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Gallagher column: Sexton wears the look of a winner

Roaming the county …
It was quite a sight seeing photos of Cam Sexton hugging Marcus Ginyard and his other former North Carolina Tar Heel buddies after Catawba defeated Saint Augustine’s 25-7 in the Indians’ season opener Saturday.
Sexton had just thrown for over 300 yards and the look on his face was one of satisfaction.
I asked Sexton recently about another look I’ll always remember ó the staredown he gave his sideline and the crowd at Miami last season.
Sexton was the third-string quarterback in Chapel Hill, so it took an injury to T.J. Yates and some shaky play by Mike Paulus to get him on the field. He had just thrown the winning touchdown pass against the Hurricanes and the ABC cameras quickly panned down to the UNC signal caller.
He was just standing there, but the look on his face gave me chills. I replayed it several times.
Oh yeah, he remembers it too.
“There were so many emotions I was going through at that point,” Sexton said. “Everything just hit me at once. Finally, some success after a tough road to get there. The emotions and the experiences I had with my teammates were unbelievable. That game will be one I’ll never forget.”
That’s saying something considering he had other unforgettable moments. He quarterbacked UNC to wins over ranked opponents UConn, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
But as soon as Yates returned, poof, Sexton disappeared.
And with a year of eligibility left, poof, he reappeared in Raleigh last week in a Catawba uniform, playing in front of a lot of Catawba ó and ó Carolina blue.
“Every single one of them,” Sexton replied when asked before the game if he kept up with any of the Tar Heels. “I still spend a lot of time in Chapel Hill.”
Sexton is in Salisbury now, and he’s expecting nothing but the best.
“I never went into a season thinking, ‘If we win 10 games, it would be great. If we get to the postseason, it would be great.’ I want to win every game. And the guys here want to win every game.”
And if Catawba wins every game?
“That means we win a national championship,” Sexton said.

Catawba fans turned out for Sexton’s debut, and they’ll have to travel again this week. Catawba goes to Fayetteville State for a 6 p.m. game, while Livingstone travels to Greenville, S.C., to face Savannah State.
But there’s plenty of action right here at home before then.
– Laurie Wyrick brings her East Rowan tennis team to Salisbury today, one of four matches in the county.
– On Tuesday, fans should ride down to Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium to see former South Rowan star Daniel Wagner.
He’s not playing against the Intimidators. He’s a member of the tea, and it starts a homestand on Tuesday.
A feature on Wagner will grace next Sunday’s front page of sports.
– You can also check out the talented volleyball teams in southern Rowan County on Tuesday. South’s 5-0 Raiders will face powerful North Iredell and undefeated Carson plays host to East Rowan.
– Salisbury’s county champion soccer team goes to South Rowan on Wednesday.
– Thursday, there’s plenty of jayvee football, volleyball and tennis action.
– Varsity football dominates Friday as Davie travels to West Rowan, South Rowan goes to Northwest Cabarrus, Carson goes to Salisbury and Concord’s 0-2 Spiders visit East. A.L. Brown travels to Thomasville.

And finally we get back to Sexton on Saturday.
He said he had never been to Salisbury before this season but his mother was raised in nearby Albemarle.
“I’m from small-town Laurinburg so I know what a small town is like,” Sexton said. “I’m really enjoying my time with my teammates.”
With that said, it is now time for area sports fans to enjoy Sexton for a second straight week. And it’s probably OK to hug him ó even if you’re not wearing Carolina Blue or named Marcus Ginyard.

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