Gallagher column: Ronnie’s roaming the county
If Carson one day turns into a football power, coach Mark Woody will point to Sept. 18, 2009 as the date everything changed.
That was last Friday night for those with no calendar in front of them. Carson plastered Robinson 42-12, giving its fans the best performance of the school’s four-year existence.
The Cougars, many of whom started on the varsity as freshmen, came of age.
“You can’t beat experience,” defensive backs coach Jim Grkman said.
His son, Zack, proved that. A defining moment came when first-year player Derrick Sewell ran up to the line, picked off a screen pass and ran it in for a score.
Grkman, a four-year starter, actually informed Sewell just before the play to watch for the bubble screen.
Sewell did and benefited from the advice.
Carson assistant Travis Billings, a former South Rowan star who helps guide this defense of suddenly hard hitters, added, “We’re starting to develop a little swagger, a little intensity. We’re flying to the football, and I like that. You can make up for a lot of mistakes with an attitude like that.”
While the big game in the county this week is, of course, South Rowan (4-1) traveling to West Rowan (5-0), it’s hard to ignore the fact that Carson has a winning record after five games. That’s why the biggest game in its history is tonight at Statesville.
Win it and people will agree that the Cougars are for real. Lose it and they’ll have to regain the trust of their fans.
It’s hard to forget the atmosphere in China Grove last Friday night. A winning aura was in the air.
“There was something different about that night,” Carson quarterback Zack Gragg said.
Woody said he was talking to the coaches over the weekend and told them, “We’ve got ’em. Right now, they believe.”
On Monday, Woody gathered the team for his weekly highlight film. The players roared with delight watching Caleb Srackangast wipe out a Bulldog. They roared with laughter when defensive star Jacorian Brown was knocked on his rump. Brown was enjoying it as much as anyone.
Then, they went out to prepare for Statesville.
“We’re approaching it as if we’re 0-0,” Woody said. “We need to win this week.”
The look on Woody’s face after the Robinson win was priceless. Carson’s uniforms have always been impressive. Finally, the players inside those uniforms were, too.
As Gragg said, “We’re tired of being known as a bum around the county. It’s time to win some ballgames.”
One person who has noticed this blue and orange resurgence is Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan, who handed Carson a 50-6 loss before Woody’s boys won two straight.
“If I had them on the schedule now, I’d be more concerned than when we played them a couple of weeks ago,” Pinyan said. “Carson’s good enough to beat a lot of people.”
What does Pinyan think of the South-West matchup? The Hornets (3-2) lost against both teams: 38-20 to South and 14-7 to West.
“South hung it on us,” Pinyan said. “They’re a team that can explode at any time.
“West ó I have no answer for them. I don’t think you can put into words how good they are.”
I found a paper from Sept. 14, 2006 when a freshman named K.P. Parks was a Friday Night Hero for the first time in his career.
He got the award after rushing six times for 149 yards in a 56-0 win against South. After three games, Parks had 388 yards to lead the county in rushing.
Only 388? That’s a paltry number compared to what he has become.
Led by Cadarreus Mason, South’s defense is one of the best Parks will see all season.
K.P., meet Cadarreus.
Cadarreus, meet K.P.
Let’s get ready to rumble.
Like Carson, East Rowan (4-1) is another team that needs to win to get some credibility. West Iredell comes in, and East fans will pack those stands and make some noise. This is the first time they’ve seen their beloved Mustangs in three weeks.
Salisbury plays host to a hot Davie County team. Can city speed beat country muscle?
And North is traveling to South Stanly for its first 1A game ever.
It doesn’t get any easier for Robinson. It faces A.L. Brown at home as Ron Massey goes for win No. 101 as the Wonders’ coach.
On the air tonight …
– On the WSTP 1490-AM Platt-form tonight are Hall of Famer Howard Platt and longtime sidekick Wilson “Don’t Call me Wild” Cherry. They’ll be at West for the biggie.
So will Carl Ford, the Commissioner of High School Football. He and The Coach, Bob Parker, will call the game for the fans on the southern end of the county on WRNA 1140-AM.
– Mark, Johnny and the boys will present their weekly show of scores, updates and radio cut-ins on WSAT 1280-AM.
There’s some really good games out there tonight, folks. Go watch one of them.
And be nice.
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