Prep Football: For West Rowan, it's 46 and counting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — As the West Rowan Falcons marched to the practice field Saturday morning on the first official day of high school football practice, a familiar face walked among them.
B.J. Sherrill, the greatest quarterback in school history, wasn’t suited up. His career ended last December when he led his team to its 46th straight victory and its third straight 3A state championship. He’ll play for Catawba in the fall.
But just having him there pleased West coach Scott Young.
“All of our old guys come back,” he said.
His two-day mini-camp proved that.
“You feel your program has been successful when Chris Smith (a sophomore at Arkansas), is at camp on Thursday, K.P. (Parks, a redshirt freshman at Virginia) is here on Friday and B.J. is here today,” Young said. “Dominique Noble (a freshman at Georgia Tech) was here (Friday) night.”
Young showed off a big smile.
“When your college kids come back to see the team and see the coaches, it makes you feel good about what you’re doing.”
What West is doing is phenomenal. It has the nation’s longest winning streak and spent the summer reveling in that success. For instance, the Big Blue was one of 32 teams invited to Hoover, Ala., for the most prestigious 7-on-7 competition in the country.
Despite the long winning streak, the Falcons are still hungry. Young’s veteran and polished coaching staff won’t accept anything less.
That’s why defensive coordinator David Hunt yelled at one kid to finish a drill or go back to the locker room. It’s why offensive line coach Joe Nixon cajoled his guys. It’s why K.P. Parks Sr. got down in a stance and told a player to keep his head up.
Coaches were working their tails off. They expected the same from the players.
Young roamed the field taking it all in.
“We’ve got 90 young men here,” he announced. “That’s not too bad.”
The numbers will quickly pass 100. Vacation, church trips and AAU basketball kept several out of the first practice, but Young said, “We look forward to getting everybody here Monday.”
The official first day is the usual routine for West: work on the kicking game.
“We want them to grasp the kicking game within the first two or three days,” Young said.
West didn’t dominate the 7-on-7s this summer and Young was asked the mindset as his team went through their workout.
“We know we’re not there yet,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. But I feel good about our guys.”
The heat couldn’t damage the excitement Young was exuding.
“It’s a great day,” he said.