Prep Football Notebook: Week 9
From staff reports
Prior to the arrival of West Rowan’s K.P. Parks, only Wade Moore had recorded 2,000 yards rushing in a single season in Rowan County.
West’s Moore did it with the aid of a nice playoff run in 2005.
Parks now has three 2,000-yard regular seasons in a row to his credit.
He picked up 257 yards on 21 carries in a 55-12 rout of Statesville on Friday and now has 2,165 yards this season. He’s well ahead of last year’s pace. He had 1,640 yards through nine games last season, on his way to a county-record 2,864.
The county record for a regular season is Parks’ 2,351 yards in 2007, but that’s breakable this week.
Career-wise, Parks’ staggering totals are 1,194 carries for 9,266 yards. He’s scored 130 touchdowns, including 126 by rushing.
Something else for opposing defenses to think about?
For the first time this season, QB B.J. Sherrill threw passes to both Parks and fullback Coleman Phifer on Friday.
“I enjoyed it,” Parks said. “It was something we spent time working on during the week.”
KRAFTY YOUNGSTER: Big sophomore tight end Louis Kraft made his first catch of the season and dragged defenders for half the 26 yards he gained on the play.
Kraft is the son of Skip Kraft, former West baseball coach.
SAY WHAT?: Sherrill had 202 passing yards despite having one big connection with tight end Patrick Hampton called back.
Sherrill was ruled to have passed the line of scrimmage before he threw, but that verdict appeared questionable.
SPREAD IT AROUND: Special Senior Night lineups have been a staple for local high school basketball programs for many years, but West’s Senior Night football lineup was a new wrinkle.
Some guys who aren’t household names impacted the scoresheet. Will Holloway, a backup DB, made a tackle for loss.
Backup junior defensive linemen Justin Teeter (fumble recovery) and Tim Jancic (tackle for loss) got involved in a 55-12 romp, and sophomore linebacker Christian Hedrick had a tackle for loss.
Familiar faces also made noise as Mackel Gaither produced a sack, Domonique Noble made a juggling interception, Eli Goodson created havoc in the middle and linebacker Josh Poe blew up two plays behind the line of scrimmage.
RECOVERY: West senior defensive standout Chris Smith fell on a fumble after a wild scramble.
“A pitch kind of hit No. 20 (Keyon Harris) in the chest and then the ball took sort of a mysterious bounce right to me,” Smith said. “That was a fun play because I’ve known Keyon since we were young.”
South Rowan accumulated a staggering 15 penalties in the second half of a 35-6 win against West Iredell that began on Friday and ended Saturday following a power failure.
“We run at practice to pay for penalties,” South coach Jason Rollins said. “This time we may have the coaches running.”
Many of the penalties were obvious for illegal blocks. Some were for breakdowns in composure. Some were harder to spot.
“When you’re on the road, you’re winning and the flags start flying, you wonder if they’re trying to take the game away from you and you can get frustrated,” South linebacker Jacob Nance said.
South DB Quan Glaspy lost a nice sideline interception due to a roughing-the-passer penalty.
BIG BOYS: South interior defensive linemen Justin Hall and Zach Howell had strong games and held West Iredell’s running attack to 67 yards on 34 attempts.
“Zach and Justin were great at keeping their blockers off us,” linebacker John Davis said. “There was one play I couldn’t even find the ball because Zach had just completely covered up the ballcarrier. I was like, ‘Oh, there it is.’ ”
West Iredell coach Mark Weycker acknowledged it wasn’t easy to run on the Raiders.
“We really didn’t move the ball,” he said. “Except for all the penalties.”
GREAT OUTING: South senior back D’Andre Harris rushed for 111 yards on 11 carries, caught two passes for 44 yards and threw the key block that sprung Thomas Lowe on an 81-yard gallop.
LOWER THE BOOM: It was a big game for Lowe, who scored two touchdowns and also topped 100 yards rushing for the third time this season and 15th of his career.
He has history with West Iredell, including a 248-yard rushing game against the Warriors when he was an East Rowan sophomore.
He also had 124 yards rushing against West Iredell as an East junior.
“That West Iredell game was the last game I played last year so playing against them again kind of closes the book for me on some things,” Lowe said. “I thought I would score on that long run (81 yards), but the closer I got to the end zone the more it seemed like the end zone was moving in the other direction.”
Lowe was dragged down on the 2 but scored on the next play.
Cougar head coach Mark Woody acknowledges there aren’t that many big kids walking the halls at his school.
So when he saw a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder lumbering around last year, he went straight to him.
The owner of that big body was Daniel Rodriguez, and he was just a freshman.
“When you see a kid like that, who’s not really fat, you figure out he’s got to be on the field,” Woody said. “I talked to him all winter.”
Rodriguez was slated to be a jayvee player, but Woody moved him up to varsity.
“We couldn’t block him on jayvee,” Woody chuckled.
Now, Rodriguez is a mainstay on a young defensive line that thwarted North Iredell’s running game in a 41-7 Homecoming victory on Friday.
Rodriguez, Ryan Shoaf, Micah Honeycutt, Garrett Smith and Jacorian Brown are all underclassmen. Rodriguez has made his coach proud.
“He’s worked hard with his dad and he has a good work ethic,” Woody said. “He’s just now learning what it’s all about. He’s powerful and he moves well.”
NICE ODDS: North Iredell coach Shannon Ashley said his team’s priority was stopping Carson’s star runner Shaun Warren.
The Raiders did that ó sort of.
Warren had 27 carries and was held to 54 yards on 24 of them. But the other three netted 25, 27 and finally, a 72-yard sprint for Carson’s final points.
Woody didn’t shy away from handing the ball to Warren, despite the good play from North Iredell’s defensive line.
“You give him enough touches and good things are going to happen,” Woody said. “The odds are with you. That’s kinda how we look at it.”
Warren has rushed a county-high 237 times for 1,558 yards this season.
Yes, the Cougar workhorse has carried even more often than West’s Parks.
ZACK ATTACK: When the run was bottled up, Woody had no problem turning to the county’s second-rated passer in Zack Gragg.
“It’s comforting to know when they have nine in the box, you can throw the ball,” Woody said. “Zack will hurt you with his arm and our receivers will hurt you.”
GOOD HANDS PEOPLE: Among those receivers are, of course, Cody Clanton, who leads the county with eight touchdown catches. But Carson coaches say don’t forget about tight end Dylan Eagle and wideout Zach Smith.
“Cody is a big-play guy,” Woody said. “Eagle is a traditional tight end who blocks real well in play-action. Zach blocks well on the edge, which I really like. He has also made some big catches for us the past two weeks.”
Against North Iredell, the three made Woody look good. Clanton hauled in two scoring tosses from Gragg, while Eagle and Smith had two receptions apiece.
Darien Rankin continues to amaze Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan.
Two defensive plays in the Hornets’ 41-21 victory against Central Davidson had Pinyan shaking his head.
Rankin laid out to deflect a pass intended for a wide-open Central receiver.
On another play, a block knocked Rankin out of position.
“There’s no way he should have be in on the tackle,” Pinyan said.
As Rankin was going to the ground, he reached through the legs of the Central blocker and tripped up the ballcarrier.
“He’s one of the most amazing athletes that’s ever come through here,” Pinyan said.
HONOR ROLL: Ike Whitaker (offense), Linares Pagan (defense) and Chris Bruce (special teams) were Salisbury’s players of the week.
The winners get to wear a red jersey with a gold “No. 1” on the front during the next week of practice.
“We could just about put the red shirts on some of these guys and leave them in their lockers,” Pinyan said. “Turn them in, let us wash them and we’ll give them back to you.”
Whitaker, a fullback, rushed 13 times for 69 yards and one touchdown. His blocking was of equal or more importance.
LINE STANCE: Quarterback John Knox (hip injury) left the game for good in the first half and running back Romar Morris played only about two quarters, but the Hornets still rushed for 329 yards.
Pinyan praised the work of an offensive line with four seniors: center Ronald Phillips, left guard Phillip Ledbetter, right tackle Stephen Dale and left tackle Norris Rankin. The right guard is junior Vernie Clement.
Rankin, who weighs 165 pounds, recently moved to tackle. Clement is 5-foot-6, and Dale is 5-9.
“Our offensive line is starting to play pretty well for a bunch of guys who I don’t know a lot of schools that would pick them to be their offensive linemen,” Pinyan said. “They’re not super huge, but they’re little guys that fly around and put a hat on somebody.”
Pinyan said Knox should be available to play Friday against Lexington.
East has had some pretty good running quarterbacks, but junior Jamey Blalock is the first to top 500 rushing yards in a season in the past 25 years. He has 505.
Drew Davis had 469 yards in 2001, while Shawn Eagle rushed for 481 in 2007.
Blalock’s 152 rushing yards in a recent 31-27 win against Statesville were the most in a single game by a Mustang QB in decades.
Davis rushed for 140 yards against Harding in 2000, while Eagle rushed for 143 against South in 2007.
MAYDAY: East kicker Andrew May hurt a knee and missed the Mustangs’ soccer game on Saturday.
If he’s out of action for Friday’s football game against West Rowan it would be a big blow to the Mustangs. He’s been a difference-maker.
There is some good news for East. May was back in action on Wednesday night against West in soccer.
It would be expensive, but North should hire extra-loud ring announcer Michael Buffer for a “Let’s get ready to fum-ble!” introduction prior to every home game.
North junior Javon Hargrave has an amazing eight defensive fumble recoveries, a total which appears to be a school and county record.
A search of the records didn’t reveal any individuals with more than six recoveries in a season. The list of those with six includes Brent Chambers (North, 1978), Tim Pless (West, 1978), L.C. Lynch (West, 1980), Todd Wyrick (East, 1980), Marty Forney (East, 1985), Greg Jones (East, 1986), Ken Drye (Salisbury, 1998), Sa’D Thompson (North, 2005) and Tristan Dorty (West, 2006).
FRESH FACE: One of the county’s top freshmen is running back Malik Jones, who has picked up 145 yards in four varsity games.
North now has five backs with more than 100 rushing yards in Cameron Mallett (372), Vince Shropshire (365), Jones, Darrius Jackson (144) and Terry Allen (101).
No one can blame the defense for the War Eagles’ 13-7 overtime loss to rival West Forsyth.
Jared Barber had 14 tackles and a 63-yard interception return. Matt Speer and Anthony Ressa each posted double-figure tackles. Zach Long had two interceptions.
QB OUT: Quarterback Jacob Barber missed the West Forsyth game with a concussion. He also missed the opener against Alexander Central.
Without him, Davie has scored seven points in those two games.
Barber is doubtful for this week when the War Eagles try for their first CPC victory.
THIS WEEK: Davie has its work cut out when it travels to Mount Tabor (5-3, 1-1) on Friday. At 3-5, a winning season probably is on the line for Davie, which hasn’t had a losing season since 2000.
There have been some bitter memories for Davie against Tabor. The War Eagles have lost five straight to the Spartans.
“The encouraging thing I have to keep telling our kids is we’re so close,” coach Doug Illing said. “We’re so close to being really good. We’ve just got to keep practicing and get these mistakes taken care of. We’re in the games.”
Secret recipe for Brown’s success?
In a word ó turnovers.
There are an awful lot of numbers on a stat sheet, but turnovers are still the most important.
Brown lost the turnover battle against South Rowan 4-3. That 21-19 loss remains the Wonders’ lone setback.
In their seven victories, the Wonders have won the turnover battle every time. They’ve turned the ball over six times in those games while taking it away 22.
The past five games, they’ve forced 18 turnovers, at least three in each game.
The other thing is that when a Wonder defensive player gets his hands on the ball he plans to score. The Wonders have four interception returns for TDs this season, including two by Jaques Deese.
NOT MUCH RESPECT: While the Wonders didn’t play all that well in last week’s 28-7 SPC win against Mount Pleasant, it’s still hard to believe they aren’t in the AP’s top 10 in 3A.
They’re 7-1 and they did play in the 3AA title game last season.
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London, Bret Strelow and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.