Prep Football: Can West win another title in 2009?
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2008
By Ronnie Gallagher
It hasn’t been a week yet, but West Rowan coach Scott Young said his coaches have already discussed the possibility of going a long way in the playoffs in 2009.
Title No. 1 came last Saturday in a 35-7 win against West Craven, but …
Is title No. 2 that far away?
“We return 12, 13 players who started,” Young quickly points out.
Everyone will pay attentiion to nationally known tailback K.P. Parks. But coaches in the realigned North Piedmont Conference will be watching plenty of film, trying to figure out how to stop the Falcon defensive line.
“Our front four should be one of the best in the state,” Young said.
It’s almost frightening. Despite losing senior studs Kenderic Dunlap and Brett Graham, Young returns Chris Smith and Eli Goodson. He will add Mackel Gaither and Emmanuel Gbunblee to the mix.
“Mackel got a lot of playing time,” Young said. “He’s pretty good.”
Gbunblee saw extensive action in the state title game and made several big plays. But he didn’t get a lot of playing time until the postseason.
“The kid had 80 practices to improve,” Young said. “So I imagine after the first 50, he got tired of getting fussed at, so he got better. Credit him for that. And credit my coaches who coach the defensive line.”
With Nate Dulin and Kam Finchum graduating at linebacker, Josh Poe has to be the leader next year. Young likes Christian Hedrick and Trey Cuthbertson off the jayvees.
Young must replace Dylan Andrews, Austin Greenwood and Marco Gupton in the secondary but returns Trey Mashore and Dominique Noble to build around.
On offense, B.J. Sherrill and K.P. Parks return in the backfield. Coleman Phifer, Nolan Phillips and Eric Cowan could take Jeremy Melchor’s place at fullback.
West must reload at receiver where Brantley Horton and Jonathan Hill graduate. Young said he was impressed with jayvee Jarvis Morgan. The sophomore played well for the 7-3 jayvees.
Tim Pangburn and Davon Quarles will be back to anchor the offensive line, under the direction of newlywed Joe Nixon. But Nixon and Young know Charles Holloway and Rodney Cline can step in.
“Luckily, we had games where we were up and they got substantial playing time,” Young said.
Smith thinks its enough to make another run at a title.
“We can do it again,” he said. “The work ethic is so amazing. When you’ve got that, you can play with anybody.”
Young agreed, sort of.
“When we start back at the end of January and early February, we know we’ve got a chance to be very, very good,” he said. “We know we’ve got a chance to compete for a state championship again.”