Prep Football: Mooresville 28, East Rowan 0
By Nick Bowton
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan found a way to contain Mooresville tailback Jjshaun Pinkston on Friday: Keep him off the field.The Mustangs, however, didn’t limit Pinkston’s touches by controlling the clock offensively. Instead, they gave up two touchdowns before the Mooresville offense even took the field at Mustang Stadium.
Pinkston added 138 yards once he finally did get a chance to run the ball, and Mooresville blanked East 28-0 in an NPC game played in a steady drizzle.
“Two breakdowns in the punt game,” said East coach Brian Hinson, who watched his team give up touchdowns on a punt return and blocked punt in the first five minutes. “Definitely hard to come back. The first one we had kids in position, had a couple kids miss a tackle or take a fake, one kid not trying to wrap up and reaching.
“You can’t reach against this bunch of kids. They got too many good football players.”
Players such as senior safety Dylan West, who fielded a punt two minutes into the game, ran from the right hash mark to the left sideline, waited for a crushing block and reversed field for a 62-yard touchdown.
Two minutes later, the Mustangs (1-4, 0-3) had another punting mishap.
“The second one, it’s crazy because the first one they ran back, they cold-cocked our kicker,” Hinson said. “He was woozy and couldn’t hardly half talk. So we put in our backup kicker, and he fumbles the snap on a wet field.”
When Taylor Owen couldn’t cleanly field a snap in his own end zone, the Blue Devils (4-1, 3-0) had time to block the punt and pounce on it for a 14-0 lead.
The quick advantage clearly benefited Mooresville, but coach Barclay Marsh said it presented a problem as well.
“Any time you get spotted a lead like that, obviously it makes the game easier,” Marsh said. “But what concerns me is you get a little flat. The offense hasn’t stepped on the field, and they know they don’t have to do anything right away.
“I felt like offensively, we kind of played that way all night long.”
Give East at least some credit for Mooresville’s offensive numbers. Pinkston finished with 22 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns, but 66 of those yards came on his first six carries.
“The kids we’re putting on the field, they’re competitors,” Hinson said. “Our defense, I think, proved that. Mooresville has a great offense. They average 6-3, 280 across the board, and then you got Pinkston back there.
“And our defense only allowed 14 points. That’s a testament to those kids on defense.”
As for East’s offense?
The Mustangs struggled all night against an ultra-aggressive Mooresville defensive front. East finished with 6 rushing yards and 75 passing yards, all coming on Ben DeCelle receptions. Mooresville sacked East quarterback Marquise Weddington five times.
Hinson said his Mustangs need to improve every facet of their offense, from blocking to catching to decision-making. East dropped a couple of passes, missed plenty of blocks and had 11 plays go for negative yardage.
“I thought our defense was just phenomenal all night long,” Marsh said. “They were flying all over the place, making big hits. They rushed East all night long. Any time you can shut somebody out, we’re gonna be real happy with that. That was just a great effort.”