Prep Football: The Notebook: Week 4
From staff reports
West junior quarterback B.J. Sherrill shook off two first-half picks and a fumble to direct a 14-7 victory against Salisbury.
The Falcons had to execute almost flawlessly on drives of 72 and 81 yards in the second half to win, and Sherrill directed those marches.
Trailing 7-0 in the third quarter and facing first-and-13 at the West 37 after a holding penalty negated a strong run by tailback K.P. Parks, Sherrill produced one of the game’s key plays.
“I was supposed to roll and look for Jon Crucitti,” Sherrill explained. “But then I saw a seam and a little green grass and took off.”
Sherrill steamed for 38 tackle-breaking yards, one of the longest and strongest runs of his career.
“That play got us all pumped up,” Sherrill said.
Sherrill had a quiet night passing against Salisbury’s fast, fired-up secondary, but he had 70 passing yards and went over 2,000 for his career.
HE CAUGHT IT: Crucitti, who visited Army last Saturday, was held to four catches for 42 yards by the Hornets.
He’s sure it should have been five catches, but he lost one amazing one that was ruled incomplete.
“I went up and caught the ball, then it hits the helmet of the defender,” Crucitti explained. “I caught it again and pinned it against my leg on the way down.”
Crucitti had a couple of polite discussions with officials, but the call stood.
Crucitti helps the Falcons in a lot of ways.
With West backed up on its 14-yard line with 1:02 to go and clinging to a seven-point lead, he got off a nice 35-yard punt with no return.
FOOLED AGAIN: For the second straight week, West carefully studied an opponent and believed it would have its way on Friday night.
For the second straight Friday, the Falcons found themselves fighting for their lives shortly after the kickoff.
“What we see on film really doesn’t matter because that’s not the team we’re going to see when we play them,” Parks said. “We’ve got that bull’s eye. Everyone brings their best for West Rowan.”
MOVING UP: Young’s teams have now won 70 more than they’ve lost during his 12 seasons.
He’s 107-37 in his head-coaching career, all at West.
The only coaches who recorded more wins than Young while coaching in Rowan County are Roger Secreast (115-72 in 16 seasons at Salisbury and North), Larry Thomason (125-69-3 in 19 seasons at North), Bill Ludwig (129-67-11 in 21 seasons at Boyden) and S.W. Lancaster (183-50-15 in 29 seasons at J.C. Price).
The Hornets surprised people by competing hard with West in the trenches.
Salisbury’s defense was especially impressive, and Young had nothing but good things to say about the Hornets.
“They matched us physically for the first time,” he said. “That’s no disrespect to the kids they’ve had before. That’s just a high compliment to the ones who are over there now. There’s gonna be sore kids on both sides.”
Salisbury linebacker Linares Pagan left Ludwig Stadium bruised but upbeat.
“We proved what we could do against a state-championship team,” he said. “It was a good game for us. It showed us we can be a championship team too.”
DOUBLE DUTY: Darien Rankin is a dynamic defender at the “Hornet” position, a combination linebacker/safety, but he showed he can also play offense.
With Salisbury looking for a tying score in the final minutes, he caught a 38-yard pass from John Knox.
HOME RUNS: Junior Romar Morris’ 82-yard dash for a touchdown against West was the longest run of his career and the seventh TD of his career that covered more than 60 yards.
Morris owns a 96-yard kickoff return, scoring receptions of 60 and 70 yards and scoring runs of 61, 65, 67 and 82.
Salisbury lost big-play guys A.J. Ford and Dario Hamilton off its strong 2008 team, but Morris’ presence gives coach Joe Pinyan a longball threat.
Salisbury suffered a rare loss on Friday in a game in which it produced a big-play TD. The Hornets were held without a long TD in their loss to South Rowan on opening night.
The Hornets scored 21 touchdowns in 2008 on plays covering 40 or more yards, including five in a 60-0 rout of Central Davidson that later became a forfeit loss.
South Rowan recorded four sacks in its 35-21 victory at Jay M. Robinson. Justin Hall and Randy Maxwell had one apiece.
Senior linebacker Cadarreus Mason’s two sacks were just part of a stellar performance. He made 17 tackles and intercepted a first-quarter pass.
Several South players were sick last week, and Mason filled in some as a defensive lineman against the Bulldogs.
“We probably had six kids that were sick, and they played through it and fought through it,” South coach Jason Rollins said. “Two-platooning, it’s not that you’re thin, but you have to have some kids that can move around and be pretty mobile. He’s that kid.”
BLOCK PARTY: South rushed for 246 yards against Robinson, with D’Andre Harris posting a team-high 98. Thomas Lowe had 91.
The running backs were responsible for more than just carrying the ball.
“I challenged them that they better step it up and start blocking and start taking care of their responsibilities,” Rollins said. “It kind of showed on some of those plays. That doesn’t mean every play, but it got better.”
Lowe had one block in particular that caught Rollins’ attention.
“He had to readjust his helmet one good time, and that was nice to see,” Rollins said.
HIGH MARKS: South’s offensive line includes four seniors, and 11th-grader Leo Pope plays right tackle. He’s in charge of protecting left-handed quarterback Blake Houston’s blind side.
“He’s the only junior on that offensive line, and he’s graded out the highest on average every week,” assistant coach Jarrod Smith said.
After a 28-22 win against Hickory Ridge, the Mustangs talked about unity and a different mindset from last year.
Jesse Meismer is proving it. No way was he coming off the field.
Meismer, a defensive lineman, had broken the tip of his finger earlier in the week. Originally, he was told he would undergo surgery and have a pin put in it. But when he went for the surgery, he was told he would be miss games.
Injury or teammates?
Meismer chose his teammates and played against Hickory Ridge, recovering two fumbles.
“He got a second opinion,” East coach Brian Hinson said. “He’s playing with a little bit of a splint and tape.”
CATCHING TROUT: Preston Troutman caught two touchdown passes for the game’s first two scores.
After hauling in a halfback pass from Quentin Sifford, Troutman made it 14-0 late in the first quarter, catching a strike from Jamey Blalock down the seam for a 53-yard score.
“That’s a play we’ve hit in a couple other games,” Hinson said. “Jamey made a good throw and took a good lick at the end of it. I wish we had a little more protection, but he did a great job.”
Hinson said Troutman, “is a tremendous athlete.”
SICK: Troutman and offensive lineman Kendall Morgan missed some practice time this week with sickness.
MOTHER’S DAY: After the win, Hinson told his team that he would give the gameball to his mother, who had suffered a stroke earlier in week. He missed practice the day before the game to visit her in the hospital.
“I was pleased with how she was doing, and hopefully she’s still doing a lot better,” Hinson said. “She’ll be excited.”
OFFENSE: East’s running game was balanced against Hickory Ridge. In addition to Sifford, Chris Moore rushed for 94 yards, Blalock totaled 72, and Dominique Simpson added 49.
“We’ve had like 250 and 290 yards rushing in our last two games and no 100-yard rushers,” noted Hinson. “Nobody’s complained about it.”
Hinson also pointed out that Riley Weber had two scoring catches two weeks ago and Troutman had two this past week.
“Everybody’s getting touches,” Hinson said. “Everybody’s happy.”
And the blocking is good. Several linemen graded out, including Chris Demitrazsek, who had 14 knockdown blocks.
DEFENSE: Evan Hiatt recorded the first of East’s three interceptions. Shawn Galloway and Jordan Hopper had the others. Sam Edmonds added a fumble recovery in the first half.
Edmonds and Hopper had 12 tackles each, and Hinson also praised the play of nose guard Jeffrey Haltom.
STOP HIM: Hickory Ridge running back Brian Baltimore totaled 141 total yards, but only 38 came after halftime.
“Coach got on us, so we had to do something,” Sifford said. “We didn’t want to run on Monday.”
Cougars coach Mark Woody keeps tweaking that offensive line, and it is paying dividends.
First, he sent Kaleb Denton from defense to offense. This past week, it was Justice Schenck. He helped Carson run and pass for 381 yards of total offense in a 33-0 win against West Davidson.
“His physical presence immediately impacted us,” Woody said. “You always hear in the college and pro ranks, when you bring a defensive guy over, he brings something else to the table. Same thing in high school.”
GRAGG ORDER: Junior Zack Gragg had his best game at quarterback, completing seven passes for 132 yards.
“Zack played a very good game,” Woody said. “He’s well-deserving for where he is right now. He’s had some hardships along the way with a knee injury. But he has worked and worked and worked.”
Gragg took over the leadership role at quarterback after Nick Houston quit following the first game.
“Even in a one-sided loss, I thought he played well against Salisbury,” Woody said of a 50-6 defeat.
LOVING IT: Derrick Sewell recovered a fumble against West Davidson, and no one is enjoying Sewell’s success more than Woody.
“He’s a really pleasant surprise,” Woody said. “I talk to him every day. He smiles and says, ‘Coach, I’m just having fun.’ ”
SKUNKED: Both of Carson’s victories have been shutouts.
“We need to find a medium somewhere to get a win against a good, quality team,” Woody said.
Coach Ron Massey will win his 100th game at A.L. Brown if the Wonders beat Kings Mountain at home tomorrow night.
This is Massey’s 10th season in Kannapolis. Massey (99-28) has won 78 percent of the time and would be the school’s third head coach to log 100 wins.
Teams coached by Bruce Hardin (121-24) won 83 percent of the time, while teams coached by Bob Boswell (102-38-1) won 73 percent of their outings.
The Wonders will be trying to go 300 games over .500 when they take on Kings Mountain. They are 465-166-19 since 1952.
A coach who often gets overlooked in Brown’s amazing football success is the late Ed Edmiston, who coached in the 1960s. His record was 64-29-13.
Davie’s foe this week, Thomasville, finds itself in new territory.
After beating Cox Mill to start the season, the Bulldogs were on a 60-1 roll. But three straight losses have left the Bulldogs 1-3. They haven’t had three losses in a season since 2004.
STEPPING UP: When starting quarterback Jacob Barber became a little woozy at halftime of Davie’s 26-7 win against Providence Day, Carson Herndon took advantage of his playing time, going 5-of-9 for 94 yards, including a 48-yarder to Joe Watson.
“Bless his heart, he’s hung in there, waiting for his opportunity,” coach Doug Illing said. “He came in and did a really nice job.”
GO, JOE: Watson already holds two school receiving marks, despite being only a junior. He has 1,191 yards, 99 more than Kenny Rivers. He also has 14 touchdown catches, nudging aside Rivers and Josh Eder.
OOPS: Skeeter Montgomery had a 100-yard rushing game in the books before his final carry, a 7-yard loss.
JUST FOR KICKS: Woody Parrish was 4-for-4 two weeks ago but didn’t play last Friday because of a soccer game. So Matt Cusack, a star wrestler stepped in against Providence Day and kicked two PATS.
Mike London, Bret Strelow, Ronnie Gallagher, Paul Hershey and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.