Prep Football Notebook: Week 6
From staff reports
West Rowan’s K.P. Parks should breeze to another state record on Friday when the Falcons play at West Iredell.
Parks needs 13 carries to set the state mark for career rushing attempts. He averages 26 tries per game.
Anthony Saunders currently holds the state record with 1,132 attempts.
Saunders played high school ball at both Asheboro and Western Guilford. A 6-foot-1, 225-pound bruiser, he was the MVP of the 1996 Shrine Bowl and went on to play at North Carolina.
Parks has 8,435 rushing yards in his career (fourth in state history) and has scored 118 touchdowns (third in state history).
Parks pounded out 167 yards on 29 carries in a 28-0 victory against South Rowan and scored three times.
THIRD DROWN: West had nearly concluded practice Monday when it began pouring. The Falcons managed to run a few more plays before the rain started descending sideways.
“The defensive coaches were whining because they were getting wet,” West coach Scott Young said. “But it was blowing right in the offense’s faces.”
Falcons finally sprinted for the safety of the locker room, but not before they were soaked to the skin.
“It was top five for the wettest I’ve ever been without being in a pool or the ocean,” Young said.
CROSS TRAINING: West junior cornerback Domonique Noble is one of a host of Falcons who play both football and basketball.
“I’ve got some love for both sports,” Noble said. “I’m blessed that people have started to look at me some in football because those schools came to see the older guys like Chris (Smith) and K.P.”
Said Smith, “Domonique is a really smart student and a smart player.”
FIRST COUSINS: Noble and quarterback B.J. Sherrill, sophomore starters on the 2008 state championship team, are first cousins.
Their mothers are sisters. Former Dunbar Tiger John Noble is their grandfather.
“B.J. and I are like this,” said Noble, holding his left thumb and forefinger a half-inch apart. “We grew up playing in the backyard, always on the same team. He was always the quarterback and I was the receiver, although it hasn’t worked out that way yet in high school. Maybe next year.”
Noble could see some time as a receiver next season after the Falcons lose Jon Crucitti and KaJuan Phillips.
INSPIRATION: Noble gets a lot of inspiration from his older brother John, a 5-foot-10 former West offensive lineman who is now on the football team at Virginia Union.
“John is undersized and he’s had a knee injury, but he works so hard he’s gotten the coaches’ attention and is starting to get some time,” Domonique said. “I want to be known as having the same kind of work ethic my brother has.”
PASSING WIZARD: Sherrill threw for 158 yards on Friday and now has 2,385 yards passing for his career.
MILESTONE: Crucitti, playing his second season at West, surpassed 1,000 career receiving yards Friday. He has 57 catches for 1,024 yards and eight TDs.
Lamont Savage, Horatio Everhart, Donald Gray, Brantley Horton and Chavis Cowan are the only other Falcons to top 1,000 yards.
Crucitti is the 28th player in modern county history to reach the milestone.
Fans in Spencer were elated that the Cavaliers ended a long, on-field losing streak when they rallied to beat South Stanly 16-14.
Coaches around the county were just as happy for one of their own: North coach Tasker Fleming.
“I was fired up,” Catawba coach Chip Hester said. “As a coach, you know how much they’re putting into it.”
West’s Young echoed those sentiments.
“I’m happy for them,” said Young, whose West team is on the other end of the spectrum with a 6-0 record. “That was long coming to get one on the field. I’m glad to see it for Coach Fleming and that program.”
Said East’s Brian Hinson, a former North assistant: “It was good for them. Those kids needed that. Tasker’s had a pretty tough nonconference schedule. He’s done a good job getting those kids ready. I think they’re going to have a lot of success in that league.”
The 1A Yadkin Valley standings look pretty good to the people in green going into Friday’s game at East Montgomery. The Cavs are tied for first with Albemarle, East Montgomery and West Montgomery at 1-0.
The losing streak on the field had reached 16.
“When you have momentum going against you, it’s hard to break it,” Hester said. “So you feel so good for those coaches and those young men. It’s good to see them break through.”
Shaun Warren broke his own school record by rushing for 250 yards in Carson’s 40-14 win against Statesville. He had 200 yards against North Rowan four weeks earlier.
Warren enters Friday’s game against East Rowan with 996 yards in six contests. He totaled a school-record 1,079 yards last season.
Carson set a school mark for points in a 42-12 win against Robinson, and the victory over Statesville was the Cougars’ third in a row.
“The coaches know ó you don’t really advertise or talk about it ó but there’s some things we’ve done the last couple weeks that we’ve never done,” Carson coach Mark Woody said.
RUSH TO JUDGMENT: Warren, Clifford Long (10 carries for 82 yards) and Jacorian Brown (six for 51) were the primary backs as Carson rushed for a school-record 399 yards against Statesville. The previous mark was 280 in this year’s North Rowan game.
Woody praised the work of an offensive line featuring Justice Schenck (tackle), Mitch Galloway (tackle), Kaleb Denton (guard), Colton Ballard (guard) and Tyler Christy (center).
“They are getting after it,” Woody said. “That’s been the big difference for us offensively.”
Long, a fullback who also contributes at times as a tailback, has gained 149 yards on 20 carries in Carson’s last three games. Brown’s recent move to defensive end has increased Long’s responsibilities.
“We haven’t missed a beat, and that’s really made a difference,” Woody said. “He had a good game blocking and running. That’s what makes things fun, when you’ve got kids that are stepping up and making plays when you have to.”
KICK STARTER: Caleb Lippard successfully kicked an extra point after each of Carson’s first three touchdowns last Friday, and the Cougars were 4-for-6 on PATs.
Lippard, once a soccer player, joined Carson’s football team after its third game. He is a junior.
“He works at it, so I think he’ll be able to help us,” Woody said.
Chris Barnhardt, a 240-pound linebacker, had been handling most of the kicking duties.
GETTING STINGY: The Cougars have outscored their opponents 115-26 during the three-game winning streak, and two of the four touchdowns against them came in the fourth quarter.
Derrick Sewell and Jared Raper intercepted passes against Statesville, and Jenson Harden recovered a fumble.
Zack Grkman went down early in the Statesville game with an injury, and Raper moved from cornerback to safety.
“We didn’t bat an eye,” Woody said. “We just kept clicking.”
Andrew May’s field goal on the last play beat West Iredell, but Hinson would rather talk about his punting.
“They had Mr. Clyburn back there returning kicks,” Hinson said.
“Mr. Clyburn” is P.J. Clyburn, a highly recruited speedster who had already run several kicks back for touchdowns.
Hinson told his specialists beforehand that the kicking game would be directional.
That meant kicking the ball where Clyburn wasn’t.
“Every time he touches the ball, it could be electric,” Hinson said. “In my opinion, you’ll see him playing on Sunday. He’s pretty special.”
So, how did May do? He averaged 35 yards per punt.
How did Clyburn do?
Zero return yards, according to Hinson.
“May did a great job,” Hinson said.
So did Taylor Owen, a senior who pooched his kickoffs. Together, he and May kept Clyburn in check. And it’s a good thing.
“If he would have taken the ball on a punt or kickoff, our kicker would’ve been fired,” Hinson joked.
HURT: East won despite losing one of its best players in the first quarter.
Linebacker Jordan Hopper took a helmet to the shin. Hinson thought it could have been a fracture, but Hopper came back with good news Monday. It’s just a bone bruise.
“We’ll take it easy on him this week,” Hinson said, hoping his star junior can play in a big NPC matchup at Carson on Friday.
Hinson said Jacob Byrd came in to replace Hopper and played well.
“Byrd stepped up for us,” Hinson said.
Linebacker Cadarreus Mason provided one of the few highlights for the Raiders when he knocked the ball loose from West Rowan’s Parks and also recovered the fumble.
“Cadarreus is tough,” Parks said. “That’s a very powerful kid.”
OUCH! South was held to 28 rushing yards by West, the fewest ground yards for the Raiders since they managed 27 in a 28-7 loss against Northwest Cabarrus in the third game of the 2006 season.
South has been held below 100 yards rushing by West in each of the last six meetings.
Believe it or not, South rushed for 381 yards against the Falcons during a 42-39 loss in 2003. Darius Beaty and Antonio McDaniel ó whose brother, Mark, is a current South cornerback ó were the last Raiders to rush for 100 yards against West. McDaniel had 171 and Beaty 100 in that wild game, and QB Hoke Shirley added 81.
THE CHASE: Senior wideout B.J. Grant was limited to one catch by West, but he raised his career total to 1,226 receiving yards, tops in the county among active players.
The school record for receiving yards is Adrian Parker’s 1,493.
John Knox sat out the first half of Salisbury’s 10-7 loss to Davie County on Friday when coach Joe Pinyan realized his quarterback was only 75 percent healthy from a sprained ankle suffered a week earlier.
Linebacker Linares Pagan started. On his first carry, he had a 10-yard run.
Pinyan said he was thinking, “We’re going to be OK.”
But two things forced Knox into the game in the second half: The Hornets needed Pagan more on defense, and the Hornets needed to keep their defense off the field.
Salisbury ran just 13 plays in the first 24 minutes.
“Linares was playing offense and defense, and he was getting tired,” Pinyan said. “We switched to John to get a little bit better play with our defense.”
TURNAROUND: Knox led a scoring drive in the second half and marched Salisbury downfield in the waning seconds, but its field goal to tie the score with 1:14 left was blocked.
Expect Knox back under center in two weeks when Salisbury travels to rival West Davidson.
Salisbury has an open date Friday.
“The time off will get him better,” Pinyan said.
SIMONS SAYS: Pinyan also had to find someone to carry out Knox’s punting duties.
“David Simons did a great job filling in,” Pinyan said.
KICKING THEMSELVES: Pinyan still looks at mistakes in the kicking game as one of the main reasons his team is 3-3.
Not only was a field goal blocked against Davie, but the War Eagles also blocked a punt.
Davie’s field goal came after a running into the kicker penalty against Salisbury.
BRIGHT SPOTS: The Hornet secondary kept Davie’s star receiver Joe Watson out of the end zone.
“Our secondary did a good job on him,” Pinyan said. “He’s dangerous.”
Pinyan also praised the play of linebacker Chris Bruce. He had to play some on the defensive line in the first half, and it paid off with eight tackles before halftime.
GOOD BLOCKING: Ike Whitaker scored Salisbury’s only touchdown on a trap play.
“That’s a tribute to those two guards, Vernie Clement and Phillip Ledbetter,” Pinyan said. “They got him a big hole.”
Pinyan also praised the blocking of tight end Riley Gallagher and backs Dominique Dismuke and Dujuon Jones.
WE WIN? Pinyan thought the Hornets had won the game when Romar Morris broke free on a long run in the fourth quarter. It was cut short when he fell after 24 yards.
“He kinda got a cleat caught on somebody’s cleat or something,” Pinyan said. “He stumbled for just a second. If he doesn’t, he’s gone.
“Romar ran the best he ever has between the tackles, but he was just tripped up on that one.”
UPBEAT: Pinyan remained upbeat despite a 3-3 record. He points out that the Hornets lost to the top-ranked 3A team in the state, West Rowan, by seven and to a very good 4A team, Davie, by three.
“What we have to do now is take these efforts and continue to get better,” Pinyan said. “Maybe by the end of the season people will say we’re pretty good.”
The numbers game has worked against Salisbury in three losses, including the one to South Rowan in the season opener.
“Davie probably had more players on the sidelines than we do,” Pinyan said.
Justin Miller was a Friday night hero for the War Eagles. He preserved the 10-7 win against Salisbury by blocking Paul Kollie’s tying field-goal attempt with 1:14 left.
He came right up the middle.
“Chase (Sampson) grabbed a guy and pulled him his way, and I just shot through the line,” Miller said. “When I came through the line, I made sure the ball was on the tee. So I stood up and put my arms straight up in the air. I told Chase we were going to blow it up, and that’s what happened. That’s the first one I’ve ever blocked.”
The snuff preserved Davie’s third straight victory after opening the season 0-3.
NO. 100: Miller’s kick also helped give Doug Illing his 100th career victory as a head coach. He is 100-44, and he has a third of Davie’s all-time wins. The War Eagles are 310-256-15 over 54 years.
“I’ve got a great group of coaches, and some of them have been with me all 12 years,” Illing said. “They’ve got as much ownership in it as I do. It’s a tribute to our players who have bought into our system.
“It’s not Doug Illing. It’s our community and our high school.”
DEJA VU: Davie has almost made people forget the 0-3 start. It’s nothing new for Illing. This isn’t the first time he has reversed a crisis:
– The 2003 War Eagles followed a four-game losing streak with a five-game winning streak.
– The 2007 War Eagles followed a three-game slide with a three-game rise.
Junior Travis Riley has been a horse for the Wonders with 740 rushing yards and 13 TDs, but he’s been ill this week.
He was out of practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
A.L. Brown plays host to Central Cabarrus on Friday as coach Ron Massey goes for career win No. 102.
Mike London, Ronnie Gallagher, Bret Strelow and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.