Prep Football Notebook: Carson enjoying new atmosphere
From staff reports
It has been quite a week for Carson football coach Mark Woody.
He has recovered from the victory shower he received after the Cougars’ 36-0 win over North Rowan. He has been interviewed countless times by the local newspaper and has even been on a Charlotte TV station. There has been a documentary, “The Road to Victory” on his team on the Post Website.
And inside the school’s doors, spirit is at an all-time high after the school broke a 22-game losing streak and gave its community its first-ever orange-and-blue win.
“It’s a lot different,” Woody smiled. “I’ve had five or six kids I don’t even know say they want to go out for football. I had to break the news to them they were a little late.”
SATISFYING: If anyone is savoring Carson’s celebration it’s junior defensive back Zack Grkman.
Through his days in Pop Warner, middle school and high school, it was only the second time he has tasted victory.
“He got one in Pop Warner,” Woody said.
RECORD: Carson’s 36 points against North Rowan were the most the Cougars have ever scored in a game.
Their previous high was when they lost against Bunker Hill 42-28 in 2006.
Last season’s most prolific offensive showing came in a 27-17 loss to North Iredell.North has opened with a 60-0 road loss against West Rowan and a 36-0 home setback against Carson.
North’s most recent shutout had come against eventual state champion Burlington Cummings in the 2006 state playoffs.
North had not been held scoreless in a regular-season game since a 7-0 loss against Lexington in 2004.
North was shut out only once (by Concord) in the decade of the 1990s.
The last time North was shut out back-to-back was in 1989 when it was playing in the 3A ranks and was mashed by eventual state champion A.L. Brown (40-0) and Central Cabarrus (46-0).
The last time North was blanked in its first two games of a season was in 1977 when the Cavaliers fell to Central Cabarrus (23-0) and Lexington (21-0). The Hornets’ defense took bend-but-don’t-break to a new level in Friday’s 35-6 victory over East Rowan.
The final statistics were virtually even, with Salisbury holding a 318-298 advantage in rushing and passing yardage, but a 4-1 edge in the turnover battle and kicker Frankie Cardelle turned the game into a breeze for Salisbury.
Cardelle put five of his six kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks, forcing East to initiate its offense from the 20.
“Frankie was a big factor,” East coach Brian Hinson said. “When you’ve got a kicker like that, it’s a weapon.”
Cardelle missed a field goal, but he kicked three PATs and also had a punt that was downed on the East 1 and led directly to a safety.
X’s and O’s: Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan, who joined Hall of Famers Pete Stout (83) and Bill Ludwig (129) in the 50-win club at the school, said the Hornets had to tweak a lot of things on offense and defense in preparing for East because East coach Piotr Kalinowski was on the Salisbury staff last season.
“They have a guy over there on their coaching staff who knows us pretty well,” Pinyan said. “So we tweaked some things, and a lot of our big plays were on the tweaks.”
PAYBACK: Salisbury had owned the series with East in this century until 2007 when Thomas Lowe trampled the Hornets for four touchdowns.
East’s 42-21 victory in that game was a sore spot for the Hornets, who were obviously fired up to make amends on Friday.
“We want East, we want East, we want East ó that’s all we talked about for a week,” quarterback John Knox said. “That’s what we wanted, and now we got East.”
PROGRESS: While his pace has slowed a bit, senior Dario Hamilton, a fourth-year varsity player, has climbed within sight of Tyris Davidson’s school record of 3,107 career rushing yards.
Hamilton, who threw several physical blocks Friday, is credited with 2,744 yards.
In 2004, Davidson, also a four-year varsity performer, broke a rushing standard that 1970s star Leonard Atkins (2,578) set in only two years and held for nearly three decades.
Atkins broke a record set by Eddie Kesler in 1956-59.
NAME TO KNOW: Backup halfback Dejoun Jones, a freshman, scored his first varsity TD on Friday.
Mark it down. There will be quite a few more.
Jones and fellow freshman Dominique Dismuke are progressing quickly enough that O’ Bryan Graham, a transfer who was North Rowan’s primary running back a year ago, has been able to concentrate on defense.
A 9.8 FROM JUDGES: Jeremiah Stockdale wowed the crowd with a spectacular, diving interception after a pass ricocheted off an East receiver.
Salisbury has five picks (two by linebacker Pierre Jimenez) in two games.
Lowe had 112 yards by halftime, including 75 on one bullish scoring drive, but his night was cut short by cramps.
Lowe needs 109 yards against North Rowan on Friday to become only the sixth East back to rush for 2,000 in his career.
Cal Hayes Jr. (2,698), Randy Fowler (2,485), Joseph Patterson (2,365), Rick Vanhoy (2,311) and Jeff Park (2,003) have reached the milestone.
Fowler and Vanhoy were Shrine Bowl backfield mates in 1973-75.
NEW FACE: Quentin Sifford was a bright spot for the Mustangs Friday.
The backup tailback rushed for 103 yards ó all in the second half ó after Lowe exited.
“Quentin’s a young kid in a man’s body,” Hinson said. “Bright future. What he has to work on is ball security.”
Sifford proved that when he fumbled on the last play of the game after East had driven deep in Salisbury territory.
CONTAINED: It’s hard to take away everything against Salisbury’s wishbone, but East stopped the fullback dive (Ike Whitaker had nine carries for 18 yards) and contained Hamilton, the left halfback, who is approaching a school rushing record.
Hamilton rushed 11 times for 45 yards and didn’t have any big ones.
NICE JOB: Lineman Alex Lawson and linebacker Sam Edmonds, who had an interception, were standouts for East’s defense on Friday.
INJURY CONCERN: Junior center Nathan Robbins, East’s most experienced offensive lineman, went down with a shoulder injury late in Friday’s game but vowed he’d be OK to play against North.
Robbins was disappointed with East’s failure to produce points in the second half against the Hornets.
“They’ve got a big defensive front, but we should’ve done better against them,” he said. “No ifs, ands or buts, this was a game we shoulda won.
“But it’s not conference and it’s behind us.” Unconventional touchdowns ó scoring on defense or special teamsó can swing momentum in football games quickly.
T.J. Johnson’s 91-yard kickoff return to answer South’s only score was huge in A.L. Brown’s 28-7 victory against the Raiders on Friday.
Two games into the 2008 season, South’s already been on the wrong end of two unconventional TDs. Salisbury’s A.J. Ford scooped a teammate’s fumble and went 80 yards to sink the Raiders opening night.
South wasn’t the victim of a single unconventional TD in 2007, and the Raiders had two such scores go their wayó Mark McDaniel’s fumble return against Salisbury and Banks Davis’ pick-6 against Carson.
In 2006, South produced two unconventional TDs ó both on Josh Wike kickoff returns ó but it was battered by eight unusual TDs.
With players such as Wike, Darius Beaty and Heath Houston, South’s produced its share of kickoff return TDs recently, but South hasn’t had a punt return for a score since Mr. Unconventional TD, Keith Fuller, was around in 2003.
Fuller accounted for four of South’s seven unconventional TDs that season, with two punt returns, one kickoff return and one fumble return.
That was a wild and crazy season. Besides Fuller’s heroics, Patrick Atwell contributed a 100-yard interception return against West Charlotte, Nick Stamey rolled 50 yards with an onside kick to score in a playoff game with McDowell, and Jason Stanley enjoyed the rarest TD of all ó scoring on the return of a blocked field goal. Garrett Lowery and the ever-present Fuller blocked it, and Stanly dashed 80 yards.
Johnson’s 91-yard kickoff was the Wonders’ 38th unconventional TD during Ron Massey’s coaching tenure, which began in 2000.
Brown has 17 defensive touchdowns (nine on interceptions, eight on fumble returns) and 21 on special teams under Massey, who owns an 86-24 record.
Brown punt return teams have scored 10 times ó four on blocks, six on returns ó and the Wonders have run back 11 kickoffs.
The kickoff return has been their specialty lately. Four players listed on this year’s roster ó Johnson, Jamill Lott, Johnathan Williams and Artrele Louis ó have returned at least one kickoff for a touchdown.
Davie’s Jarrell Marshall had a 56-yard punt return for a TD in a 35-21 victory against West Rowan, only the third punt return TD surrendered by the Falcons since the turn of the century.
Statesville’s William Marion had a 66-yarder against West in 2007, and North Iredell’s Nick Stutts hauled one back 91 yards in a long-decided game in 2006.
West hasn’t surrendered a TD on a blocked punt since 2001 when Matt Baker fell on one in the end zone for East Rowan.
No one has taken a kickoff all the way against the Falcons since South Rowan’s Keith Garrett did it in 1999, and Garrett’s trip to the house was immediately answered by Justin Davis who took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the Falcons.
It was tough to find a seat at War Eagle Stadium on Friday as West ‘s large following rolled through Cooleemee and into Mocksville. A crowd of 4,500 showed for the battle of neighbors.
STOPPING K.P.: West star K.P. Parks ran for 114 first-half yards and defensive coordinator Devore Holman didn’t want a repeat of last year when Parks rambled for 269 yards.
“At halftime, we talked about it,” explained Holman, “and we went to what we called a reduced defense. We put eight in the box and played straight Cover 3.”
Parks’ longest run was 16 yards. Ten of his carries were for two yards or less and four went for zero or negative yards.
“I was just proud he didn’t break a long one,” Davie head coach Doug Illing said.
Safety Zach Long had 12 tackles, Jared Barber 11 and Tanis Jefferies nine.
NO ORDINARY JOE: Sophomore Joe Watson had 149 yards receiving the most since Jonathan Mayfield’s 150 in 2005. That’s a span of 32 games.
SPREAD IT AROUND: Five different War Eagles scored the five touchdowns: Jacob Vernon, Darius Wilson, Jarrell Marshall, Jacob Barber and Watson.
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.