Prep Football: West Rowan 37, West Iredell 22
By Bill Kiser
STATESVILLE ó Last year, West Iredell snapped West Rowan’s 21-game NPC winning streak with an upset victory on the Falcons’ home field.
So if there’s a sense that West Rowan’s 37-22 win against the Warriors on their home field Friday night was more than just another league victory, well, that’s because it was.
“Oh yeah, that loss stuck with us for a long time,” running back K.P. Parks said. “We wanted this game real bad, so we came out and played hard tonight.”
And Parks played as hard as anyone, running for a season-high 249 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries.
Parks put West Rowan (5-1, 4-0 NPC) ahead 14-0 in the first quarter on runs of 15 and 9 yards. He added a 39-yard TD run in the second quarter and a 6-yarder in the fourth.
Parks, however, wasn’t a solo act.
Quarterback B.J. Sherrill threw for 129 yards and ran for one score, Matt Turchin hit a 23-yard field goal, and the Falcons’ defense shut down West Iredell’s ground game.
“Sure, we talked about (last year’s game),” West Rowan coach Scott Young said of that 20-18 loss. “We didn’t harp on it with our kids, but we made sure that they knew this bunch wasn’t intimidated by us.”
While the Warriors might not have been intimidated, their rushing game was made ineffective by the Falcons’ defense (minus-30 yards rushing and three first downs through the first three quarters).
WI quarterback Quan Rucker threw for 189 yards and a touchdown ó a 40-yarder to C.J. Gibbs in the second quarter that tied the score at 14-14 ó but he also threw an interception that set up a WR score and was sacked seven times.
“We controlled what they did, but that was our gameplan,” Young said. “We couldn’t let them hit the home runs off us, so it was real instrumental that we took away the running game. It made them one-dimensional. They’re still pretty good at that one dimension, but it helps when you know what’s coming.”
Despite a decent defensive showing, West Rowan saw the Warriors take advantage of back-to-back turnovers in the second quarter to get back in the game.
The rally began when WI defensive back P.J. Clyburn picked off a Sherrill pass and returned it 80 yards for West Iredell’s first score, and a fumble on West Rowan’s next possession set up the Rucker-to-Gibbs TD pass.
But the Warriors’ own mistakes ó a botched punt and interception ó helped set up the Falcons’ next two scores en route to a 27-14 halftime lead for West Rowan.
The Falcons pushed their lead to 37-14 midway through the fourth quarter on Turchin’s field goal and Parks’ fourth TD run.
“We’re pleased overall, but we had that big special teams mistake and the offensive turnovers,” Young said. “We can’t do stuff like that against a dangerous team like this.”
Notes: West Rowan’s offense piled up 411 yards and 18 first downs. … Jon Crucitti had two catches for 74 yards and Brantley Horton four for 48.