for 60 yards in Virginia’s lopsided loss to Oregon. Parks also caught two short passes for 9 yards.
• Linebacker Jared Barber (Davie) made five tackles for West Virginia in a 16-7 loss to Oklahoma.
• In Arkansas’ 31-21 win in Little Rock against Samford, Chris Smith (West) was in on four tackles and shared a sack. He also was credited with a quarterback hurry.
• Averett senior cornerback Zack Grkman (Carson) is a captain this season and made five tackles in a 42-12 loss to Hampden-Sydney.
Averett sophomore cornerback Dontae Gilbert (Carson) made four tackles and forced a fumble. Averett freshman running back Dante Pinkston (A.L. Brown) returned six kickoffs for 112 yards. Hobie Proctor (West) averaged 53 yards on three kickoffs for Averett. Sophomore linebacker T.J. Smith (Carson) also saw action for the Cougars.
• Junior defensive lineman Jordan Farmer (Davie) made two tackles for Guilford in a 31-28 win against Greensboro.
• Defensive back Orlando Gray (A.L. Brown) and tight end Jack Gallagher (West) are freshmen on the Methodist roster. Methodist won its opening game.
Ross Oden (East) ran 26:16 and finished first to lead USC Upstate to the men’s Division I championship in the 30th annual Eye Opener Meet on Friday at Spartanburg’s Milliken Park.
Oden was well-prepared after a summer internship at Milliken Park. He ran the course every day, before or after work.
Upstate won the team championship, with seven of the top 10 times.
Guilford setter Taylor Whitley (Carson) had 25 assists and eight digs in a 3-1 loss to William Peace and 42 assists and nine digs in a 3-2 win against Greensboro.
• Averett’s Nicole Barringer (South) had 37 assists and 15 digs in a 3-2 loss to Virginia Wesleyan.
• Hollins’ Lela Moore (West Rowan) had 14 assists and four digs in a 3-1 loss to Virginia Intermont.
• In Lenoir-Rhyne’s 3-1 win against Montevallo in Salisbury, Kayla Morrow (South) had 11 kills (with no errors), three digs and two blocks. Emma Pope (South) had five digs. In L-R’s 3-2 loss to Shippensburg in Salisbury, Pope had five digs and Morrow had 12 kills, five digs and three blocks.
• Brevard’s Amanda Possidente (East) had two digs in the Tornados’ 3-0 win against St. Augustine’s.
Defensive back Jumal Rolle (Catawba) was waived by the Saints on Sept. 1, but after he cleared waivers, he was signed to the Saints’ practice squad.
Keegan Linza (North Rowan) will be working in baseball operations for MLB in the Arizona Fall League. The league begins in October.