Prep Football: West Rowan 55, Statesville 12
Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2009
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA ó K.P. Parks’ first pass reception of the season was noteworthy ó a 38-yard gain on which he broke a half-dozen tackles ó and he didn’t neglect his primary job as a ballcarrier in West Rowan’s 55-12 breeze past Statesville.
Parks rushed for 257 yards on 21 carries in the NPC contest and scored six TDs for the second time in his career to tie the county record. The senior also had six against Northwest Cabarrus as a sophomore.
Parks’ performance, which included a 73-yard sprint down the West sideline on his final touch with 10:51 remaining, came on Senior Night. The four-year varsity performer has been a cornerstone of teams that are 46-5.
“Senior Night, I got emotional thinking that I’m almost at the end of all of this,” Parks said. “Walking out there with my parents before the game was real emotional.”
Parks was injured in the playoffs against Statesville last season. That was also something to think about.
“I did remember it,” he said. “I thought about getting taped, but I haven’t gotten taped all year. I just went out there and played. Once it starts, you don’t think about getting hurt.”
Parks got help from a dominating offensive line and a defense that essentially shut out the Greyhounds (2-6, 0-3). Trey Mashore and Quan Cowan sparked special teams. QB B.J. Sherrill was on target whenever the Hounds threw everything they had at Parks.
Linebacker Ty Bennett stuffed Parks’ first attempt for no gain, but it didn’t take the Falcons (9-0, 4-0) long to take over. They rolled to their 24th consecutive victory.
“We started off slow because Statesville was playing this crazy defense with about 500 guys in the box ,” senior guard Timmy Pangburn said. “But then we completed some passes. That helped a lot.”
By halftime, Parks had 16 carries for 147 yards and Sherrill had thrown for 180 yards. Sherrill hit six different receivers in the first half.
“You try to stop Parks and that opens up the pass for them,” Statesville coach Randall Gusler said. “Then you back up and they’re gonna run Parks. That’s a real two-headed monster they’ve got.”
West, which has won 39 of its last 40 NPC games, got its first TD with 7:32 left in the first quarter when Parks scored on a 24-yard run. The key play was Sherrill’s completion to KaJuan Phillips on a fourth-and-7 situation that kept the drive alive.
The pass to Parks keyed a march that made it 14-0, but Statesville answered with Stephon Willis’ kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We got fussed at a little,” defensive lineman Chris Smith said. “But we’ve got great coaches. They fixed it out. It didn’t happen again.”
Parks’ 19-yard dash made it 21-6, and Sherrill hit tight ends Patrick Hampton and Louis Kraft for big gains on a drive that made it 28-6. West got a backbreaking score with 26 seconds left in the half when Phillips went high in the end zone and came down with a 16-yard toss from Sherrill.
“A play like that, you know you’re not gonna get a second chance,” Phillips said. “He was in good position, but I was able to jump a little higher.”
Phillips, a senior, didn’t play last season.
“It’s just a real special bunch of seniors, and I mean all of ’em, whether they’ve played one year or four,” West coach Scott Young said. “I thought it was a great Senior Night, but I also thought we played just all right. Too many penalties, and I don’t know that we made the positive steps that we have the last three or four weeks.”
Defensively, West was dominant, even though Statesville punched in a score with 1:14 left against reserves.
Statesville freshman QB Carlis Parker showed courage and speed, but he was crushed often trying to make plays, and Statesville backs were buried for losses nine times.
Emmanuel Gbunblee had a monster second half for West, recovering a fumble for a touchdown and producing a sack and two stops for loss.
“Statesville broke containment for their positive plays in the first half,” Young said. “Gbunblee had a bad first half, but a real good second half after we made adjustments.”