Prep Football: South Rowan 52, North Iredell 0

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2008

By Bill Kiser
OLIN ó After getting their heads handed to them the last two weeks, South Rowan’s players felt like dishing out a little punishment of their own Friday night.
Yet there was a purpose behind the Raiders’ 52-0 dismantling of North Iredell ó to send a message to their upcoming opponent in the opening round of the state playoffs.
“We’re going to the playoffs for the first time in years,” said South defensive back Reid Shaver. “When they’re looking at film of us on Sunday, we want them to be like, ‘Gosh, we’ve got to play them?’
“We wanted to make a statement to the next team we play ó we’re better than our record, a whole lot better than our record.”
South Rowan (5-6, 5-4 North Piedmont Conference) did just that with its first shutout of the season, and its most lopsided win since throttling Central Piedmont Conference foe South Iredell 56-0 at the end of the 2001 season.
It also assures South Rowan its first berth in the state 3A playoffs since the 2004 season. That was also the last year the Raiders won five games during the regular season.
The win came after South had suffered through a pair of humiliating losses to the NPC’s top two teams ó 35-13 to Mooresville on Oct. 24 and a 56-7 drubbing by conference champ West Rowan last week.
“We got beat up and down the field the last two weeks, and we were tired of it,” South head coach Jason Rollins said. “We knew that we were better than what we did, and we wanted to prove that we were a better team.
“I wasn’t surprised by what we did tonight ó this is what we should’ve been able to do week in and week out. We would just have bad plays here and there, but this is the first week I saw a game where every cylinder was firing.”
And South Rowan ó which now has a 6-0 lifetime record against North Iredell (2-9, 2-7) ó did it in all phases of the game.
Deandre Harris ran for 125 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Blake Houston threw for two touchdowns and added 103 rushing yards and a score as South piled up 23 first downs and 441 yards of total offense.
South Rowan also got fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 6 yards from Jason Baker and 11 yards from sophomore Robert Shipp, called up from the JV squad for Friday’s game.
Meanwhile, South Rowan’s defense held North to just two first downs and 7 yards total offense, and recorded a safety when Raiders dropped Jonathan Hyde in the end zone on NI’s second possession of the game.
They also made life miserable for NI quarterback Weston Pharr, sacking him four times and holding him to 9 yards passing. He threw one interception and had only two completions in 14 attempts.
Even South’s special teams got in on the act, taking advantage of a bad snap on a punt to get a safety in the opening minute of the game, and recovering a pooch kick a few minutes later that set up South’s second TD en route to a 25-0 first-quarter lead.”We’ve been talking about this all week in practice,” said Houston, who had TD passes of 7 yards to B.J. Grant and 38 yards to Harris, and ran 32 yards for a score. “We came out and made a great statement. The offensive line played well, our defense played great and we put some points up. .It all worked out well for us.”