Friday Night Hero: West Rowan’s Dominique Noble
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 11, 2008
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA ó West Rowan’s Dominique Noble ran out on the field as South Point lined up to punt. He immediately noticed something a little odd.
The Red Raiders punter was only about 5 yards behind center.
“It was crazy,” Noble said. “If I was the coach, I’d move him back a little bit.”
Noble wasn’t the coach, however. He was the defender.
He left the coaching decisions to West’s Scott Young, who noticed the exact same thing.
Young called a timeout to set up a punt block.
“If either of our two inside guys could beat a block, we’d have a great chance at it,” Young said.
In the back of Young’s mind, he saw this as a possible turning point. It was the waning seconds of the second quarter and West was up 14 in the Western final. With a state title berth at stake, every point counted. A block might set up Matt Turchin for a field goal heading into halftime.
Young was then forced to call another timeout because 12 men were on the field. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the teams lined up for the punt.
And Noble, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore, was ready to soar.
“I knew what I had to do,” he said.
Noble was aided by teammate Josh Poe, who helped create a slither of a hole for Noble. He burst through the South Point line just as the punter began to swing his leg.
“I jumped as high as I could,” Noble recalled. “I kept thinking, ‘I’ve got to do it for the team.’ ”
His leap was more than high enough. Noble slapped the ball away, the first block of his career.
“My hand hurt like crap,” Noble said with a chuckle.
The sting disappeared as senior Austin Greenwood scooped up the loose pigskin and raced into the end zone.
Suddenly, the Falcons led 21-7 at the half.
South Point never recovered and was eventually blasted 35-7.
Young said Noble’s play made him a hero for the Falcons.
“He made a great play,” Young said. “To go from 14-7 to 21-7 totally changed the complexion of the ballgame.”
It didn’t surprise Young that Noble was able to get a hand on the ball.
“He’s so long and athletic,” Young said.
Noble noted he could barely see Greenwood score.
“I saw a little bit,” he said. “Austin’s always in the right place at the right time.”
Noble laughed about everyone pummeling Greenwood for his score, adding that later, “They came over to me and said, ‘Good job.’ ”
Noble has done a good job all season for West.
He has started in the defensive backfield and is one of many talented Falcons who will return next season.
“He has a bright future,” Young said.
But helping West get to the 3A state championship game is something Noble will always savor.
“It feels good to be a sophomore and actually contribute to the team winning,” he said. “It’s an honor.”
Noble is looking forward to the bus ride Saturday morning to Winston-Salem, where the Falcons will take on West Craven.
“We’ll have fun, but not too much,” he grinned.
He knows to stay focused.
The team may need those long arms to block another punt.