Friday Night Hero: East Rowan’s Jamey Blalock

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2009

By Bret Strelow
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan players gathered in the locker room following the Mustangs’ shutout of Concord and munched on oatmeal butterscotch cookies baked by Julie Blalock.
Junior quarterback Jamey Blalock enjoyed a breakout performance, but his mother dismisses the notion that she had a hand in the 30-0 outcome.
Concord hadn’t lost to the Mustangs since 1979, the year Julie graduated from East. She found her class ring Friday afternoon and wore it to the game.
Consider it the birth of a Blalock good-luck charm.
“I’m glad she did it,” Jamey Blalock said. “I told her it worked and any time she can think of something neat like that to do it.”
East had dropped 25 consecutive games in its series with Concord, so Blalock’s mom will have stories to share when she attends her 30-year reunion Saturday.
Head coach Brian Hinson discussed the losing streak during East’s pregame meal Friday, and Julie hatched her idea while talking with Hinson’s wife, Shanna.
“It was such a silly thing,” Julie said with a laugh. “I dug around, and I hadn’t worn it in probably 30 years. Secret weapon: Put it on and who knows?”
The Mustangs made a fourth-down stop against Concord’s offense to end the opening possession, and Jamey Blalock’s option keeper on East’s second play netted 38 yards.
Blalock threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes to Riley Weber, scored on a third-quarter sneak and finished with 161 yards of total offense.
The 81 passing yards and 80 rushing yards all came in the first half as East built a 23-0 lead. Blalock had two carries and one incompletion in the second half, when four running backs shared the workload.
“Jamey has really become a leader in our huddle as a junior, which is an amazing thing,” senior guard Nathan Robbins said. “He’s still working some kinks out, but he makes the reads and is a great quarterback.
“He showed he does have some speed. He’s a good athlete, a real smart kid and he can play his heart out. If we can get the blocking for him, look what he can do.”
Blalock started for a 4-6 junior varsity team last year, and Junior Legion baseball consumed much of his summer.
A standout infielder, he needed to arrive at Catawba’s Newman Park by 4:30 p.m. many days. Hinson and offensive coordinator Gary Bass dipped into their free time to accomodate Blalock, who would show up at East around 1 p.m.
He’d lift weights, perform footwork drills, participate in chalk-talk sessions with the coaches, watch film and throw.
“Jamey’s a smart kid ó he’s top 10 in his class ó and it was one of those things where we wanted him to be on the same page as far as what we’re thinking offensively,” Hinson said. “We watched film with him and did a lot of Xs and Os on the board hoping he could be a coach on the field for us.”
Senior linebacker Sam Edmonds was present on occasion because of his work schedule, but Blalock was often alone with the two coaches.
He appreciated the gesture knowing that Hinson had a 2-year-old daughter, Elinor, at home.
“Coach Hinson would sacrifice time away from his little girl and come over here and spend time with me to help make me better,” Blalock said. “It’s big. He’s not doing it just because he wants to win. He’s doing it to make me a better athlete and better person.
“I’d go straight to the (baseball) game already sweaty and tired, but it was definitely worth it.”