• 63°

Friday Night Hero: Carson’s Garrett Smith

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó Carson’s 14-13 victory at Ledford was the best win in school history, topping even last year’s amazing triumph at Lake Norman.
It was the playoff debut for the Cougars. Beyond that, it was the first time in program history that Carson came out on top in a physical, defensive struggle.
In the school’s previous nine wins, the Cougars won with offense, lighting up the scoreboard for 31 or more points.
This time points were tough to come by. Their workhorse went down early. The passing game was limited to 82 yards by awful conditions. People had to play out of position. Carson still found a way to claim a landmark win.”Ledford attacked every position, every kid we had out there,” assistant coach Travis Billings said. “Ledford tried very hard to make it happen, tried to find that weak link in our defense. Every kid we had out there had to do something.”
Garrett Smith, a 5-foot-8, 195-pound junior defensive lineman, was a link in a chain that refused to break, and he will never forget it.
“It was muddy, really muddy out there,” Smith said. “Offense stepped up when it had to. Defense stepped up when it had to.”
Tailback Shaun Warren has rushed for 1,852 yards out of Carson’s I-formation this season. His night ended with an ankle injury on Carson’s fourth snap.
“That cut our playbook way down, probably by half,” offensive line coach Brian Billings said.
Carson’s second-best tailback option is Jacorian Brown, a stud at defensive end. Head coach Mark Woody had little choice but to move Brown to offense. He joined fullback Cliff Long in the backfield.
Long scored two TDs. Reid Lippard kicked two PATS. The Cougars led 14-0.
Brown never found the end zone, but he found plenty of Ledford defenders to smash into. He ignored holes, preferring to collide with Panthers. He had a ball.
“It was fun watching Jacorian run the ball again,” Smith said. “He was bowling people over.”
Ledford scored with a trick formation late in the first half to make it 14-7. The Panthers tallied again with 9:48 remaining. It was 14-13, but the tying PAT failed.
“It’s not like their kid just missed it,” Travis Billings said. “We got pressure on him, had guys in his face.”
With a one-point lead, the last nine minutes seemed to last nine days.
“We made first downs on offense, changed field position some, kept them looking at long fields,” Billings said. “For the most part, we stopped ’em, but it was tie a knot at the end of a rope and try to hang on.”
Smith’s versatility helped. When Brown moved to offense, Smith shifted from his normal position as a defensive tackle to replace Brown at end.
“Smith is tough enough to play inside, quick enough to play outside,” Billings said.
Smith finished the night with 10 tackles. Each of them was important.
“Smith is football smart, stays low and stays in control, even on a mud field like we had Friday,” defensive line coach Jason Stanley said. “He’s quiet, but he shows up to play. He’ll lay a lick.”
Ledford had to throw late, great news for Smith and his fellow linemen. They finally could disregard the run and get after the QB.
“The play I’ll remember is the last one,” Smith said. “Incomplete pass. It was a great feeling when it fell.”
And after that last pass.
“I just walked off that field,” Smith said. “Then I started crying.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Local student surprised with horse-drawn ride home from school

Local

Pedestrian hospitalized after being struck by police car

Local

Torch Run returns to Rowan streets, raises money for Special Olympics

Crime

Fish arcade company drops suit against Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration