Friday Night Hero: East Rowan’s Quentin Sifford
By Ronnie Gallagher
GRANITE QUARRY ó They talk about do-it-all performer Jon Crucitti of defending state champion West Rowan, but on Friday, he was matched on the other side of the county by East Rowan’s Quentin Sifford.
Sifford gave new meaning to “all-around performer” in the Mustangs’ 28-22 win against Hickory Ridge on Friday, a game that ran East’s record to 3-1.
The junior hulk threw a touchdown pass of 53 yards. He ran for scores of 56 and 5 yards. On defense, which is supposed to be his forte, he hit the quarterback so hard, he forced a bad throw that was intercepted.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” coach Brian Hinson said, joking that Sifford might be perfect for the Wildcat offense. “He’s got a lot of potential.”
Sifford was a human highlight reel:
– First, there was his halfback touchdown pass to Preston Troutman for the first score of the game.
“I’ve seen Quentin throw the ball several times,” Hinson said. “He’s got a strong arm, and I thought we could take advantage of their aggressive corners.”
He told Sifford just that before the game.
“I was happy about it,” Sifford said.
East’s play-action passing game has worked with its run-oriented offense. Hinson said he thought the cornerback and safety would bite on it.
“They did,” he said.
Sifford’s pass was anything but a beautiful toss, but the result was six points.
“It was a duck that looked like it got shot,” chuckled Hinson.
“It was ugly, but it got there,” smiled Sifford. “That put us up and we said, ‘We can win this game.’ ”
– His 56-yard touchdown run came at a critical time. East trailed 20-14 in the third quarter.
It was the first carry for Sifford.
He took a pitch left and cut back to the middle. It was clear sailing.
“I saw a big hole and took it,” Sifford said. “It feels good. Your eyes get big when you see (the end zone). The receivers gave me good blocks, and I made good cuts.”
Sifford’s 5-yard scoring run put the finishing touches on a 73-yard rushing night.
– It was a defensive play from his outside linebacker spot that probably sealed the game.
With East up 28-20, he stormed through and mashed Hickory Ridge QB Nick Moelle, whose pass was disrupted enough that Jordan Hopper picked it off.
“He put real good pressure on the quarterback, and thank the Lord he did,” Hinson said. “We were kinda burned on a post-corner route.”
Not a bad game for a guy who thought he was going to miss the season with a meniscus tear in his knee.
That was the first opinion. A second had Hinson breathing a sigh of relief.
The knee needed cleaning out, which would result in only two games being missed.
“I knew the knee was bothering him, but I didn’t think it was that bad,” Hinson said. “He was squatting 400 pounds. It was a surprise, but he’s a tough kid.”
Returning for Game 3 against Concord, Sifford had three sacks, recovered a fumble and forced another. After last Friday, his knee is an afterthought.
“I just stayed positive,” Sifford said.
Sifford was asked which he likes better ó offense or defense.
“I like defense,” he said. “Offense brings out the fans. Defense wins games.”
As Sifford proved against Hickory Ridge, he had the fans cheering for his play on both sides of the ball.