3A Final Notebook
By Ronnie Gallagher
The 3A state championship notebook …Even after the press conference had finished, K.P. Parks couldn’t make it back to the locker room without a host of reporters swarming him in the hallway, asking a few more questions.
“Was this the first of many touchdowns you’re going to score on this field?” he was asked.
Parks broke into laughter, knowing exactly where that line of questioning was going. Wake Forest plays at BB&T Field, where West Rowan won the 3A state championship Saturday, beating West Craven 35-7. And the Deacons are high on Parks’ list of colleges.
“I like Wake Forest,” he said, not wanting to give out too much information.
Don’t be surprised if Wake Forest picks up its recruiting on Parks after a 219-yard, three-touchdown day.
MVP: Parks won the Most Valuable Player award (duh). Also taking home hardware were quarterback B.J. Sherrill (offense) and A.J. Little (defense).
PARKS’ PARTNER: Parks started the game with an 81-yard scoring run on the first play from scrimmage.
He gave the credit to his fullback, Jeremy Melchor, his 6-foot, 190-pound blocking specialist.
“He really worked hard over the summer to get ready for this year,” Parks said. “He made a good block.”
West Rowan head coach Scott Young said Melchor is one of several role players who are overlooked by fans, but not by coaches and teammates.
“The thing about our role players is, they are really good this year,” said Young. “You gotta have them.”
After the game, Melchor looked like Larry Csonka, bloody nose and all, from pounding out holes for Parks.
It says a lot for the senior, according to Young, who was concerned whether he’d even be able to play against West Craven. Melchor suffered a thigh bruise during Wednesday’s practice.
“We had questions about him,” Young admitted. “But he answered the questions on the first play.”
KAM CAN: You had to feel good for linebacker Kameron Finchum. He moved down from Kentucky last season where he always wanted to play for Boyle County High.
The reason? They are annually a state championship-caliber team.
Now, he has realized his dream in West Rowan colors. He even made a key interception when a receiver went in motion and Finchum followed.
“And the ball found him,” defensive coordinator David Hunt said.
MORE LBs: People left talking about the West DBs. The defensive backs came up with five interceptions.
But Hunt also talked about the LBs, as in linebackers.
Senior Nate Dulin played like an MVP.
“The one who won’t be noticed is Nate,” Hunt said. “He knocked a bunch of receivers off their routes.”
The defensive coaches decided to let Dulin go out of the box and cover the third receiver. He knocked down several passes and made hits all over the field.
“We tackled real well,” Hunt said.
WE WANT MOORING: West Craven quarterback Brett Mooring, who will be in the Shrine Bowl, is a strapping 6-foot-4 bull with a strong arm. He said he was being recruited by several Division II schools.
One of which is in Salisbury.
Mooring mentioned Catawba. And Catawba coach Chip Hester was an interested onlooker Saturday.
PLAYING FOR JUSTIN: When the captains came to midfield for the coin toss, West Craven coach Clay Jordan sent only Justin Barrow, a 6-1, 290-pound senior, out to represent his team.
The Eagles were definitely playing for Barrow. It was found out earlier in the week he had a brain tumor.
COMING BACK: Jordan is 52 years old and has been the head coach at West Craven for 31 years.
He arrived at West Craven to be an assistant.
When the staff that had been in place suddenly was let go, Jordan was asked if he would “take it for a little while.”
He’s still there.
This was his final game. Jordan announced his retirement during the playoffs but was asked if he’d return to West Craven now that he didn’t secure his first state title.
“I’m going to take six months off and see if I can live without this for a while,” he said, adding it was time to be a father and husband.
“My wife has raised my two kids, he said.
UH-OH: Despite six turnovers, Jordan knew it wasn’t going to be the Eagles’ day on a play that wasn’t a turnover.
“We had two guys look at the ball as it hit the ground on a kickoff,” he said. “That’s the epitome of our day. Against a mediocre team, we’re still probably OK. But West Rowan is very good.”
Jordan admitted his team made uncharacteristic mistakes, especially with blocking assignments since Barrow couldn’t play.
“We had more pressure than we’ve seen all year,” he said, praising a Falcon defensive line that included Chris Smith, Eli Goodson, Kenderic Dunlap, Mackel Gaither, Emmanuel Gbunblee and Brett Graham. “(Mooring) didn’t have time to get settled.”
He enjoyed the battle of two country schools. He just wishes his team could’ve given a better showing.
“The two schools are real similar,” Jordan said. “They handled the situation a little better than we did.”
VOWS: The big question late in the fourth quarter wasn’t whether West would win. It was whether offensive coordinator Joe Nixon could get back to Salisbury in time for his wedding.
The gala event was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Nixon hopped in a car around 3:30 p.m. after the trophy presentation and tried to beat the traffic.
He and new bride Hillary (formerly Hampton) prepared to leave for their honeymoon in Gatlinburg, so Young became the official answer man for the most asked question Saturday night.
Did Nixon make it to the church on time?
“He made it,” Young said.
And now Nixon can one day tell his kids that Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, was the day their dear ol’ dad secured not one, but two rings.
Mike London contributed to the notebook.
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