Prep Football: First practice had new feel for Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — Salisbury football coach Joe Pinyan takes the first official day of practice very seriously.
“We’re going to throw everything we can at them on the first day,” Pinyan said Saturday morning at the start of his 8 a.m. workout. “We hope they learn it and if it doesn’t sink in, we’ll run it back through them. Time’s short. We play in a couple of weeks.”
Salisbury was the second team on Dec. 11, 2010 to win a state title for Rowan County. West Rowan won in the afternoon and the Hornets thrashed Northeastern 30-0 at night.
At West, the first practice was more businesslike. It was the Falcons’ third straight. At Salisbury, there was a sense of euphoria. Everyone wearing the gold and red seemed block out the heat with championship smiles.
“It’s fun coming back after a state championship,” Pinyan said. “We’ve never done that before. But the ones who won the state championship are gone. The ones who are back are hungry enough to try and win another one.”
The young Hornets got pumped up by seeing last year’s Big Three — Darien Rankin, Romar Morris and John Knox — at the first practice.
Pinyan wanted the young Hornets to take a good look at the Big Three — as well as his new assistant coach Scotty Robinson. These are the players to emulate if you want to taste success.
“We want to accomplish the fact that you’re part of a program now,” Pinyan said. “Go fly around, have fun and play football.”
Pinyan liked his numbers.
“It’s such a rat-race trying to go at 8 in the morning that we really don’t have a true count,” he said. “I’d guess 90 to 95. We’re excited about the group we do have.”
Salisbury got to fly around twice on Saturday. The Hornets were the only Rowan team to have two practices. Next week, they’ll do a walk-through from 1-2 p.m. and then practice from 5-to-8.
It’s obvious the Hornet head man loves being on the football field.
“I’ve been doing this a long time — this is my 27th year,” Pinyan noted. “I thank the Good Lord every day that I get to be a factor in these young men’s lives — hopefully teach them a little bit about the game and little bit about the game of life, too.”
And starting with the first practice, teach them a little about how to act like a state champion.