Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 12 – Turf toe or not, Sherrill excels
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2008
From staff reports
The prep football notebook …
West Rowan quarterback B.J. Sherrill was hobbling with “turf toe” after the first half of a 37-3 victory against Franklin in the first round of the 3A playoffs, but he’d already thrown three touchdown passes.
Sherrill has quietly produced a special year with 14 TD passes and only five interceptions.
With 1,282 passing yards, the sophomore currently owns the sixth-best aerial season in West history.
Tim Hogue (1994, 1995), Bryan Aycoth (2004), Jared Barnette (2000) and Shane Weimer (2005) are ahead of Sherrill. Hogue set the school record in 1994 with 2,163 passing yards.
West coach Scott Young is optimistic Sherrill will be able to play Friday when Statesville visits Mount Ulla.
PARKS UPDATE: Junior tailback K.P. Parks was held to two touchdowns by Franklin but stretched his career total to 91.
Albemarle’s T.A. McLendon (178), Maiden’s Tommy Henry (128), A.L. Brown’s Nick Maddox (114) and Anthony Saunders (103 between Asheboro and Western Guilford) are the only players credited by the NCHSAA with scoring 100 or more career TDs.
n In 2007, Parks became the first Rowan player to score more than 200 points in a season when he amassed 202 on 33 TDs and a pair of two-point conversions.
He already has topped himself this season with 35 TDs for 210 points.
n Parks became the second Rowan back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season when he rolled for 2,536 as a sophomore. He has 2,264 so far this season.
West’s Wade Moore, now an N.C. State outfielder, was the first to break the 2,000 barrier. He reached the milestone during the 2005 playoffs and finished the season with 2,225.
* When Parks rushed for 165 yards against Franklin, it was the 36th time he’s topped 100 yards in his career. Maiden’s Henry is credited with a state-record 44 100-yard games.
* Parks has carried 297 times this season and 874 times in his career.
Only two players in state history are credited with as many as 1,000 rushes. Saunders carried 1,132 times in the 1990s, and Toney Baker ran 1,028 times for Ragsdale early in this decade.
Said West assistant Tim Dixon, “I’ve seen them all back to the great backs they had at Price and Dunbar, and let me tell you this kid is something really special.”
The stat sheet agrees.
* Recruiting interest in Parks has gone nationwide, but he still is likely to pick a school in the Carolinas.
Parks’ brother, West Rowan Middle School seventh-grader Devin, is someone to keep an eye on. He’s going to be bigger and taller than K.P.
RECRUITING FRONT: Senior receiver Brantley Horton is on the thin side, but his GPA, excellent speed and 10 touchdown receptions have gotten the attention of strong academic schools such as Davidson, Yale, Georgetown and Duquesne.
Yes, Georgetown and Duquesne play football as well as basketball.
Horton is playing with a broken hand. He saw limited action last week and failed to make a reception for the first time all season, but he hopes to be a bigger factor Friday.
Horton has made at least one TD catch in eight games.
CROSS TRAINING: Junior Jon Crucitti has impacted West’s football team with touchdown catches, touchdown passes, long punt returns and strong punts.
He’s still a better college prospect in baseball, and he plans to visit Vanderbilt Dec. 6-7.
“My height (5-foot-11) is kind of a limiting factor for me as far as football,” Crucitti said. “But Coach Young has opened a lot of doors for me, and being able to punt may give me a chance to help a college team in football as well as play baseball.”
Crucitti likes the two sports equally ó “whichever is in season,” he said.
BRACE YOURSELF: Strong safety Marco Gupton, torn ACL and all, played very well against Franklin.
“I didn’t want to go out there and be tentative,” Gupton said. “It went OK.”
Salisbury managed only 187 yards on 38 offensive snaps in its 17-14 loss to Pisgah. Three successful running plays netted 125 of the yards.
A.J. Ford’s 35-yard gain on an option play preceded fullback Isaiah Whitaker’s 32-yard touchdown. Quarterback John Knox raced 58 yards on an option keeper.
“The option play was good to us at times, and we made a couple of big plays,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “We hit a trap for a touchdown, but other than that the lack of an inside running game hurt us a little bit.”
That wasn’t an issue for Pisgah, which got 42 carries and 189 yards from 5-foot-7 tailback Travis Smalling.
“He’s pretty small, but he knows how to run the ball,” said Salisbury linebacker Pierre Jimenez, who made his fourth fumble recovery of the season in the game. “You can tell he’s well-coached.”
THREE’S COMPANY: Dario Hamilton’s fine career ended in disappointing fashion.
Hamilton, a senior running back, was held to 1 yard on eight carries against Pisgah. He finished a four-year varsity career as the No. 3 rusher in Rowan County history with 3,553 yards.
Only West’s Parks (6,521 yards) and Moore (4,256) rank ahead of Hamilton, who started the season in 13th place and rushed for 937 yards as a senior. He scored 55 touchdowns as a member of the Hornets.
South Rowan lost to South Point 42-6 in 1971.
The schools didn’t meet again until Friday’s first round of the 3A playoffs.
Nothing changed in 37 years. The result: South Point 42, South Rowan 6.
AIR HOUSTON: Junior Blake Houston has passed for 1,848 yards in two varsity seasons. He ranks third all-time at South behind Kevin Sides (2,737) and Tim Cook (1,974).
Houston already is among the county’s all-time top 50 in total offense with 2,304 yards.
B.J. Grant, who has hauled in most of Houston’s passes, finished his junior season with 980 career receiving yards.
SCORING MACHINE: Deandre Harris scored his 17th TD of the season in the loss to South Point and finished the year with 104 points.
He’s the first Raider to surpass 100 points in a season since QB Hoke Shirley tallied 108 in 2003.
The Wonders are 10-2 even though they’ve played the season without Artrele Louis, a devastating running back who was attracting national recruiting interest during the summer months and was nominated for the All-American Bowl.
Held out of action because of medical concerns, Louis still attends every practice and still heads out to midfield for every pregame coin toss.
Louis has kept his head up and a smile on his face. Fans should get to see him perform in track this spring.
“Seeing him at practice every day gives us inspiration, and we’ve dedicated this season to him,” tight end Zach Massey said. “Sometimes I still dream he’s out there with us. With Jamill (Lott) and him in the same backfield, it would just be hard for anyone to stop us.”
BELL RINGING: The Wonders are still buzzing over the 56-6 romp against Concord.
“It was pretty good to beat Concord pretty bad and retain the Bell,” Massey said. “Also Coach (Todd) Hagler had to get a Mohawk because we scored 50.”
LIFE OF RILEY: Sophomore Travis Riley is emerging as a go-to back for the Wonders. He’s scored five TDs the past three weeks.
TURNAROUND: Zach Massey said the offense decided it needed to produce more after a shaky 21-6 victory against Hickory Ridge.
“The defense had been carrying us most of the year, and we needed to make a statement that we were a team that could do something in the playoffs,” Massey said.”
The last three games, Lott has thrown nine TD passes and Brown has scored 52, 56 and 42 points.
In a 42-27 playoff victory against Lake Norman on Saturday, it was the Wonders’ offense picking up the defense.
Butler’s 24-0 win over Davie was the War Eagles’ first shutout since 2002.
ZACH ATTACK: Zach Illing had the third most completions in a season (142) and Illing’s 2,524 yards passing is second. Illing’s 23 touchdown passes are third.
Illing had 377 yards passing against Page and 315 against West Forsyth. He ranks behind Garrett Benge in every category.
MILESTONE: Coach Doug Illing enters next season with a 97-44 record (688 winning percentage), only three from the magical 100.
After losing to A.L. Brown in the first round of the 3AA playoffs, Lake Norman coach Scott Sherrill gathered his team together for the last time this season and for the final time as a 3A program.
After he spoke, the chants were simple, loud and direct.
“Who are we?
“What do we have?”
Lake Norman players exited intimidating Memorial Stadium with more smiles than tears.
They couldn’t stop Lott ó maybe no one can ó but the Wonders, who had been dominating teams defensively also had their hands full stopping Lake Norman.
The Wildcats rolled up 20 first downs with a pass/run mix and there was still plenty of doubt at halftime when Brown was clinging to a 21-14 lead.
Some Wonders figured going in they’d shut out Lake Norman.
“That team, especially the last five games after they made a few changes, was one heck of a football team,” Brown coach Ron Massey said.
FAVORITES: November madness?
Well, not really.
There were a handful of upsets such as Pisgah winning at home against Salisbury in 2AA and battle-tested No. 12 seed Marvin Ridge knocking off No. 5 seed Forestview in 3AA, but the first round of the playoffs in the West was mostly a formality. The teams that were supposed to roll did roll, and no team with a losing record reached the second round.
Every 1, 2 and 3 seed won in the West, and only two No. 4s ó one of them 4-8 Garinger ó fell.
The top two seeds from all four area conferences are still alive.
SPC vs. NPC: The NPC won two of three head-to-head matchups, with Statesville beating Parkwood in an 8-9 dogfight and Mooresville winning a 21-16 struggle with Sun Valley.
Both leagues sent three teams to the second round.