2008 All-County Football: The awards the athletic banquets may forget

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nobody plans in August to win a state championship. All coaches will tell you that. They know in high school, anything can happen.
West Rowan assistant Joe Nixon proved it when he chose to get married on Dec. 13, 2008. He was thinking future bride Hillary Hampton, not football, would dominate that day.
But there Nixon was, coaching football, then marrying Hampton after the game.
Nixon’s offensive line helped dominate West Craven in the 3A championship game. You can bet, now that Nixon’s been married a couple of weeks, Hillary’s making the decisions.
Oh yeah, she’s making them. Us married guys know how it is. The man is right during the courtship. The woman is right during the marriage. What kind of deal is that, ladies? We get two years, you get 50?
Talk about domination. Who do you think you are, K.P. Parks?
Parks could dominate this column, but I have to remember there were about 400 other kids playing football this season in Rowan County ó and some pretty successful kids at that.
So here are my 2008 Post awards, the wacky, the looney and the unbelievable … you know, the awards the athletic banquets might forget:
Game of the Year: West Rowan’s 35-7 win over West Craven. Winning a state title is pretty much a no-brainer for this award, huh?
Mr. Clutch: West’s Austin Greenwood. With five minutes left against Carver, West was down 16-13 in its third-round playoff game.
Things looked bleak against the Yellow Jackets until Greenwood took a fake punt 50 yards for the game-winning touchdown. West never looked back, winning each of its last two games by a 35-7 score.
Greenwood also had the game-clinching interception against Carver, scored off a blocked punt in the Western final against South Point and had another pick in the title game.
His most important play prior to the postseason came when he made a game-saving tackle at the goal line in a two-overtime win against Lake Norman.
Most Athletic Play of the Year: Salisbury’s Jeremiah Stockdale saw the ball ricochet off an East Rowan player’s helmet and made a diving interception.
Date To Remember: August 30, 2008. Carson won the first game in its three-year history, crushing North Rowan 36-0.
Quickest Turnaround: Down 12-7, Salisbury scored three touchdowns in a 26-second span on its way to a 27-18 win over Carson.
Breakout Season: North Rowan’s Vince Shropshire was the most complete player for a team that didn’t win a game on the field.
Stunner of the Year: The county’s second-best running back, Thomas Lowe, was dismissed from the East Rowan team.
Twilight Zone Award: Imagine being South coach Jason Rollins as he watched his team block a field-goal attempt by West Iredell in the fading seconds to seemingly preserve a win.
Then imagine being Rollins seconds after the block as he watched the West Iredell holder pick up the ball and throw the winning touchdown pass as time expired.
Which leads us to …Most Impressive Win: I mentioned something bad that happened to South. Let me talk about something good. The Raiders came up with eight turnovers and socked it to previously unbeaten Northwest Cabarrus 27-6.Should’ve Made All-County: State champ West placed an all-time high of 13 players on the team. A.J. Little, who had seven interceptions, could’ve made it 14.
Most Inspiring Win: On a night when South honored the 1983 team, it played arguably its best game of the year against Northwest.
The Sigh of Relief Award: To Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan, whose Hornets broke a three-game losing streak to West Davidson with a 16-8 win.
Most Photogenic: The player with the most photos this season? Who else? Parks, with an all-time record of 48.
West coach Scott Young led all coaches with 25.
All told, 19 players were in double figures in photos.
Best Nickname: Carson’s Shaun “Bush” Warren.
He … could … go … all … the … way Award: It’s shared by Warren and South’s Mark McDaniel, who both had 94-yard touchdowns.
Warren’s came on a run against Lake Norman, and McDaniel’s was an interception return against Northwest Cabarrus.
West’s Trey Mashore and Parks, Salisbury’s A.J. Ford and Dario Hamilton, East’s Ben DeCelle and Carson’s Daniel Yates all had touchdowns of more than 80 yards.
Which leads us to …
He … could’ve … gone … all … the … way: A 97-yard interception return by South’s B.J. Grant was called back due to a roughing-the-passer penalty.
History Maker: Salisbury’s Hamilton ran for 109 yards in a 49-7 win over East Davidson, surpassing Tyris Davidson as the school’s all-time rushing leader.
Runner-up: Warren became Carson’s first-ever 1,000-yard rusher.
Best Compliment: After beating North Rowan, Central Davidson coach Eugene Everhart said of sophomore Javon Hargrave:
“No doubt, the best defensive player in our league.”
Most Popular Player not named K.P.: Salisbury’s 420-pound sophomore defensive lineman Kiontae Rankin brought back memories of William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
Rankin, fondly known as “The Freezer,” scored a touchdown in a 28-25 win against Lexington in a big CCC showdown.
Can we go to the next award, please? Carson has played West Rowan three times in its history and been outscored 116-0.
I said, ‘Can we go to the next award, please?’ East Rowan is trying to forget the county’s worst loss of the year, a 69-0 debacle against West.
Hard To Believe: East hasn’t won in South Rowan’s Donnell Stadium since way back in 1999.
Star of the Future: Salisbury’s speedy sophomore Romar Morris should continue what Ford and Hamilton started.
The “Say What?” Award: Salisbury’s wishbone offense completed 7 of 9 passes for 176 yards in the first half of a 45-21 win against West Stanly.
Comeback of the Year: Salisbury was down 25-14 to Lexington and looked out of it before rallying to take a 28-25 win.
Best player you don’t know ó yet: East Rowan’s Sam Edmonds.
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Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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