Prep Football: The Notebook – West still king of the county
From staff reports
West Rowan has won 29 straight games against county opponents entering Friday’s big clash with Salisbury at Ludwig Stadium.
West hasn’t lost to a county opponent since a a 26-14 setback against North Rowan in Week 3 of the 2001 season.
West kicked off its current streak with a victory over South the following week and hasn’t been derailed since.
Since the streak started, West is 8-0 against South, 7-0 against North, 7-0 against East, 4-0 against Salisbury and 3-0 against Carson.
Coach Scott Young’s Falcons are closing in on the modern county record established by Boyden-Salisbury teams coached primarily by Pete Stout. Stout, recently named to the NCHSAA Hall of Fame, was 26-0-2 in his career in county games.
Boyden’s Yellow Jackets began a county winning streak on Sept. 17, 1965.
After full integration was achieved, the school on Lincolnton Road became known as Salisbury starting with the 1971 season. Known as the Hornets, they maintained the streak until a loss to North on Sept. 24, 1977.
Those Boyden-SHS teams won 31 county games between losses.
There were also two ties that occurred during the course of that13-season run (no overtimes were played in that era). The deadlocks took place against North squads in 1966 and 1970.
So the record streak now stands at 31 straight county wins or 33 county games without a loss, depending on how you regard ties.
If West beats Salisbury, South (Sept. 25), Carson (Oct. 9) and East Rowan (Oct. 23) this season, the program will own 33 in a row and serious bragging rights.
IMPACT: Jon Crucitti is tough to cover. Since returning from the Rowan American Legion team’s run to the World Series, he’s caught a county-leading 11 passes in two games.
DAVIE SPELLS TROUBLE: West Rowan managed a 39-36 victory against Davie on Friday despite allowing the most points the Falcons have permitted since a 47-37 loss to Davie in 2006.
Davie has scored 47, 24, 35 and 36 points against West the past four seasons.
West has allowed more than 21 points only twice in that span to teams other than Davie ó 35 in a 2007 playoff loss to North Gaston and 22 in a regular-season loss in 2008 to West Iredell.
As you might imagine, it’s been a loud week of practice for West defenders. To use a little classic coachspeak, they have been challenged to perform somewhat better tomorrow at Salisbury.
FOOTBALL FAN: West’s practice was brisk on Labor Day. Coach Young was eager to get home in time to watch the Miami-Florida State game on television.
SIMULATION: One of the jobs of West’s reserves is to imitate Salisbury’s offense and defense to give the starters a look at what they’ll be facing on Friday.
It’s not possible to simulate Salisbury back Romar Morris’ speed, but West’s 6-foot-6, 390-pound Xavier Still offered a pretty good impression of Salisbury’s monstrous nose tackle Kiontae Rankin.
Matchups between Rankin and West center Timmy Pangburn, All-State at guard last season, will be important on Friday.
John Knox may have dominated on the offensive side of the ball in Salisbury’s 50-6 win against Carson, but Darien Rankin had a game for the ages on the other side.
The 6-foot-2 Rankin, who plays the Hornet position (part linebacker, part defensive back), was assigned to watch Carson’s star back Shaun Warren.
“He was Shaun Warren’s twin,” Pinyan said. “I don’t know if Warren plays basketball. I hope he doesn’t, because if Darien guards him, he’ll have a nightmare.”
Rankin finished with 15 tackles, eight solo.
LIFE OF RILEY: The Riley Gallagher update goes something like this:
Three games. Three receptions. Three touchdown catches from quarterback John Knox.
What’s going on?
“It must be a quarterback thing, since Riley’s the backup quarterback,” Hornets’ quarterback coach Chip Pickard said.
The latest hookup was a 26-yard completion against Carson.
“I keep telling you, Gallagher only catches touchdown passes,” head coach Joe Pinyan chuckled.
HE WEANT THAT WAY: Knox also hit 6-foot-6 Alex Weant down the sideline for a 72-yard touchdown.
“I don’t know what’s bigger ó scoring 20 points in a basketball game or catching a touchdown pass,” Pinyan mused. “He was excited and we were excited for him.”
TOP PLAYERS: Pinyan praised the kick returns of Joseph Figueroa and the kicking of David Simons.
NICE JOB: Sophomore halfback Dejoun Jones’ stats weren’t overwhelming in the romp over Carson ó nine carries, 20 yards, one TD ó but Pinyan liked the way he blocked and battled for some tough yards.
“Dejoun was a superstar in middle school and on the jayvees,” Pinyan. “He understands he’s a role player for now with some of the older guys we have. His time will come.”
BLOCK PARTY: Reserve running back Dominique Dismuke threw two key blocks, one in the backfield, one well downfield, to spring Knox’s 55-yard TD run against Carson.
East Rowan’s Quentin Sifford, a junior linebacker/running back, was solid on both sides of the ball in a 30-0 rout of Concord.
Sifford had a 23-yard run and finished with 45 yards on six carries. Defensively he had three sacks, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
Sifford injured a knee earlier in the year, and East coaches feared he might miss eight weeks or even the entire season.
A second opinion revealed Sifford hadn’t suffered a torn meniscus, and he returned to the lineup in Week 2 against Salisbury.
BUMMED OUT: Tyler Bumgarner, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior, was East’s defensive player of the week.
“He’s overachieved for us at outside linebacker,” East coach Brian Hinson said. “He was just making plays and getting in the backfield.”
Bumgarner stopped Jacquise Moore for a 1-yard gain on a fourth-and-4 play from midfield in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
SPIDERS STUCK IN WEB: Senior receiver Riley Weber is playing football at East for the first time, and he had two touchdown catches against Concord. His father, Paul, is a 1978 Catawba graduate who played for the Indians.
Weber’s second TD grab came on a 40-yard pass from Jamey Blalock late in the first half.
“I knew if he caught it that it was a touchdown, and he’s got great hands,” Blalock said.
BLAST OFF: Blalock led East with 80 rushing yards on eight carries. Sifford, Chris Moore (15 runs for 69 yards) and Dominique Simpson (12 rushes for 44 yards) were also productive.
Blocking by Kendall Morgan, Nathan Robbins, Dalton Miller, Greysen Gordy and Chris Demitraszek created running room for the Mustangs, who followed a 7-0 win against North Rowan with a lopsided loss against Salisbury.
“We put together what we had from North defensively and what happened at Salisbury and put it together,” Robbins said. “We didn’t have mistakes, and look what it got us.
“The O-line played a lot better, and running backs hit the holes good. It was a complete team effort, a complete team game. We had a ball out there. It was a blast.”
Right up until the opening kickoff, Carson was confident it could compete with Salisbury, but everything unraveled from the start.
Carson’s first three plays left the Cougars facing fourth-and-12, and it went downhill from there.
“We’d watched them and maybe some guys took them lightly,” Carson safety Jenson Harden said. “The Salisbury team we played tonight was a different team than anything we’d seen.”
BIG NUMBERS: Carson allowed 50 points in a game for the fourth time in its history.
The Cougars surrendered 54 to Mooresville and 53 to East Gaston in 2006, and 51 to Northwest Cabarrus in 2007.
It’S ONE GAME: Woody said the Salisbury game, as disappointing as it was, wasn’t the end of the world.
“One non-conference game isn’t going to define our season or who we are,” he said. “All you can do is keep playing, and we will.”
Woody said QB Zach Gragg and receiver Cody Clanton were bright spots. They teamed for Carson’s only score.
D’Andre Harris finished with 108 yards on 15 carries, while Thomas Lowe added 66 yards on 11 rushes in a 17-14 loss to Northwest Cabarrus.
“Coach (Jason) Rollins said we got too cocky about the last two games,” Harris said. “We came into this game and weren’t prepared and weren’t focused. Now we know that we can’t go into the game thinking we’ve got it. We’ve still got to fight.”
LONG SEASON: Said Rollins: “One game is one game. It’s a non-conference game and it’s tough, but I told them they’ve got to show up Monday and start over.”
CABARRUS TOUR: South is playing four straight Cabarrus-based schools. Besides A.L. Brown and Northwest, it takes on Robinson for the first time Friday and encounters Central Cabarrus for the first time since 1984 next week.
Despite its recent struggles, North Rowan’s 317-234-10 mark is still the county’s best over the past 50 seasons.
The three most frequent victims for the Cavaliers over the years have been East Rowan (35-15-1), West Rowan (28-21-2) and tomorrow’s opponent ó Lexington (21-13).
The least cooperative opponents for the Cavs, not surprisingly, have been A.L. Brown and Concord.
North is 5-16 against the Wonders and 1-7 against the Spiders.
North has enjoyed playing the Iredells. The Cavs are 20-1-1 vs. North, South and West Iredell.
RIVALRY INTERRUPTED: North and West Rowan aren’t playing this season for the first time since West opened in 1959.
Coach Ron Massey has a record of 99-28 since coming to A.L. prior to the 2000 season.
The Wonders will try to give him No. 100 in Kannapolis next week when they take on Kings Mountain.
Massey coached at Kings Mountain in the 1990s, including two celebrated playoff matchups with the Wonders that his teams split.
Massey was 47-15-2 coaching at Kings Mountain.
Wonder fans have joked this week that the reason Brown lost to South Rowan was so that Massey could get No. 100 against his former school.
BIG WIN: Brown’s 34-28 victory at Thomasville was important going into a bye week.
“It was hard losing to South Rowan, but we went back out and redeemed ourselves, senior guard Tavis Bailey said. “It would’ve been really hard if we’d lost to Thomasville and had to wait two more weeks to play. The coaches really pay attention to you at practice during the bye week, but it will be more fun now.”
IT’s A TIE: Bailey, a born salesman, sold more than 40 of those Wonder fundraising discount cards for savings at area pizza parlors at $20 a pop. He and his top competitor finally agreed to split first prize. They were wearing each other out.
Bailey said he’s saving the prize money for a “special occasion.”
RILEY ROLLS: Junior back Travis Riley’s numbers after three games ó 55 carries, 494 rushing yards, nine TDs.
Riley’s four TDs against Thomasville were the most by a Wonder since Artrele Louis found the end zone four times against Porter Ridge in 2007.
Davie’s loss to West Rowan saddled the War Eagles with their first 0-3 start in Doug Illing’s 12-year career in Mocksville and the school’s first 0-3 mark since 1995.
All three of the losses are to teams who are currently 3-0: Alexander Central, Page and West.
LONG PASS: Jacob Barber’s 82-yard scoring toss to Joe Watson was the program’s longest pass play since Garrett Benge hit Kenneth Brown with an 85-yard completion in 2007, a span of 39 games.
POINTS FOR NOTHING: The 36 points against West were the most in defeat ever for the War Eagles.
They lost to Mount Tabor 36-35 in 2007.
NO PRESSURE: Illing always finds kickers.
While West missed three of four PAT attempts, Davie freshman Woody Parrish felt no pressure, connecting on all four of his tries.
Mike London, Ronnie Gallagher, Bret Strelow, Paul Hershey and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.