Prep Football: West Rowan notebook
This is the last of eight features on area football practices.
Today: West RowanBy Ronnie Gallagher
Scott Young thinks it’s a luxury to have three talented quarterbacks ó senior Brantley Horton, junior Jon Crucitti and sophomore B.J. Sherrill. But who will be under center Friday night when West plays host to North Rowan in the season opener?
“We’re starting Friday night with B.J. Sherrill and Jon Crucitti as our quarterbacks,” Young announced at practice on Monday.
Sherrill and Crucitti give the defending North Piedmont Conference champion a chance to confuse its opponents.
“They’re totally different,” Young said. “Jon’s a more polished, mechanic-wise passer. He’s a little quicker on his feet. B.J.’s the stronger of the two and has a stronger arm.”
AND HORTON? Horton will be back at receiver where he shined as a sophomore.
“I think it’s the best thing for him,” Young said of his 6-foot-2, 175-pounder. “He’s long and has great hands. He’s runs really fast.”
Horton quarterbacked West to an 11-2 record in 2007.
“We could play with Brantley Horton and be fine,” Young said. “But he’ll be one of the better receivers you see this year. That’s his future.”
Young isn’t counting Horton out of the quarterback mix just yet.
“I’m not going to back myself into a corner,” he said. “If those other two can’t get it done, I’ve got one who can.”
COUNTING ON MARCO:A place where West isn’t deep is the secondary, where Jordan Lilly and Justin Avery were mainstays.
Now, it’s up to senior Marco Gupton to be the leader of a young group. Gupton is ready for the challenge. His hard work has garnered attention from BYU and Harvard, among others.
“I’m really the only one with any experience,” the 5-11, 185-pounder said. “Austin Greenwood is one of my best friends. We’ll have each other’s back.”
Greenwood moved to the secondary from the offensive backfield.
“He’s doing great,” Gupton said.
WHERE’S THE HAIR? Gupton probably lost a few pounds when he trimmed his long, blonde locks before the season. That had always made him stand out in a crowd.
“I wanted a good season so it was time to change,” Gupton grinned. “It feels better. I’m faster.”
Young has no problem with the long hair “as long as it’s not an issue,” he said.
“It does look better, no doubt about that,” Young said. “He looks more like a football player than a surfboarder.”
COACHING REUNION: Young welcomed Lee Linville to the staff this season. The Davie County graduate and former North Iredell head coach is in charge of linebackers.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” smiled Linville.
Linville and Young were once fellow assistants at Davie. He lives in Mocksville and said the 18-mile drive is easy.
It should be an interesting matchup when Linville goes home Aug. 29 to War Eagle Stadium where he once suited up.
“It’s a great atmosphere,” Linville said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
VETERANS: Three coaches ó Ed Bowles, David Hunt and Butch Browning ó have a combined 105 years of experience.
GOOD TRADITION: As always, it seems offensive linemen are at a premium at West this season.
“For some reason,West Rowan gets really good linemen,” offensive line coach Joe Nixon said. “I think I’ve got some people who can be like David Melton, John Noble and Austin Lowe. I just try to keep them level-headed and try to outwork whoever we go up against.”
Nixon said center Garrett Teeter is looking good.
Young said West may go out of the shotgun more than it ever has so Teeter has some adjusting to do.
INJURIES: Young was counting on sophomore Charles Holloway to be a part-time starter on the offensive line.
He’ll have to wait.
Holloway is on crutches after tweaking a knee in practice last week.
“He had an MRI on Sunday,” Young reported. “We hope we get some good news from that.”
SURPRISES: One player getting rave reviews during a film session earlier in the week was Emmanuel Gbunblee, a sophomore defensive end.
“He’s a young guy up from the jayvees who had aspirations of playing linebacker,” Young said. “He can’t play linebacker so we moved him to defensive end. He’s starting to grow into it. He’s doing what we’re asking him to do.”
Another surprise is defensive back Trey Mashore.
Linebacker Kameron Finchem is playing well, according to the coach.
“And Eli Goodson is playing as well as anyone up front,” Young added.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO: Former NPC defensive player of the year Kendall High.
High played at North Carolina and is now employed with Chapel Hill schools.
– Browning’s son, Clay, is at UNC as a freshman. The former Falcon receiver is serving with another Butch ó Davis ó as a student assistant.
DON’T I KNOW YOU? There will be a Friday night family reunion when West plays North.
North lineman Josh Young is the West coach’s second cousin.