Prep Football: Salisbury notebook
This is the seventh of eight features on area football teams.
Tomorrow: West Rowan
By Ronnie Gallagher
The Salisbury notebook …
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan just shakes his head when someone mentions 5-foot-8 Jeremiah Stockdale, his senior cornerback.
“He weighs 145 ó with a 45-pound weight in his back pocket,” Pinyan joked.
Stockdale is one of Pinyan’s favorite players.
“I’m tickled to death to be around him,” Pinyan said. “He’s a quiet kid who works hard.”
So hard that Stockdale finished 2008 with four interceptions.
“I can’t explain how he gets those interceptions,” Pinyan said. “He’s small and wiry but he seems to always be in the right place at the right time.”
Stockdale joins another small senior cornerback in 5-5 Joseph Figueroa.
“They’re little ‘ol things,” said DB coach, Web Brannon. “I tell them, when the ball’s in the air, go get it.”
Stockdale’s big moment last season came when he intercepted a pass and took it in for a score against Carson, a play that jump-started Salisbury’s win against the Cougars.
“All they talked about was how they were going to get the ball to Daniel Yates,” Stockdale said. “After that interception, I had a lot of confidence. My goal this season is to get 10 interceptions.”
Yates was 6-foot-1 when they met up and Stockdale will see many tall opponents this season. But Brannon isn’t doubting his star can hold his own.
“He’s got a nose for the football,” Brannon said. “He knows he can play with those guys.”
STAND-UP ACT: Pinyan said the team’s resident comedian is Figueroa.
“He loves to clown around and he keeps everyone in stitches,” Pinyan said.
COMPLIMENT: Romar Morris was picked by at least one publication as the preseason player of the year in the Central Carolina Conference.
That’s quite a compliment considering he didn’t even start in the backfield last season as a sophomore. He was more of a wide receiver.
“Don’t be surprised to see him in the backfield, at wide receiver, taking snaps or playing defense,” Pinyan said.
In other words, Morris will be an option, huh, coach?
“When you run a 10.8 100, you might get some consideration,” Pinyan smiled.
THE NEXT STARS: Salisbury loses A.J. Ford and Dario Hamilton in the backfield but at this school, coaches just plug in two more future stars.
This year, watch for sophomores Dejoun Jones and Dominique Dismuke.
“You don’t replace an A.J. or a Dario,” Pinyan said. “Just like you don’t replace a Tyris Davidson, an Aaron Holsey or a Channing Powell. They’ll always be remembered as greats. But Dejoun and Dominique are two impressive-looking kids.”
THE MAINSTAY: Pinyan has groomed many assistants in his seven seasons here but the one constant is defensive coordinator Ryan Crowder.
“Crowder was here when I came and he’ll be here when the school burns down,” Pinyan laughed.
When Pinyan’s first defensive coordinator J.K. Adkins left for a head job in Morganton, he wanted to take Crowder with him. But Pinyan is glad he stayed.
“Ryan’s not the rah-rah guy I was when I was defensive coordinator at Mooresville, but he’s a great teacher,” Pinyan said. “He allows his coaches to do more than just coach. He listens to their input.”
EAGLE HAS LANDED: Scott Eagle joins the coaching staff ó again.
Eagle was with Pinyan a few years ago before helping at North for two years and South Rowan last season.
Now, he returns to Pinyan, working with the wide receivers.
“It’s good to have Scott back,” Pinyan said. “He has the passion to make those receivers good.”
WOW, YOW: Another newcomer to the coaching staff is Daniel Yow, who played at Catawba as a lineman.
“He had the opportunity to help somebody else but he wanted to get paid for it,” Pinyan said. “He’s excited. He’s already jumped in there.”
IRON MAN: They call Ike Whitaker “Iron Man” and not just because he might go both ways.
He can pump some serious iron.
Only 5-foot-8, the 195- pound fullback can squat 500 pounds and bench press 400.
“He’s bad strong,” Pinyan said. “He’s the strongest human being I’ve ever worked with. He lives in that weight room. Pound for pound, he’s the strongest kid in the county.”
Phillip Ledbetter, an offensive lineman, is also one of the strongest Hornets. Pinyan said Ledbetter and Dismuke were two Hornets who didn’t miss any summer workouts.
FIRST INJURY: Joseph Jones is a 6-1, 205-pounder who was going to make the move from linebacker to lineman. But the senior suffered a shoulder injury on the third day of practice doing a bear-claw drill. He’s out 4-6 weeks.
“We were expecting a lot out of him,” Pinyan said.
OH, BROTHER: Two of the projected stars are brothers: defensive lineman Kiontae Rankin and Darien, a defensive back.