• 41°

Prep Football: East Rowan notebook

This is the fifth of eight features on area football practices.
Today: East Rowan
Saturday: South Rowan
By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
GRANITE QUARRY ó As a sophomore, East Rowan junior Thomas Lowe posted the third-highest season rushing total in county history with 1,779 yards.
Lowe is a great bet to shatter the school career record as a junior. Cal Hayes Jr. rushed for 2,698 yards from 1998-2001.
Lowe is even thicker and stronger than last year and 10 pounds heavier, but if he’s going to pound for those 920 yards he needs for the record and the 1,500 or so yards he must accumulate if East is going to match last year’s 7-5 showing, a new offensive line has to come together in front of him.
“When we started, probably the O-line was the biggest question mark because while we inherited some good ones last year, now we’ve lost four out of five starters,” head coach Brian Hinson said. “Nathan Robbins will have to be the anchor. He’s the guy who understands everyone’s responsibilities.”
Robbins started at center as a sophomore, alongside veterans Cody Trexler, Josh Eury, Josh Patch and C.J. Gordy. Now Robbins, squarely built at 5-foot-11, 260 pounds and a good track man in the throws, is busy introducing himself to a new set of friends.
“It’s definitely a bigger role for me as the most experienced guy, but we’ve also got some new starters who are seniors,” Robbins said. “We have to regroup a little bit, but we’re doing pretty good because of Coach (Gary) Bass.”
Bass, who played at Catawba not long ago, produced an O-line last year that helped the Mustangs pile up 2,698 yards rushing and 1,576 passing.
East was slowed late last season by West Rowan, Statesville and playoff opponent Charlotte Catholic, but it still posted its best record this century and averaged 27.3 points a game, the school’s best offensive numbers since 1998.
While Hinson described East’s recent scrimmage with Asheboro as “disappointing,” it should be noted Lowe wasn’t in action.
That makes a difference.
Even without Lowe running the ball, the the new O-line, which will likely include Jonathan Belk, John Lohman, Greyson Gordy and Alex Lawson, was a bright spot in the scrimmage and appears to be progressing ahead of schedule.
Hinson was particularly pleased with Lohman.
“When we watched film, two or three guys already came very close to grading out,” Robbins said. “Coach Bass had us coming off the ball with some intensity, and we gained yards when we ran.”
Lawson, who was a difference-making defensive lineman as a junior, is a college prospect at 6-3, 220, and will see a lot of action both ways.
There are always surprises in the preseason, and the emergence of sophomore Kevin Gillespie on the defensive line has freed up Lawson to help out on offense.
“For someone playing offense for the first time, Alex is doing great,” Robbins said.
Robbins is asked if the Mustangs will do well again just about every time he walks down the street.
Without quarterback Shawn Eagle, kicker Kenny Barnes and those O-linemen success won’t be easy to duplicate, but Robbins has a standard answer.
“Everyone asks me if we can do as good, and I tell them we expect to do better,” he said. “We won seven, so let’s win eight or nine. We went one round in the playoffs, so let’s go farther. Your goal has got to be to always keep improving.”
Robbins is related to Phil and Leonard Robbins, who impacted East baseball and basketball in the 1960s, as well as Jake Robbins, a Myers Park pitcher who briefly reached the majors with Cleveland in 2004 and saved a lot of Triple-A games.
“I’ve heard all their stories,” Nathan said with a laugh. “But I’m trying to get the Robbins name out there in football.”
n
HIGHS AND LOWES: Lowe, who broke East’s single-season rushing record in only his eighth varsity game, participated in his first contact drills on Thursday.
He ran over some people.
n
SCRIMMAGES: Hinson said the Asheboro scrimmage “coulda been better,” but he was optimistic.
“I saw two good things,” he said. “First, all the mistakes we made are correctable.
“Second, the kids were disappointed. There were past years when they wouldn’t have cared. Now they do care, and it showed. They want to prove they’re better than that.”
East, which doesn’t open until Aug. 29 at Salisbury, scrimmages Southern Lee team at home next Wednesday.
n
EARLY TO BED: East practices are a 7-9 a.m. affair, and Hinson jokingly talked about turning on the heater in his car on the way in.
“I like practicing at this time, and I won’t ever change it,” he said. “It’s ideal for coaches with families, and I like to see my daughter before bedtime.”
nFULL HOUSE: Former Catawba standout James House is helping coach defensive ends and has been reunited with Hinson.
Hinson was an assistant coach at North Rowan when House was starring for the Cavaliers as a tight end and on the defensive line.
“He’s a good guy,” Hinson said. “We’re fortunate to have him with us.”
nQB QUESTION: It was assumed when junior Marquise Weddington transferred from North Rowan to East he would be the starting quarterback, but senior Trevor Monroe, who backed up Eagle last season, is still in the running for the starting position.
Hinson is convinced the athletic Weddington has a “chance to be really special,” but Monroe, a thin but competitive senior, has been in the program longer and has a better grasp of the offense at this point.
The scrimmage with Southern Lee may decide things.
nNAME TO KNOW: East’s all-county safety Ben DeCelle said the big surprise this year could be linebacker Sam Edmonds.
“He had a heck of a year on jayvee, and he ain’t scared of anything,” DeCelle said.
nHAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Like West Rowan, East Rowan is entering its 50th football season.
This will be No. 51 for North Rowan and No. 48 for South Rowan.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds