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Prep Football: Forbush 14, North Rowan 6

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
EAST BEND ó The drumbeat of bad news continues for North Rowan’s football team.
The winless Cavaliers failed another road test Friday night ó only this was one they expected to pass.
“We thought this would be the week, too,” first-year coach Tasker Fleming said after North suffered a 14-6 loss at Forbush. “We practiced hard all week and felt like we were ready.”
For much of the game North (0-4) seemed poised to give Fleming his first victory. But a couple of second-half breakdowns spelled the difference and lifted Forbush (1-3) to its first win.
“I really don’t know what happened,” said Vince Shropshire, a two-way NR bright spot who rushed for 100 yards on 11 carries. “We had our mistakes, things we could have done better. But if we had played the second half like we played the first, we beat these guys.”
Instead, they close the non-conference portion of their season behind the ’08 ball. North now has two weeks to stew ó and prepare for its CCC opener at Ledford.
“As a staff and a team, we expect to win every Friday,” Fleming said after North gained a season-best 220 total yards ó including 145 on the ground. “We approached it like any other game. Like most high school games it usually comes down to three or four plays and you either execute or you don’t. I felt like we had opportunities in the first half that we let slip away.”
North took the wheel and controlled the scoreless first half, outgaining FHS 97-7. On the Cavs’ first possession sophomore quarterback Jesse Rudisell moved the team 20 yards before throwing the first of two interceptions to Forbush’s Andry Nieto.
Later in the opening quarter, North advanced to the Forbush 45 but lost the ball on a careless fumble. And in the second period, Rudisell guided the Cavs from their own 30 to the Forbush 13, their deepest offensive penetration of the game. But that drive fizzled after three straight negative-yardage running plays and an incomplete pass on fourth-and-long.
“It’s just frustrating, sometimes,” linebacker Javon Hargrave said. “We called the right plays. But we made mistakes on both sides of the ball.”
Forbush turned one of them ó a 15-yard face-mask penalty against North on the second-half kickoff ó into the game’s first points. FHS quarterback Devin Sparks steered the Falcons 46 yards in nine plays and scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter.
“We lost time and field position on that drive,” Fleming said. “A face-mask on the 30 put the ball over the 50. Our individuals play hard but there are some that have to figure out you play until the whistle.”
Hargrave is one who gets it. The sophomore defensive end scored North’s only touchdown when he stripped the ball from Sparks and chased it down in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. The Cavs’ chance to take an 8-7 lead vaporized when Rudisell was sacked by Forbush’s Mike Lawson on a two-point conversion try.
North’s enthusiasm was short-lived. On the next play from scrimmage FHS running back Jonathan Hauser (16 carries, 103 yards) busted a 32-yard run on a first-down trap play. Six snaps later he roto-rootered his way up the middle for a game-clinching, 6-yard TD run.
“Every day is frustrating, but only because I care about these kids,” Fleming said. “They’re the ones that have to walk the halls and listen to kids who aren’t playing telling them how good they’d be if they were out there.”
Still, Fleming found a reason to soldier on. “I see where this team can go,” he said. “I’m not sure if they see the same vision I have ó how little things and little 5-yard penalties can make a difference. But I’ll keep patting them on the back and challenging them. Hopefully, they’ll get the picture.”

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