Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 9 – Cats, er, Hornets have nine lives
From staff reports
Cats are supposed to have nine lives.
No definite word from insect experts on how many lives Hornets are allotted, but Salisbury has used up two in the last two weeks.
Salisbury (8-0) has rushed for 112 and 65 yards against West Davidson and Lexington but still found ways to win.
In a 28-25 homecoming victory against Lexington on Monday, the Hornets won with the screen pass. Lexington was thinking run first and blitzed linebackers.
“There are some things we’ve been chomping at the bit to use, but we’ve chosen not to show them,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “We had the ability to do a few things Lexington hadn’t seen on film. It was hard not going to those things earlier, but now we’re glad we kept them in our back pocket.”
BUSH LEAGUE: Sensational Lexington back Chris Bush ran for more than 300 yards against a Salisbury team that expected the Yellow Jackets to rely more on the passing of quarterback Teland Todd.
“Salisbury was giving us a 4-4 look, so it was hard for us not to run it and keep running it,” Lexington coach Chris Deal said. “It was a very physical game, and that’s what we wanted.”
SIXTH SENSE: Salisbury hasn’t yet clinched a piece of its sixth straight league title, but it’s obviously in great shape.
Not only is Salisbury 4-0 in the CCC, it’s already beaten West Davidson and Lexington, the two teams with one league loss.
Even if Salisbury falters at Ledford tomorrow, it figures to tie the West Davidson-Lexington winner for first place, and the Hornets would get a No. 1 seed for the state playoffs.
Of course, the Hornets are still optimistic that they can run the conference table for the first time since 1995.
After Ledford, the Hornets face North Rowan and Providence Grove.
FORD HAS A BETTER IDEA: Senior A.J. Ford’s receiving numbers are insane. Six catches for 328 yards.
Ford’s 146 receiving yards Monday were the most by a Salisbury player in Pinyan’s six-year coaching tenure.
Ford, who also had 112 receiving yards against West Stanly, is the first Hornet to post two 100-yard receiving games in the same season since Pinyan took the reins.
Previous 100-yard receiving games for the Hornets under Pinyan: Patrick Doleman (104), Aaron Holsey (101), Channing Powell (128), Anthony Smith (110) and Ford (104 vs. Ledford in 2006).
FORT KNOX: John Knox’s total of 258 yards passing against Lexington was a single yard short of tying Derrick Parker for the most during Pinyan’s coaching tenure.
Parker tossed for 259 against East Davidson in 2006.
Knox’s effort was just 9 yards short of the school record of 267 that Brian Pollard set against Central Cabarrus in 1991.
MOMENTUM MAN: Cornerback Martin Hosch-Cathcart came up with a fumble recovery and an interception against Lexington. He has produced five turnovers this season.
HAVE A SEAT: Salisbury back Dario Hamilton didn’t play in the first half for undisclosed reasons.
He was healthy and made key blocks for Ford in the second half.
South Rowan’s 7-3 victory against Lake Norman on Friday gave the Raiders three straight victories for the first time since they opened the 2003 season by beating A.L. Brown, Salisbury and East Rowan.
BY THE NUMBERS: South is allowing 14.3 points game.
Credit good schemes and good athletes, the best South’s had on defense since the Brad Lanning-Jay Phillips-Ricky Childers-Toré Girty days in 2000.
South allowed 40.6 points a game as recently as 2006.
A WINNING SEASON? It’s still going to be very tough for playoff-bound South (4-4) to have its first winning record since 2003 because games with West Rowan and Mooresville, the NPC’s top two clubs, are still ahead.
THE HORSE: South passed for a season-low 15 yards against Lake Norman, but it rushed for a respectable 177 against a defense that is tough to budge. Lake Norman’s Dirqual Ellis, who anchors things upfront, is one of the NPC’s top defensive players.
South’s Deandre Harris, who has rushed for more than 100 yards three times, pounded for 87 yards on 25 carries.
“He’s just a horse back there,” teammate Josh Wike said. “Next year, after I graduate, I’ll still be coming back to South to watch Deandre run the ball.”
FUTURE BEAR? Wike said Livingstone is the school that’s shown the most interest in him.
Wike will likely be a cornerback at the college level.
West Rowan’s 69-0 win against East Rowan on Friday marked the 95th victory of coach Scott Young’s career. Young could reach 100 in his 11th season if the Falcons win their final three regular-season games and two playoff contests.
Young has tied W.A. Cline for sixth on the county’s all-time wins list. Young played for Cline at East in the late 1980s.
“Coach Cline is one of the men that made me want to stay in football,” Young said. “I was lucky enough to play some at Guilford, but I realized pretty early on if I wanted to stay around this game a long time it was going to be as a coach and I learned what I could.
“It’s been a great decision. Every day I get to work with some great men on my staff and some great kids on the field.”
NOT PERFECT: Young liked the way his businesslike team performed Friday, but there’s always room to get better.
“I was pleased except for two things,” he said. “We didn’t handle option responsibilities very well on defense, and we had several fumbles on snaps with a wet football.”
West put the ball on the ground five times, but the Falcons lost only one fumble.
RECORDS PART I: West, which led 35-0 after one quarter against East, broke a school record for points in a game.
West’s previous scoring mark came when it beat SPC foe Sun Valley 68-6 in 1999. Young’s Falcons actually trailed 8-6 before reeling off 60 unanswered points. Scooter Dalton, Jonathan Diggs, Jared Barnette and Justin Davis led the onslaught, and the Falcons rushed for 407 yards.
RECORDS PART II: West also broke a much older school record for margin of victory.
The Falcons’ previous record was set in a 63-0 victory against West Iredell when it was a new school in 1974. Phil Houge led that pummeling by scoring five touchdowns.
SHOOTING BLANKS: West’s defense has recorded back-to-back shutouts, and the Falcons have four shutouts this season to tie a school record.
West previously shut out four opponents in 2005 (when it was 13-1) and also in 1966 (when it was 3-5-2 despite having a stout defense). West had back-to-back scoreless ties with North Rowan and Davie County in 1966.
This season, West has outscored three county opponents ó East, North and Carson ó 177-0. West has allowed 70 points in eight games, 57 of them to Davie and West Iredell.
GIVE ME A D: Eli Goodson, Nate Dulin, Chris Smith and Austin Greenwood led the charge as West picked up four sacks and several more tackles for loss against the Mustangs.
Dylan Andrews recovered three fumbles, one for a touchdown. He’s the first Falcon to make three recoveries in one game during Young’s coaching tenure.
Andrews and A.J. Little scored touchdowns on special teams, and Smith had a defensive TD.
IMPRESSED: East coach Brian Hinson couldn’t enjoy it much, but West’s county-leading passing game impressed him ó even in wet, nasty conditions.
“That’s going to help them a whole lot when they get into the playoffs this year,” he predicted.
Trevor Monroe quarterbacked East Rowan in the loss to West Rowan.
Monroe made nice runs for 27 and 21 yards, and Quentin Sifford fought hard for 40 yards on the ground.
East still finished with only 35 net rushing yards. Four sacks, plus a punting mishap and an errant shotgun snap that had to be recorded as team rushing attempts, hurt the numbers.
TAKING A DIVE: Ben DeCelle’s speed transformed one of Monroe’s short completions into a 51-yard gain, and they also had a 61-yard hookup that DeCelle turned into a temporary TD by accelerating past the secondary.
DeCelle capped a spectacular effort with a dive into the end zone similar to the one that got West’s K.P. Parks ejected last season at Mooresville and forced Parks to sit out the first round of the state playoffs.
DeCelle’s exuberance drew an immediate flag for excessive celebration, but it wasn’t enforced because his touchdown was wiped out by another flag just 6 yards past the line of scrimmage.
The first flag was a holding call against an East receiver.
Bracket expansion has taken away most of the drama surrounding which teams make the prep football playoffs, but Carson’s game at Northwest Cabarrus on Friday night is important to the Cougars’ postseason hopes.
Amassing four wins is an important step in the qualifying process, and seventh-place Carson (3-5, 2-4 NPC) has contests remaining against Northwest (3-5, 1-5), Statesville (5-3, 4-2) and West Iredell (6-2, 4-2).
The Cougars are attempting to reach the playoffs for the first time. They didn’t win a game in their first two years of existence.
TOUCHDOWN TRAVIS: Travis Hayes has been a dependable threat in three years as a varsity receiver. He has 50 catches for 925 yards heading into the game against Northwest, which allowed Hayes to make two TD grabs last season.
In the Cougars’ loss to North Iredell last week, Hayes hauled in the 10th touchdown reception of his career. That matches the number of career TDs scored by Daniel Yates, another talented skill player.
North Rowan is one of 28 winless teams in the state, but defense has kept the Cavaliers competitive.
North (0-8) has allowed 191 points this season ó every other winless team has given up at least 219, and that total has come in Columbia’s first seven contests.
Offenses are scoring an average of 23.9 points per game against the Cavaliers, and the next best mark among winless squads is the 28.9 points being allowed by Fayetteville Smith (0-9).
North has given up 66 points in four CCC games, and only Salisbury (40) and West Davidson (48) have been stingier. It’s worth noting the Cavs still have contests remaining against Salisbury and Lexington.
Matt Speer made a positive impact for Davie County in its 38-17 loss to Mount Tabor on Monday night.
Speer and DeVonta Scott had one sack apiece against the Spartans. Speer also made a crushing block on Perry James’ 60-yard punt return that set up a first-quarter field goal.
TACKLE SHOP: Tanis Jefferies has 56 tackles to lead the War Eagles.
Zach Long and Chase Sampson have 52 each.
LOOKING AHEAD: Davie County (0-2 on Mondays) has lost two straight CPC games but it plays R.J. Reynolds, a team it has beaten five straight seasons, tomorrow.
The Wonders head into the stretch drive in position to secure a piece of the SPC title and their 21st conference championship in the last 30 seasons.
Brown didn’t win a league title between 1960 and 1979, but it’s been a bear since 1979.
Brown, Anson, Sun Valley and Marvin Ridge have one league loss apiece.
Brown fans will be Sun Valley fans Friday when the Spartans play Anson.
Brown lost to Anson but beat Sun Valley, so a Sun Valley victory against the Bearcats would enhance Brown’s chances of a No. 1 seed for the state playoffs.
THE BEAT GOES ON: Don’t look for the Wonders to start losing next season when they change leagues. Their jayvees are undefeated.
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London, Bret Strelow and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.