Huffman column: Offensive line a part of Parks’ story

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 4, 2009

MOUNT ULLA ó This morning, as he does every Saturday during football season, Timmy Pangburn will climb out of bed, fetch the newspaper, then turn to the sports section to read about his friend and teammate, K.P. Parks.
Parks, the leading rusher in North Carolina prep history, carried for 292 yards and five touchdowns Friday in West Rowan’s 38-29 win over Tuscola in a 3A state semifinal.
It was pretty much a typical day at the office for Parks, who has committed to Virginia.
Pangburn, who plays left guard for West Rowan, is an important cog in the Falcons’ offensive line, one of the main reasons Parks has accomplished all he has managed.
But as Pangburn learned a long time ago, the life of an offensive lineman is one spent in relative obscurity, invisible lest he misses a block that leads to a quarterback sack or similar misfortune.
So, this morning, Pangburn will grab the paper and turn to read about everything that Parks and quarterback B.J. Sherrill accomplished Friday on a cool night near Cleveland. And as he reads, Pangburn will smile.
Jealous? Not on your life.
“Every Saturday,” said Pangburn, a friendly sort who seemed somewhat surprised that someone was interested in anything he had to say, “I open the paper and see Kevin. And it makes me feel good because, I know, that’s us.”
“Us” refers to Pangburn and the other members of West Rowan’s offensive line. In addition to Pangburn, that group includes left tackle Rodney Cline, center Armando Trujillo, right guard Charles Holloway III and right tackle Davon Quarles. Patrick Hampton and Louis Kraft are the Falcons’ tight ends.
Against Tuscola on Friday, the group couldn’t have played a lot better. They didn’t give up a quarterback sack. In addition to Parks’ 292 yards, Sherrill was 12-of-24 passing for 190 yards.
West Rowan’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, but it didn’t come easy.
“It was rough sledding early on,” said Joe Nixon, West Rowan’s offensive line coach.
He said Tuscola threw a 4-4 defense at the Falcons, a defensive scheme designed to hold Parks in check. That defense includes four down linemen with four linebackers playing almost in the line, filling the gaps.
“They committed eight or nine kids to stopping the run,” Nixon said. “They were throwing everything they had at us.”
West Rowan head coach Scott Young said much the same.
“They showed us they were going to try and stop K.P. first,” he said. “They were going to make us beat them with the pass.”
The game was anything but a runaway, but West finished with 522 yards of offense. That means a lot of holes were being opened.
“Me and these other guys in the line, we’re like family,” Pangburn said. “We got each other’s back. We’re one unit.”
There’s also a lot of friendly competition involved in what takes place on any Friday football night at West Rowan. Trujillo said all the members of the offensive line keep track of how their cohorts are doing.
“Whoever gets beat the most, he’s the punk,” Trujillo said, laughing as he spoke.
There weren’t a lot of punks around West Rowan on Friday night.
Pangburn, who’s listed on the Falcon roster as 6-foot-1 and 305 pounds, is a senior, meaning he’s played his last home game. He’s pretty certain this won’t be his last season of organized football.
Pangburn said he’s talking to a bevy of college recruiters, waiting to see where his fortunes lie. Among the schools he’s considering (and vice versa) are Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Catawba and UNC Pembroke.
“I’d like to play Division I,” Pangburn said. “But anywhere I can go and get my education paid for, that’d be great.”