Prep Football: Statesville 37. East Rowan 14

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2008

Staff report
STATESVILLE ó East Rowan’s coaches wanted Ben DeCelle’s last game to be special.
It wasn’t team-wise, but the senior speedster did go out in style.
DeCelle caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Monroe and had four grabs for 79 yards. It was far from enough as Statesville defeated the Mustangs 37-14, ending East’s season at 1-10, overall. The mustangs were 0-9 in the North Piedmont Conference.
“We wanted Ben and all the seniors to go out with a win,” said East coach Brian Hinson. “But Statesville had speed all over the place. Their overall team speed hurt us. They got the outside.”
Statesville’s Andre Shepherd made Senior Night particularly sweet for himself.
Shepherd rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns to help the Greyhounds (8-3, 7-2) cap another successful regular season.
The Mustangs hung tough, trailing just 13-7 at halftime and 21-14 in the third.
Shepherd was the main man for the Greyhounds but wasn’t the only senior to shine against the Mustangs. Quarterback T.J. McCombs bounced back from an early interception. He was 6-for-9 passing for 147 yards, including a beautiful 42-yard bomb to Darryl Epps in the third quarter.
And after losing yards on his first carry, running back Mario Grant racked up 76 yards on his next eight. Among those was a 4-yard touchdown run, after which he caught a two-point conversion pass to put the Greyhounds (8-3 overall, 7-2 North Piedmont 3A) ahead 21-7.
Statesville capitalized early in the fourth. A controversial fumble call gave East Rowan the ball at its own 1-yard line, and the Greyhounds hit East’s running back in the end zone for a safety. Statesville took possession at midfield following the free kick, and Shepherd broke off a 50-yard touchdown run to make it 30-14.
Shepherd scored in the first half on runs of 9 and 7 yards. Greg Chambers added an 18-yard touchdown run in the final minute.
Quentin Sifford scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter for East Rowan. He finished with 85 yards on 18 carries.
Decelle was the catalyst in the Mustangs’ brief third-quarter charge. He had no catches in the game’s first 27 minutes, but in the span of six plays hauled in his four receptions as East Rowan tried to tie it.
As happy as Hinson was for DeCelle to catch a scoring pass, he was even happier for quarterback Trevor Monroe. It was Monroe’s first touchdown pass of the season.
The senior finished with 10 completions for 12 yards.
Hinson praised the play of linebacker Sam Evans, a junior, subbing for senior San Weisensel, who went out early with an ankle injury. Evans also ran the ball five times for nine yards.
Hinson likes his sophomore and junior classes, and many youngsters played major minutes.
“I do feel good about next year,” Hinson said. “We’ve got a lot of good sophomores. We’ve got some good junior linemen who are hard-nosed workers. We’ve just got to get everybody working hard.”