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All-County Football: The awards

It was without a doubt the toughest all-county football team to chose in Salisbury Post history.
We always go into a season with the number “30” in mind. That’s a good number to have on an all-star team that includes six schools.
This year, we kinda went over.
Whaddaya gonna do?
It was the first time in county history that every team made the playoffs. You could argue it was the most successful season of football in Rowan County history.
Think about it:
– South Rowan went from a losing record to nine wins, and the Raiders beat every county team they played except West Rowan. When the regular season ended, South was considered the county’s second-best team.
– Salisbury ended up with 10 wins and finished as one of the top four teams in the 2AA bracket, making it one step from the state final. When the playoffs ended, the Hornets were considered the second-most successful team in the county.
– East Rowan was 1-10 in 2008, and everyone would have considered three or four wins in 2009 a big improvement.
The Mustangs gave their loyal fans nine, including a playoff win.
– Carson, in only its fourth year, gave its fans seven victories, won a playoff game and could’ve beaten Cardinal Gibbons in the second round of the 3A playoffs. The Cougars led 15-6 in the fourth quarter of that one before fumbles did them in.
– North Rowan went from no wins on the field in 2008 to five this season and finished third in the Yadkin Valley Conference. State 1AA champion Albemarle had one tough game in its league: a 21-6 win against the Cavaliers.
– And then there’s that undefeated state champion over in Mount Ulla.
You’ve got to have a lot of talent to accomplish these feats. And we recognized plenty of those players. They all deserved it.

A tough decision was choosing who would win Defensive Player of the Year.
West’s Eli Goodson edged out teammate Chris Smith, last year’s winner, and Salisbury’s Darien Rankin.

No trouble picking Offensive Player of the Year: West Rowan’s K.P. Parks. Again.

Even tougher to pick was Coach of the Year. All six made a case for themselves.
Improving by eight wins at East Rowan made Brian Hinson the initial choice. But how do you not acknowledge the coach from the undefeated state title team?
So Hinson told me he had no problem sharing what he jokingly referred to as “The Scott Young Award” with Scott Young.

Speaking of awards, here are some the athletic banquets might forget:
Best Opening Night: Team-wise, South lived up to the preseason hype, beating Salisbury 38-20.
Individually, Parks lived up to the preseason hype, scoring five times in a 54-0 win against Central Cabarrus. He scored 54 more times before the season ended.
Most Important Win: North Rowan’s 16-14 victory at South Stanly broke a 16-game losing streak on the field. It was second-year coach Tasker Fleming’s first win at North.
Most Emotional Win: South’s 21-19 victory over neighbor A.L. Brown.
Which brings us to the …
Play of the Year: Against A.L. Brown, South quarterback Blake Houston rolled to the right sideline, came all the way back to the left sideline, thought about running, changed his mind and threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Grant.
Most Exciting Game: East’s 29-26 win at Carson. The teams combined for seven second-half touchdowns, six in the fourth quarter.
Most Exciting Player: While Salisbury speedster Romar Morris was always a threat to score, Parks had scoring runs of 71, 73, 74, 61, 67, 67 and 54 yards.
Stick Out Your Chest Award: On Sept. 18, five Rowan teams won by an average of 44 points. Salisbury and South both won by 51, West won by 48, Carson won by 42 and East won by 30.
Best Description: Reporter Brian Pitts described West’s 39-36 win against Davie this way: “The Falcons survived by a gnat’s eyebrow.”
Most Fulfilling Win: North assistant Robert Steele promised the defense a dinner if it recorded a shutout. The Cavs beat North Moore 49-0 and then headed to the buffet line to fill their stomachs.
He … could … go … all … the … way: The longest score of the season was turned in by South’s Quan Glaspy, who ran a kickoff back 97 yards.
Best Halftime Show: On its way to Auburn, the West Virginia band stopped by Mooresville to give Blue Devil and West Rowan fans quite a performance.
Clutch Drive of the Year: In a game that was supposed to be a routine win for South, the Raiders were tied with East at 20. Houston led South on a 75-yard drive, scoring himself for a 27-20 victory.
My Favorite Number: Four of the best players ó West’s Parks, Salisbury’s Rankin, Carson’s Jenson Harden and South’s Mark McDaniel ó all wore No. 2.
Quote of the Year: “They weren’t bad. But they were playing the best. That’s all there is to say.”
ó West defensive lineman Mackel Gaither after a 41-7 win against East.-
Gaither proved to be a prophet as West Rowan did prove it was the best.
The best in the best year of football we’ve ever seen in Rowan County.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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