Prep Football: West Rowan 69, Carson 14
By Bret Strelow
MOUNT ULLA ó West Rowan was well on its way to a memorable homecoming victory even before K.P. Parks set the county’s single-game rushing record.
The Falcons matched the program mark for points in a game with a 69-14 wipeout of Carson on Friday night. Parks gained 356 yards on 24 carries, one of which came in the fourth period, and quarterback B.J. Sherrill accounted for six touchdowns.
West players assembled near midfield and dropped to one knee before the game as the school honored coach Scott Young for being named an assistant for North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team. He received his green jacket at halftime.
The first-place Falcons (8-0, 3-0 NPC) won their 32nd consecutive meeting with a county foe to tie the record set by Boyden/Salisbury during a 32-0-2 run from 1965-77.
“I’m real proud of K.P.,” Young said. “It’s something we talked about for his senior homecoming. We wanted it to be a special night for him. Not only is it a special night for him, but it’s a special night for our program.”
Parks broke the single-game record of 344 yards set by East Rowan’s Cal Hayes Jr. in 2001, and Sherrill had three short touchdown runs. He threw two touchdown passes to Jon Crucitti and one to Patrick Hampton.
Carson, which was outscored 116-0 in its first three meetings with West, quickly ruined the Falcons’ attempt to pitch a shutout for the third straight week.
Shaun Warren, who finished with 111 yards, rushed for 29 on a third-and-long carry to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game.
“We felt good about it, but we knew we couldn’t get all excited over one touchdown,” Warren said. “We knew they’d come to play.”
A poorly struck kickoff went straight up into the air, and West’s Louis Kraft made a fair catch at Carson’s 49. The Falcons, who posted 69 points last season in a shutout of East Rowan, scored four plays later on Sherrill’s 24-yard pass to Crucitti. Bertin Suarez put West ahead for good with an extra point.
The Falcons pulled in front 12-6 on Sherrill’s fourth-and-1 sneak with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter, and three touchdowns in a span of three minutes, 40 seconds broke the game open.
“They’re for real,” Carson coach Mark Woody said. “They’re the real deal. They got it going.”
A 1-yard run from Parks gave the Falcons a 20-6 advantage with 5:23 left in the first half. Suarez angled the ensuing kickoff toward his right, and the ball hugged the sideline without bouncing out of bounds.
Carson’s Duwan Robertson tried to dive on the ball but came up empty, and Eric Cowan recovered it at the 5.
“When he kicked it, it was coming to my side and I looked up at it,” Cowan said. “Once I saw nobody was going to catch it, I sped up even faster. When he couldn’t get it, I really got on my horse then.”
The Cougars (4-4, 1-2) mishandled four of the Falcons’ first five kickoffs, losing the one and maintaining possession after two other fumbles. Carson put the ball on the ground 10 times in the game.
“We made some mistakes and they capitalized,” Woody said. “That’s what good teams do. They hurt us quick, and before you know it we’re down 30 points.”
West fullback Coleman Phifer scored on a 1-yard run following Cowan’s recovery, and the Falcons regained possession when Chris Smith pressured Zack Gragg into an interception near midfield.
Trey Mashore made the pick, and Parks gained 41 yards on a first-down rush. Sherrill’s 10-yard keeper pushed the Falcons ahead 34-6 with 1:43 remaining in the quarter.
Gragg hit Cody Clanton on a slant for a 5-yard touchdown 12 seconds before halftime, but Crucitti opened the third quarter with a 56-yard kickoff return.
Sherrill found Hampton and Crucitti for scores in the first 3:07 of the half, and a 74-yard TD scamper by Parks left the Cougars facing a 55-14 deficit.
“It means the world to have a running back like K.P. Parks,” All-State offensive lineman Timmy Pangburn said. “He’s one of the best.”