Prep Football: Notebook

Prep football notebook ...

North Rowan had a good team in 2012, coach Joe Nixon’s first season at the helm, but the Cavaliers went 0-4 in their four biggest outings — rivalry games with Salisbury and West Rowan, a home game with Albemarle that essentially decided the YVC championship, and a first-round 1AA playoff game against West Montgomery.

North’s team was heavy with sophomores in 2012, but now that those athletes are juniors, they’ve shown the maturity to finish marquee games. North (4-0) already has come back to beat Statesville and Davie.

With Salisbury still looking for its first win, North’s game at Thomasville on Nov. 1 looks like the biggest game left on the Cavs’ schedule.

SPECIAL: North’s 28-13 win against Davie was remarkable in that the War Eagles could’ve easily been up 14-0 or even 21-0 at halftime.

Instead it was 7-7 because of Davie penalties and a special-teams play by the Cavaliers. Michael Robinson blocked a punt, and Kenyaun Coney scooped it for a touchdown.

“Michael Robinson has been really solid on defense and on special teams all year,” Nixon said.

NO RUSH: North was overwhelmed statistically in the first half by Davie — the Cavaliers had 3 rushing yards at the break compared to Davie’s 113 — but North made huge plays in the passing game in the second half.

A week after he accounted for 198 rushing yards against Statesville, QB Jareke Chambers had 235 passing yards against Davie, the most passing yards by the Cavaliers since T.J. Allen and Sam Starks combined for 265 in a loss to Lexington early in the 2010 season.

GROVE SUPPLY: North has an odd game Friday, a trip to rural Randolph County to play 2A school Providence Grove.

“Week 5 and Week 6, most schools are playing conference games and everyone close is playing conference,” Nixon explained. “It was hard to find someone to play this week, and the same is true for next week when we go to Forest Hills.”

North will be trying to go 5-0 for the first time since 1994.

WON’T HAPPEN: A North Rowan-West Rowan game would be a humongous game drawing a humongous crowd, but it’s not on the schedule.

The teams played a fierce one in 2012 in Spencer, but the matchup was a casualty of West’s move from a seven-team league to a nine-team league with realignment.

Davie and Mooresville were automatic as two of West’s three non-league games. Those are neighbors and big gates for the Falcons.

So it came down to Salisbury or North for the Falcons’ third non-conference game, and for now, at least, it’s Salisbury.

Special-teams disasters have haunted Davie (1-3) in all three of its losses.

“We’re a victim of our special teams,” Davie coach Devore Holman said.

Even with a pile of injuries, Davie has been good enough offensively and defensively to be 3-1 or 4-0.

It’s strange to see both Davie and Thomasville (1-2) with losing records. One program will get well this Friday when they tangle in Mocksville.

CADE PARADE: Sophomore running back Cade Carney pounded North for 190 rushing yards. Two penalties kept it from being 250.

DEFENSE: Davie sacked Chambers three times, including a 17-yard takedown by James Boyle.

East Rowan coach Danny Misenheimer credited his offensive line with a good game in a 21-20 win against Cox Mill. East (2-1, 1-0 SPC) had no other choice as the run-heavy Mustangs rushed the ball 56 times for 215 yards.

AGAIN? East takes on Carson Friday in a Southern Piedmont matchup and faces the Cougars at home for the third straight time. The Mustangs beat Carson twice last year in Granite Quarry, including the first round of the playoffs.

WIRY: Junior quarterback Sam Wyrick is closing in on 2,000 career passing yards. He has 1,789 after three games this season. Wyrick completed 12 passes for 106 yards against Cox Mill and overcame two interceptions

Former Davie player Mookie Martin could be active for West Rowan (2-1, 0-0) soon. He’s expected to be a difference-making talent at running back, receiver and kick returner.

WOUNDED WARRIORS: West’s senior tailbacks Daisean Reddick and Keyows Weeks have both practiced this week and are likely to play in Friday’s SPC home game with Northwest Cabarrus.

Reddick, a 1,000-yard rusher as a junior, was injured in the first half opening night against Mooresville. Weeks was outstanding filling in for Reddick, but he was hurt in the second half of West’s romp against Salisbury.

“Neither is 100 percent, but they’re getting close and both are probable for Friday,” West coach Scott Young said.

West also expects to have starting offensive lineman Jacob Radtke back for Northwest.

West got receiver Chris Patterson and center Trey Brawley back from the injured list for the Salisbury game.

“In a way, this is gonna be like opening night,” Young said. “We haven’t had everybody since the first quarter of the Mooresville game, but we’re getting healthier.”

GRAY ANATOMIES: Coming off its bye week, West plans to wear its new “gray” home jerseys Friday, so that’s something to watch for.

IMPRESSED: Everyone lists the SPC favorites as Central Cabarrus, West Rowan and Concord, not necessarily in that order.

No one has mentioned Northwest, but the Trojans are off to a 3-0 start.

“They’re doing something right,” Young said. “And when you get to 3-0 kids start to believe.”

NWC QB Brandon White (10), receiver J.D. Murray (11), running back Armon Dooley (8) and defensive lineman Julian Jackson (32) are the Trojans who really impressed Young when he watched tape of NWC.

Sophomore end Brendan Huneycutt has caught three touchdown passes. He caught two TD receptions from Austin McNeill in a 45-24 SPC loss to Central Cabarrus.

“We told him he wasn’t going to be catching a lot of passes in our offense,” Carson coach Joe Pinyan said with a chuckle. “But he leads the team in touchdowns.”

Huneycutt and Andrew Hower may line up as the split end or the tight end in Carson’s offense. Pinyan said they’re both blocking well, and that’s their main job.

MILESTONE: McNeill, a senior, threw the 33rd and 34th TD passes of his career against Central, and he also went over 3,000 passing yards for his career. McNeill, who has 3,052 yards, is the 18th player in county history to reach that milestone.

The school record at Carson is Zack Gragg’s 3,480 career passing yards.

“McNeill did a real nice job directing our offense,” Pinyan said. “This is a new offense for him, and we threw a lot at him in a very short time, but by bits and pieces, it’s starting to come together.”

Carson rushed for 254 yards against Central.

DEFENSE: Linebacker Tre Williams made an interception and returned it 41 yards to the Central 9, but Carson couldn’t get in the end zone.

HE’S BACK: Myquon Stout saw his first action of the year against Central. Pinyan estimated that he’s at 80-85 percent effectiveness after a shoulder issue.

PRAISEWORTHY: Pinyan always seems to get a soccer player to provide well-above average kicking.

His guy this year is Logan Correll, who had a 31-yard field goal against Central.

SLOOP WATCH: Junior Brandon Sloop rushed for 161 yards against Central and has 2,650 for his career.

He’s 20th on the all-time list in Rowan County’s modern era (since 1968). With 50 yards Friday, he’ll move past two illustrious names — East’s all-time leader Cal Hayes Jr. and Nathanial Hyde, who powered North’s march to a 3A state runner-up finish in 1992.

It hasn’t been much fun for Salisbury so far.

The Hornets are 0-4 for the first time since 2001 when they went 1-10.

While they finally experienced offensive success in Friday’s 48-30 loss to Lake Norman, the Hornets have allowed 135 points the last three weeks.

The issues are the schedule and injuries.

Salisbury plays at South Iredell Friday, and that’s the team the Hornets played in a barnburner in the 2AA West final a year ago. South Iredell, which has moved up a classification, is still very strong and is undefeated and ranked sixth in 3A.

Salisbury will go into that game with a roster shortened by a spree of injuries.

QB Riley Myers, who had a breakout effort with 218 passing yards against Lake Norman — the school record is 267 — isn’t expected to play tonight, and defensive leader J.C. Burton has been out several weeks.

South Rowan (0-4, 0-1) gave it a good run against Northwest Cabarrus in the SPC opener for both teams, losing 35-25 after trailing 28-7 early in the second quarter.

Junior quarterback Aaron Kennerly threw for 210 yards, the third 200-yard effort of his nine-game varsity career.

BREAD AND BUTTER: With Derrick Blackwell out, Dominique Bost delivered a huge rushing game for the Raiders against Northwest.

Bost had 13 yards for the season coming in, but he rolled for 149 yards on 29 carries and scored a touchdown.

“He’s a special cat,” South coach Jason Rollins said. “You don’t hear a word out of him. He just lines up and goes.”

Bost also earned some praise from Kennerly.

“He’s the hardest-working player I’ve ever been around,” Kennerly said.

TACKLE SHOP: South missed a ton of tackles against Northwest back Dooley in the first half, but it got some things corrected at halftime.

“I liked the way a lot of our defensive guys played,” Rollins said. “We had a lot of positives. I thought Michael Childress did a really nice job at cornerback.”

Ryan Bringle and Alex Parham recovered fumbles for the Raiders.

LOOKING AHEAD: South has a good offensive plan and put together some sharp sequences against Northwest — including a 17-play scoring drive — but as difficult as the SPC looks from top to bottom, it’s hard to be optimistic.

There’s no obvious win on the schedule for the Raiders, who have started 0-4 for the fourth straight year.

South is at Concord Friday. Enough said.

The Wonders (3-1) are in their bye week after an exciting 45-39 win against Berry Academy. The Wonders scored the last 15 points to pull that one out.

A.L. Brown has won three in a row, so you’d expect that they would want to keep their momentum rolling, but head coach Mike Newsome embraces the bye.

“We can use the off week to try to get healthier,” he said. “We are just so banged up right now. We’ve got two offensive lineman out, two defensive linemen in casts, a kid with a broken thumb. I think we’re probably lucky that we’re off.”

SILVER LINING: Sometimes when you have to move players around because of injuries, you learn things. Moved from the defensive line to the offensive line in an emergency, Pierre Mills shined and may have found a new position.

AWARDS: Jalen Cagle, who scored the game-winning TD against Berry was named offensive player of the week. End Christian Carter was the defensive player of the week. Maliek Patterson, who had big kick return following a safety, was the special teams player of the week. Right tackle Josh Barlow was named “Hawg of the Week.”

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