Prep Football: North Iredell 21, East Rowan 7
By Bill Kiser
OLIN ó East Rowan coach Brian Hinson has harped on his players about keeping mistakes to a minimum since the first day of practice.
Yet nine games into the season, the Mustangs are still having problems in that area, as evidenced Friday night by their 21-7 road loss to North Iredell at Raider Ravine.
Weston Pharr threw for two touchdowns and Matt Ramseur ran back a punt 64 yards to score for the Raiders (2-7, 2-5 NPC), who have now won back-to-back games after losing seven straight.
And it was mistakes by East Rowan (1-8, 0-7) that led to all three scores.
Breakdowns by the Mustangs secondary accounted for Pharr’s TD passes of 40 yards to Cameron Smith in the second quarter and 44 yards to Jonathan Hyde in the third, and a moment’s inattention by East’s punt team led to Ramseur’s 64-yard touchdown return.
The most frustrating thing to Hinson, however, is the fact that East’s players are still making these kinds of mistakes.
“We’re a young football team, and a lot of kids are playing for us that didn’t play last year ó they’re still seeing their first varsity action,” said Hinson, whose team has lost seven consecutive games.
“The problem I have with that is that we’re nine or 10 weeks into the season and we shouldn’t be making these mistakes at this point. These are fundamental mistakes ó stuff that we’re teaching from Day 1 ó and they’re still making them.”
The Mustangs also had problems getting their offense in gear. East was held to 154 yards of total offense ó 58 yards rushing and 96 passing ó and did not mount any sort of consistent drive until late in the third quarter.
“That’s been the story for us over the last four weeks,” Hinson said.
That lone good drive, which went 79 yards in nine plays, accounted for the Mustangs’ only touchdown, a 1-yard plunge by Quentin Sifford with 2:50 left. It was set up by a North Iredell personal foul and a pair of Trevor Monroe passes ó a 15-yarder to Ben DeCelle followed by a twisting 27-yarder to Keith Leonard to put the ball at the Raiders’ 1-yard line.
“He’s got some good speed,” Hinson said of Leonard, who spun out of a tackle and nearly got into the end zone. “He made a good move, and he got to use that speed.”
East Rowan’s defense also had its moments, recovering a fumbled lateral in the first half and sacking Pharr three times. But the Mustangs also made enough mistakes to let North Iredell take a 21-0 lead late in the third quarter.
And with two games left ó at home against Northwest Cabarrus on Oct. 31 and at Statesville on Nov. 7 ó Hinson is hoping preaching about mistakes will pay off.
“We want them to show some pride,” Hinson said. “We want them to practice harder, to play harder and cut the mistakes down.”
NOTES: Sifford finished with 37 yards rushing on 11 carries for East Rowan. … Monroe went 12-of-26 for 96 yards passing, with one interception. … DeCelle caught five passes for 41 yards for East, giving him 37 receptions for 513 yards this season. He is six catches away from tying the team record for receptions during the regular season of 43, set by Jon Bost in 1988. … Chris Knox ran for 74 yards and Ramseur added 52 for North Iredell, which won its first game last week by beating Carson. … Pharr completed just four passes in eight attempts for 105 yards.
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