Prep Football: East Rowan 7, North Rowan 0
By Steve Huffman
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan ground out a 7-0 win over visiting North Rowan on Friday in a game that didn’t offer many highlights from which to choose.
“It was ugly,” East coach Brian Hinson said.
He then paused before spelling it out for emphasis: “U-G-L-Y.”
It was the season opener for both squads, and inexperience showed. North managed just 64 yards of offense and East wasn’t much better, finishing with only 84.
The teams combined for 10 fumbles. North lost only one of its six, but that miscue came in the game’s closing minutes and sealed the deal on the Cavaliers’ misfortunes.
North didn’t complete a pass, and East was only 2-for-9 through the air. The Cavaliers were flagged for 11 penalties, procedure calls being the order of the evening.
“We played tonight like it was our second scrimmage, but, unfortunately, this was a game that counted,” North coach Tasker Fleming said. “We kept getting field position, but then we’d get an infraction or lay the ball on the ground.
“We’re going to get better. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement.”
The game was scoreless until East took possession at the Cavaliers’ 38-yard line following a punt as the third quarter wound to a close. A pass interference call moved the ball to the 22.
As the fourth period opened, the Mustangs faced a fourth-and-inches at the North 12. East quarterback Jamey Blalock carried for three yards and a first down.
Chris Moore bulled his way to the 2, and Blalock followed by sneaking in on the next play.
“You’ve got to credit the defense,” he said. “They’re the ones that kept us in the game. But we’ll take a win any way we can get it.”
Hinson echoed those sentiments.
“An ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” he said.
North had several opportunities to score, two of which took place as a result of blunders by East’s punt-receiving team.
In the first quarter, a punt by Jon Robertson was touched by a Mustang and North’s Pierre Givens snagged the loose ball. The Cavs took possession at midfield but couldn’t make East pay.
The play was almost repeated in the fourth quarter, with Givens recovering another loose punt that was touched by a Mustang. Again, the offense was stopped.
North’s deepest drive came in the second quarter, when Cameron Mallett broke a 31-yard run to the East 30. Jesse Rudisell, North’s quarterback, was dropped on back-to-back plays, with East’s Taylor Lester doing the honors on the first and Sam Sherman following on the second.
On third-and-22, a bevy of East defenders buried Rudisell.
“It’s real disappointing,” Rudisell said. “We did a few good things, but we made a lot of mistakes. Our offense has got to work harder.”
Both teams had stellar defensive play. East’s Tyler Bumgarner, Sam Edmonds and Evan Hiatt often appeared to be camping in North’s backfield.
North’s Dominique Meade, Javon Hargrave and Darius Jackson overpowered East’s offensive line throughout the night.
“Our defense played great, but so did theirs,” Hinson said. “At this stage of the season, it’s not unusual for the defenses to be ahead of the offenses.”
NOTES: East’s Taylor Lester recovered a North fumble near midfield with 1:40 remaining that all but ended the game. North’s Eric Robinson had a pair of fumble recoveries.