Prep Football: West Rowan 41, Statesville 7
By Bret Strelow
MOUNT ULLA ó Mud stains covered the back of Statesville signal-caller T.J. McCombs’ jersey, but spirals pierced through sheets of rain and reached open receivers when West Rowan had possession.An effective passing game and dominant defense enabled West to earn a 41-7 victory against visiting Statesville on Friday night.
Sophomore quarterback B.J. Sherrill threw three touchdown passes in unfavorable conditions, and the Greyhounds’ offense didn’t register a first down until 4:41 remained in the third quarter.
“If people are going to gameplan against Kevin Parks, we understand and we’re going to take advantage of some things through the air,” West coach Scott Young said. “With as much man coverage as they played, it’s to our advantage (on a wet field). We knew where we’re going and they don’t.”
West junior K.P. Parks, who had 27 carries, rushed for 143 yards and surpassed 5,000 for his career.
He scored the Falcons’ first two touchdowns, and Sherrill’s hat trick produced a 34-0 lead. Two of his TD passes went to Brantley Horton, who made five catches for 119 yards.
“The offense came out first and did what they had to do, and we came out and stepped up real big,” defensive lineman Kenderic Dunlap said.
West (4-1, 3-0 NPC) elected to receive the opening kickoff, and Sherrill handed off to Parks on the first two plays.
Parks ran left on second down and gave the ball to receiver Jon Crucitti, who rolled toward the center of the field and unleashed a reverse pass to Horton for a 51-yard gain.
“We’ve had it in the book, but we figured we’d pull it out this week back on Monday,” Horton said. “It was pretty exciting knowing we’d get to do it early and maybe get off to a big start there.”Parks scored on first down from Statesville’s 4, and he capped a 12-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Sherrill fired a 10-yard TD pass to Horton with 8:46 remaining in the half, and Matt Turchin’s extra point gave the Falcons a 22-0 lead.
Statesville (3-2, 2-1) failed to move the chains on fourth-and-2 carries from West Rowan’s 30 and 43 in the final five minutes of the second quarter, and a 39-yard run by Parks set up the Falcons’ last touchdown of the half.
Sherrill slipped out of linebacker Tyrell Bennett’s grasp on a third-and-goal play from Statesville’s 19 and found Johnathon Hill for a score with 27 seconds left before the break.
Horton hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.
“I figured to see a big dose of K.P.,” Statesville coach Randall Gusler said. “They came out, threw the ball around and did some things we really weren’t expecting, especially on a night like tonight.”Statesville relied more on its passing game once it fell behind, and the Falcons battered McCombs. The Greyhounds didn’t get a first down on any of their first seven possessions, and they managed 82 yards of total offense.
Statesville had the ball six times in the first half and gained 32 yards on 20 plays. Thirteen were runs.
“Luckily for us, if we have a strength, it is stopping the run,” Young said. “Our kids see K.P. every day in practice, and we run the football first, so our defense gets plenty of opportunities to see the run.”