Friday Night Hero: West Rowan’s B.J. Sherrill
By Bret Strelow
MOUNT ULLA ó B.J. Sherrill, sporting a mohawk underneath his West Rowan helmet, relayed signals in animated fashion as the Falcons prepared for their first play from scrimmage against Northwest Cabarrus.
Sherrill has matured significantly as a quarterback, but West coach Scott Young couldn’t help but chuckle while mimicking that pre-snap display.
“He really gets fired up during a game,” Young said. “If you watch the first play the other night, he’s back there dancing around, calling out signals. It’s amusing at times to watch him.”
Sherrill helped lead West to the 3A state title last season as a sophomore, and he had one of his most efficient passing performances five days ago in a 33-6 win against the Trojans.
A touchback gave the Falcons possession at the 20-yard line to start the game. Shortly after Sherrill stopped barking out orders, K.P. Parks ran up the middle for 11 yards. Sherrill then connected with receiver Jon Crucitti for a 56-yard gain.
Sherrill went 9-of-11 passing for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
“Having K.P. makes my job that much easier,” Sherrill said. “The coaches don’t ask too much of me. Just take care of the ball and manage the game.”
Sherrill, a 6-foot junior listed at 210 pounds, has received letters from Tennessee and Duke at this early stage in the recruiting process.
A wideout/backup quarterback as a varsity freshman, he became West’s starting QB after throwing for 181 yards during a loss to Davie County in the second game of the 2008 season. The Falcons finished the year with a 14-game winning streak and head into Friday’s contest against Davie with a 2-0 record.
Sherrill, who threw 15 touchdown passes and seven interceptions as a sophomore, persevered through pain throughout the playoff run.
He fired three TD passes in the first half of an opening-round win against Franklin but aggravated a turf toe on a 17-yard keeper.
“He got better as the year went along and played through the playoffs with that turf toe injury,” Young said. “That’s where he really came into his own. K.P. was injured, so there was more emphasis on the passing game. Our receivers and the quarterback came through.”
Parks suffered a sprained ankle on his second carry in Round 2 against Statesville, and Carver limited him to 92 yards on 27 carries a week later. With the Falcons trailing 10-0, Sherrill moved the chains on a critical third-down scramble. He capped the momentum-changing drive with a touchdown run, and West won 20-16.
Parks ran for 112 yards on only 14 carries against South Point in a state semifinal, and Sherrill enjoyed a spectacular first half in a 35-7 win. He had a 52-yard touchdown run in the first half of a 35-7 victory against West Craven in the 3A final.
“I sort of knew I’d have to step my game up a little more,” Sherrill said. “Once (Parks) went down, I told myself basically pinpoint passes and take care of the ball. I had a good offensive line, and they took care of me back there.”
Parks, Sherrill, Crucitti and that stout line have returned to an offense that’s looked sharp so far.
Crucitti sat out the opener and caught five passes during a first half in which Sherrill went 6 of 6 for 101 yards against Northwest. Crucitti and KaJuan Phillips had touchdown receptions.
A role reversal occurred on West’s fourth series. Crucitti, who began last season as the starting quarterback, took snaps and fired a 10-yard strike to Sherrill.
It was his first catch since last year’s Davie game.
“We like to mix it up some, let Jon play quarterback and give the defense a different look,” Sherrill said. “I don’t mind going to receiver whether I’m catching passes or blocking. Whatever I can do to help the team.”