Falcons, Wonder make All-State
By Bret Strelow
Tim Pangburn’s stint as an offensive tackle is likely over even though it was a resounding success.
Pangburn, running back K.P. Parks and defensive lineman Chris Smith ó key players in West Rowan’s run to the 3A championship ó were all voted onto The Associated Press All-State team. A.L. Brown defensive back Xavier Watson also made the squad.
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Pangburn was an offensive guard last year as a sophomore, and he moved to left tackle for the 2008 season. He made 102 knockdown blocks and allowed just two sacks for an offense that gained more than 6,000 yards.
Joe Nixon’s tutelage made Pangburn’s transition easier.
“First thing, he had to work,” West head coach Scott Young said. “We have a great O-line coach, and they worked on his pass-protection technique. He was a little more exposed on the edge, but he did a good job.”
Pangburn has a better chance to play as an interior lineman at the next level, and West’s coaches plan to use him as either a guard or center in 2009.
Parks, the county’s offensive player of the year, and Smith, the co-player of the year on defense, are also juniors.
Parks rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns to earn MVP recognition following the Falcons’ 35-7 victory against West Craven in the 3A final. He gained 2,864 yards as a junior and has 7,121 in his career. He needs one more touchdown to reach the century mark.Smith had 26 sacks and 84 tackles for a defense that allowed fewer than eight points in 11 of 16 games.
West had two all-state selections in 2006 (Tristan Dorty, David Melton) and one in 2007 (Justin Avery).
“Finally breaking through and winning the state championship has a lot to do with this,” Young said. “I’m so pleased for them, and I’m honored that the media views our players as really good players.”Watson, 5-11, 170, was a senior captain and strong safety for the Wonders, who reached the 3AA final. He made seven interceptions.
Defensive backs coach James Lott asked his troops prior to the season about their goals for 2008. Watson, All-SPC as a junior, responded that he intended to take the next step up the ladder to All-State.
“I don’t know that anyone else was picking him for preseason honors, but X was very serious about it,” Lott said. “And all year long, he chipped away at it and carried himself like an All-State player.”
In the state playoffs, the “X-Man” had six pass breakups against Marvin Ridge and set up a touchdown with an interception and long return against Lake Norman.
In the third-round showdown with Charlotte Catholic, Watson’s physical play against the run made him a key component in Brown’s defensive gameplan.
“X made it very difficult for Catholic to run to his side of the field,” Lott said. “He disrupted their offense.”
Watson repeated as All-SPC, and now he’s All-State.
“It takes 11 to play defense, but we would not have had the defense we had without X,” Lott said. “He did so many things for us, made so many plays. He’s not the biggest or the fastest, but he has the savvy, the smarts and the heart to play in anyone’s system. That’s the best thing about this. It will help him get in school.”
Mike London contributed to this story.
The aroma of the Christmas goose drifting from behind a closed door, mingling with the scent of pine from yet... read more