Prep Football: Week 6 – Greenwood shines on defense
Austin Greenwood gained notoriety when he filled in for star K.P. Parks and rushed for 145 yards in a first-round playoff win last season.
Greenwood is making a name for himself at free safety this season.
A backup safety last year until he became Parks’ top backup, Greenwood made two stops behind the line of scrimmage on Statesville’s first possession last Friday.
He tackled running back Savion Nichols for a 2-yard loss on first down and helped bring down Greg Chambers for a loss of 1 yard on a third-down reception.
“He had a heck of a game, especially in run support,” West coach Scott Young said. “He was able to read run and read pass and act accordingly.”
GROUND GAINS: Parks rushed for 143 yards against Statesville, and backup tailback Tim Flanagan contributed 32 yards on four carries.
Flanagan, a senior, gained 15 yards on his first carry and scored his first touchdown of the year. He has 94 yards on 18 rushes this season.
“He has done a very adequate job as the No. 2 tailback,” Young said. “We need to get him involved in the passing game more. The kid has great speed.”
Young said right guard Joseph Kerley performed well on the offensive line.
“He plays with so much effort,” Young said. “As a coaching staff we watched film on Saturday, and one of the coaches hollered out, ‘Look at Kerley.’ We all rewound it and looked at it. Just great effort.”
Backup fullback Matt Bishop blocked well in limited action and made the rare move of playing on both sides of the ball for West. He stepped in at strong safety when Marco Gupton got banged up.
FORMER FALCON: John Noble, a freshman at Virginia Union, was named the school’s scout team player of the week.
From a statistical standpoint, there’s no way the Cougars should have won Saturday against Lake Norman, but win they did.
Carson, which outscored the Wildcats 34-30, was outgained in yardage 464-297.
Teams don’t often win while allowing 22 points in the fourth quarter, but Carson was able to do to Lake Norman what Salisbury did to the Cougars.
Carson made huge plays, including a 90-yard Daniel Yates kickoff return and two long Zack Grkman interception returns, one for a score.
Carson couldn’t establish a running game, but Shaun Warren busted one big one ó a 94-yarder for a TD.
Breaks? Carson made some happen.
The Cougars also got plenty of help from Lake Norman, which was flagged twice for roughing the kicker, after it had Carson stopped.
There also was a key offsides penalty on Lake Norman when the Cougars were backed up on their 1-yard line. Given a little breathing room, Warren took the next snap to the house.
The list goes on. With first-and-goal at the Carson 1, Lake Norman fumbled away a sure touchdown in the first quarter.
The Wildcats also dropped a relatively routine interception that would have resulted in a pick-6 and failed to corral a fumble in the Carson backfield on a 50-50 ball.
TURNING THE PAGE: Carson played Saturday’s game without throwing an interception or losing a fumble.
Carson had at least one turnover every game its first year, twice had five turnovers and finished the season with 33. Its turnover differential was minus-9.
Carson coughed up 36 turnovers in 2007, including a school-record six against Mooresville and had a turnover differential of minus-13.
Carson had one turnover-free game in 2007 ó a 10-0 loss against Lake Norman.
Carson has already produced two turnover-free games in its third season ó victories against North Rowan and Lake Norman.
Carson had a 4-0 edge in turnovers against Lake Norman, and the four forced turnovers tied a school record. That was the single biggest reason the Cougars pulled the game out.
“This was kind of that game we’ve been waiting for ó making zero turnovers,” coach Mark Woody said.
The Cougars have always been good at creating turnovers. Carson has played 27 games, and only one opponent ó Mooresville in 2007 ó didn’t turn it over.
HAPPY FEET: Carson placekicker Valentin Nava is a major soccer star and was playing with his club team on Saturday.
Carson still had to find a way to make extra points in a seesaw struggle, and quarterback Ryan Jones kicked two PATS and also ran for a two-point conversion.
A limping Jones’ late PAT boosted Carson’s lead from three points to 34-30 and forced Lake Norman to go for a touchdown instead of just moving into range for a tying field goal on its final possession. That drive was stopped by Jenson Harden’s diving interception.
BAD GUESTS: Carson has been a frequent homecoming opponent, but it will receive fewer invitations in the future. The Cougars dampened festivities for Lake Norman.
“We’ve had ours spoiled by them,” cornerback Zack Grkman. “We owed them one.”
THEY’RE GOOD: Woody was so busy hugging happy players, it was tough for him to put things into words, but the Cougars achieved a satisfying victory.
“Lake Norman did look good on film, and they really were good once when we lined up against them,” Woody said. “A couple of kids on their defensive front (Dirqual Ellis was a beast) are just flat-out players. We beat a quality team.”
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan umpires baseball games in the spring and will throw in a diamond analogy from time to time.
Asked to describe Monday’s rain-delayed 60-0 walloping of Central Davidson, Pinyan said, “I thought we did a good job early of hitting singles. Then, after a while, every pitch was waist-high, down the middle, and we started hitting home runs.”
SHAKE IT UP: The economy is tight so Pinyan had mixed emotions when Romar Morris, the fastest guy on a fast team, fielded the second-half kickoff on Monday.
As you’ve probably heard, kickoff returns for TDs mean milkshakes for the whole return team, and Pinyan, who had shelled out for Dario Hamilton’s runback against Carson a few weeks ago, started checking his wallet when he saw Morris blazing upfield through and around overmatched defenders.
Salisbury already had a 28-0 lead and wasn’t in desperate need of quick points.
“I’m thinking there goes another $25,” Pinyan said with a laugh. “I had to stop myself from yelling, ‘Get him, get him!’ ”
The last man with a chance tripped up Morris in Central territory. That gave the Hornets field position ó but no extra expenses.
DOWN ON THE CORNER: Passing teams like Central usually avoid Salisbury’s outstanding corner Martin Hosch-Cathcart and challenge Jeremiah Stockdale, who is a lot smaller, on the other side.
But Central put the ball in the air in Hosch-Cathcart’s area a lot. He must have gotten a hand ó or at least a finger ó on a half-dozen balls, but his only pick was nullified by a penalty.
He couldn’t hold onto one near-pick on a Central fourth-down pass, but by dropping the ball, he saved the Hornets 25 yards.
“It was fourth down, but I wanted it and I went for it,” he said. “I didn’t get it, and I’m glad I didn’t get it. The coaches have talked to us about those.”
Salisbury had a fumble recovery against Central and an interception return for a TD by O’Bryan Graham.
Salisbury’s defense has produced 17 turnovers in five games.
South made a decision to stick with its smashmouth, double-tight end offense in the second half of Friday’s 24-20 loss against West Iredell, and wingback Deandre Harris, fullback Steve Sexton and their blockers made it work.
It was a prudent choice in bad weather conditions and it was a decision that should have won the ballgame.
“South made a great adjustment for the second half,” West Iredell coach Mark Weycker said.
The challenge for South coaches is to find a happy medium between 4 yards and a cloud of dust ó and hitting the occasional home run with quarterback Blake Houston (one completion vs. West Iredell) and wideout B.J. Grant (zero catches).
South threw four times against West Iredell. On two occasions, Grant was behind every defender, but Houston overthrew him on a night where rain and wind made it difficult to throw accurately.
STRANGE PLAY: NFL stats show one in 40 field-goal attempts is blocked.
Leading 20-17 late in Friday’s game, South succeeded in blocking one, but the block earned the Raiders a loss instead of a victory when West Iredell holder Hunter Blohm picked up the loose ball behind the line of scrimmage and threw a TD pass.
Give West Iredell lineman credit as well. A review of the tape showed none of the Warrior O-lineman ventured downfield illegally.
Those who braved the elements at South are unlikely to see the events of Friday’s final seconds repeated in their lifetime.
The rule: If a field goal is blocked and the ball remains behind the line of scrimmage, it’s no different than a fumble and can be recovered and advanced by either team.
If a blocked field goal lands beyond the line of scrimmage, it can only be advanced by the defense.
MILESTONE: Harris, a junior who has scored seven TDs in South’s last three games, rushed for 80 yards Friday and surpassed 1,000 for his career.
TOUGH TIMES: Rollins handled Friday’s devastating loss about as well as it could be handled, but he was almost in shock.
South easily could be 3-0 in the NPC, but it’s 1-2 in the league and 1-4 overall.
“I’d felt like, even with some real tough losses, we were still in that driver’s seat,” Rollins said. “Tonight, West Iredell kind of jerked us out of there.”
BALANCED LEAGUE: There’s not much doubt West Rowan and Mooresville are the teams to beat in the NPC, but the next five spots could be a free-for-all.
There doesn’t appear to be much difference between Carson, South, Lake Norman, Statesville and West Iredell.
NO LOWE: Don’t expect to see former East Rowan standout Thomas Lowe on the field this season, but he could be a factor for the Raiders next year.
HE’S GOOD: South defensive end Cadarreus Mason recorded two sacks and recovered a fumble that he nearly returned for a TD in the first half, but West Iredell QB Quan Rucker was able to stay just out of his reach in the second half.
HOMECOMING: Conditions were dreary at South on Friday. A smattering of West Iredell fans made the trip and South’s usual crowd was at least cut in half, but the show went on.
The fact that it was homecoming apparently was a reason to play rather than postpone.
“Hair has been fixed and nails have been done,” explained a former South coach.
Taylor May, a volleyball, basketball and track standout, was crowned.
Trailing 21-0 late in the first half Friday, the Mustangs regained possession at their own 35-yard line with 3:40 remaining. East put together its most productive drive of the game, producing three first downs as it drove into Mooresville territory.
The drive ended with no points, however, as East ran out of time with no timeouts remaining.
East had to use two timeouts in the first five minutes because of alignment issues.
Coach Brian Hinson said “part of that is coaching” because the Mustangs are trying to figure out so many ways to get the ball to top offensive target Ben DeCelle. Hinson said East seemed to solve the problem during the game, but those two early timeouts left the Mustangs at the 14-yard line as the clock expired before halftime.
A LITTLE HELP: The Mustangs continue to play fairly well defensively but can’t get the offensive production to match.
That was the case again against Mooresville, when East rushed for 6 yards and had 81 yards of total offense.
“Offensively, I think we had a good gameplan at times,” Hinson said. “It’s just execution. We gotta block better, we gotta scramble better, we gotta sit in the pocket better, and we gotta make catches.
“There’s so many kinks on offense we gotta work out.”
STANDING OUT: Linebacker Sam Edmonds continued his steady play with a fumble recovery against Mooresville and earned plenty of praise from Hinson.
“Edmonds is a kid, I think Ben (DeCelle) mentioned him earlier in the season as somebody that people would notice, who’s a heck of a football player,” Hinson said. “He works hard. He’s gonna be a very good football player. The good thing with him is he’s got another year left to play. He’s a special breed of kid. He’s kind of an old, throwback football player.
“He ain’t the greatest athlete, but he plays with heart and plays with passion for the game.”
The play of North Rowan defensive end Javon Hargrave impressed Ledford coach Chuck Henderson, whose team won 25-8 on Monday night.
Hargrave was in on at least three stops behind the line of scrimmage.
“He’s a tough kid to block over there, and he made a lot of plays,” Henderson said. “We were trying to figure out what we could do because if we ran away from him he was making plays on the backside. We couldn’t get him cut off.”
Eric Roberson, Andre Blakeney and Lathan Charleston were also in on a fair share of stops.
“They’re not a big blitz team, but they’re a big pressure team,” Henderson said. “They run upfield, and teams that do that are going to make some plays. We were going to have some negative plays on offense, and we had to accept that but be able to take advantage of it when we got an opportunity. I thought we did just enough of that to get by.”
POINT PRODUCTION: First-year North coach Tasker Fleming also had good things to say about his team’s defense, but the Cavaliers have totaled 20 points in their last three games after being shutout in the first two.
“I thought the defense did what we needed them to do,” Fleming said. “The offense just has to find a way to score some points. We did some good things, moved the ball, gave me some encouragement, but we need to finish drives.”
North had a season-high 274 yards of offense, and quarterback Jesse Rudisell went 6-for-10 passing without an interception. Daniel King, who completed a 24-yard throw, led the team with three catches for 54 yards.
The Cavs had seven passes intercepted in their first four games.
“It was really the first game this year we’ve thrown the ball with some success and not hurt ourselves there,” Fleming said.
Junior linebacker Terrance Johnson (ACL) made his 2008 debut with several crunching hits and a forced fumble in a 23-20 overtime victory against Marvin Ridge on Monday.
Brown’s defense had a strong night, but offensive turnovers made things interesting against the Mavericks.
LOTS OF YARDS: Jamill Lott, a senior who is a first-year starter at quarterback, has 442 rushing yards and has rushed for more than 100 yards twice.
Lott’s thrown for 694 yards and has five consecutive 100-yard games. He’s thrown two interceptions ó both in the loss to Anson.
Tailback James Mayfield has missed three straight games with a shoulder injury, but he said he’d play this week at Greensboro Page.
“I’m ready,” Mayfield said. “They’ve been saving me for Page.”
Coach Doug Illing is ready for Mayfield to get back as well.
“He’s been busting his butt and running sprints during practice,” Illing said. “He’s foaming at the mouth.”
Former Salisbury assistant J.K. Adkins won his third game at Patton in a 30-22 win over Bunker Hill.
Patton (3-2) has already beaten Andrews and West Caldwell.
Mike London, Bret Strelow, Nick Bowton, Ronnie Gallagher and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.