Gallagher column: Are you ready for some football?
Roaming the county getting ready for football …
If you’re a true Rowan County football fan, then you could be in heaven today.
Not only is it the first day of official practice, all six county schools have different starting times. If you have enough gas, you can drive to all of them and see a little of everybody.
Carson is the first to start, hitting the field at 7:30 a.m. North Rowan begins 30 minutes later and Salisbury starts at 9 a.m.
West Rowan’s defending 3A champions will saunter onto the practice field ó with a backdrop of corn fields ó at 10 a.m.
Two schools have afternoon starting times. East Rowan gets under way at 4 p.m. and South Rowan starts at 5 p.m.
West coach Scott Young must address the mentality of his club, still talent-laden, the favorite to repeat and the preseason No. 1 team in the state.
“Honestly, we’re going to have to talk about that,” he said. “We’ve got to turn the page.”
Championship fever hasn’t really left Mount Ulla since Dec. 15, when the Falcons finished 15-1 by trouncing West Craven 35-7. In fact, during a mini-camp Wednesday, some old faces were soaking in the aura. Former quarterback Jamel Carpenter and Shrine Bowl lineman David Melton were among those watching current stars such as K.P. Parks and Chris Smith.
The title has brought kids out of the woodwork, and that pleases Young. He spoke of the time he was given just a day’s notice for a passing league, “and we had 41 boys ready to go throw.”
There was Tuesday, when he scheduled a running drill.
“It was straight running,” Young said. “That’s not a fun thing. That’s not even fun for the coaches. But we had 78 kids out there.
“Thank goodness we’ve got a good group of kids to work with. I feel good about the staff. I feel good about the program. I like what the kids have done.”
But he emphasizes that today is basically a new beginning.
“It’s been fun wearing those rings … the championship posters,” Young said. “But that’s over. It’s 2009.”
Salisbury coaches proved earlier this week that they can really shovel it.
Dirt, that is.
Several assistants were putting down sod and dirt on the practice field.
“We probably got on this field a year before we should have,” coach Joe Pinyan said. “We kinda ate up the middle a little bit.”
Pinyan is starting his 24th year in football, seventh as head coach at Salisbury. Being on the field is the best part of his job, which also includes roles as the athletics director and a P.E. teacher.
“This is the part I enjoy the most,” Pinyan said. “A big part is on Thursday and Friday, but a lot of it has to do with what we do on the practice field Monday through Wednesday, watching kids learn.”
West probably has the best trio of seniors in preseason all-state picks Parks, Smith and mammoth lineman Timmy Pangburn. But Salisbury might have the best trio of juniors around in John Knox, Romar Morris and Darien Rankin.
There can’t be many senior classes better than the one South Rowan, coached by Jason Rollins, is producing. Fans in Landis are as excited as they’ve been in years.
Don’t forget Shaun Warren of Carson. The junior has been wowing college coaches during summer camps with his 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash.
East Rowan would be better if it could suit up its head coach. Former Catawba All-American Brian Hinson still looks like he could play.
Hinson is hoping for better times after a 1-10 season, with that win coming early against North Rowan.
North is the curious team. The Cavs didn’t win a game on the field last season and are going into a 1A league, the Yadkin Valley, where their young men will travel to parts unknown by Rowan fans ó places like Robbins, Denton, Bear Creek, Norwood …
You better fill that tank up before you head out.
The Salisbury Post football edition is scheduled for Aug. 19, and we’ll have a comic-book hero theme.
Hmm, wonder who Superman will be?
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or email@example.com.