3A State Championship: Young finishes up a busy week

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2009

RALEIGH ó For a solid week, Scott Young’s mouth has been going a mile a minute.
He was on the phone talking to a cheerleader mom. That was after he had secured charter buses.
He made sure he was as loyal as he could be when it came to sideline passes for the people who had helped him all season.
He planned wake-up calls and breakfast for today.
He even made time to coach his football team.
Welcome to State Championship Week for a high school football coach.
At least, Young knows the routine. This is the second straight season his Falcons have made the 3A state title game. Today, West Rowan (15-0) faces Eastern Alamance (14-1) at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. West will be going for its 30th consecutive victory and title No. 2.
Game time is 11:30 a.m.
Young, in his 12th year at the helm, is a long way from that 3-8 debacle back in 1998, his first season as a head coach. Undaunted, he kept a stiff upper lip and never wavered from his dream: building a state championship program.
“I’m still numb. I’m still excited,” Young said on Monday as he was being interviewed by WSOC-TV in Charlotte.

As soon as West beat Tuscola in the Western final, last Friday, Young knew it would be a hectic week preparing for today. He took on every challenge. He knew he couldn’t please everyone, but he certainly gave it his best effort.
Monday was the only day he could sit back and enjoy what was happening to his team.
He joined 15 other coaches at a press conference in Raleigh who are in his shoes ó coaching a championship game.
“When you come to this thing, it really puts it into perspective,” he said. “It’s like when Independence made its run. It’s a great feeling.”
One TV station after another grabbed Young for an interview. They all asked the same thing: Why is K.P. Parks so good?
“Durability and longevity. Those are two words you think about when you think of K.P.,” Young told the men behind the cameras. “He’s always steady. You know what you’re going to get.”
What will West’s team get today?
“It’s the opposite of last year,” Young said. “West Craven was 15-0 and we were 14-1. It was our first time. Now, we’re 15-0, Eastern Alamance is 14-1 and it’s their first time. And they’re a very good football team on top of that.”
Young added, “We were just so fortunate to make it here last year. If a coach says, ‘been there, done that,’ he’s lying. It’s just as exciting as it was last year.”
He looked around the spacious Vaughn Towers at Carter-Finley Stadium and smiled.
“This is a highlight for a coach,” he said of having the chance to showcase his program and players. “It’s why we do what we do.”

This is the second straight early start, but Young said it is much different from last year’s noon start in Winston-Salem.
“The only problem with that is, that was an hour from home. This is 2 hours, 15 minutes. It’s going to push us to get in bed earlier on Friday night.”
Young said the wake-up call for the Falcons is 6 a.m. Breakfast will go for 40 minutes and the team is expected to be on the road at 7 a.m.
Young hopes the Falcons get to Carter-Finley at 9:30, have defensive and offensive meetings, then walk the field.

Of the 16 teams in the state title games, the nickname “Bulldogs” is the most popular. There are three teams bearing that logo.
Trojans are next with two.
Just for the record, there are also the Granite Bears, Stallions, Cougars, Vikings, Rams, Eagles, Red Raiders, Buccaneers and Rockets.

Parks is the leading rusher this weekend. Mountain Heritage’s Casey Randolph is next with 2,749.

The luckiest teams to be playing?
– Asheville Reynolds won its last two playoff games by baseball scores of 9-7 and 9-8.
– South Johnston is 14-1 but won eight games by a touchdown or less.

Eastern Alamance is one of four first-time teams in the state title games. Mountain Heritage, Butler and South Johnston are getting their initial experience.

Today’s game doesn’t mean the end to West Rowan’s season.
Young, Parks and Arkansas-bound Chris Smith will be playing in the Shrine Bowl on Dec. 19 in Spartanburg, S.C. The game will be held at Wofford College.