Prep Football: East Rowan practice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is the third in a
series of stories on area football practices.
Today: East Rowan
By Ronnie Gallagher
GRANITE QUARRY — Now, it’s Wesley LeRoy’s time to be The Man.
Stat-wise, he was the best defensive player on East’s 2-9 squad in 2010. He picked off passes and recovered fumbles.
This year, his biggest contribution may be as a leader.
“A lot of us had to step up,” LeRoy, a senior cornerback, said. “I’m the only one, really, coming back on defense.”
Head coach Chad Tedder said his leaders would be the Mustangs who came to the summer workouts. That includes LeRoy.
“He’s the vocal leader back there,” Tedder said. “He’s an athlete — a very good athlete. He’s our shutdown corner.”
LeRoy doesn’t want East to shut down like last year, either. But he was happy to enter this year on a winning note. The Mustangs beat South Rowan in the season finale.
“I’d rather win the last one, especially for the seniors,” LeRoy said. “That’s the thing they go out on. We need to keep winning off that note.”
LeRoy was reminded that East will probably be picked near the bottom of the NPC.
“I’d rather be the underdog and we can come up and shock everybody,” he smiled.

NEW COACHES: While Tedder kept Danny Misenheimer, Sean Rinehart, Roland Fowler and Bubba Rosenbaum, he picked up Shane Collins, Matt Belk and Barry Justus.
Collins will be coaching LeRoy and the defensive backs.
“He’s from around here,” Tedder said. “He has coached the younger levels. He wanted to coach and we had some openings. He’s worked with us through the spring and summer and he’s doing a good job. Our DBs are really on top of things right now.”
Besides LeRoy, Madison Hedrick, Raquan Torrence, Dalton Bost and Dustin Mowery earned kudos.
Belk is a familiar name to Mustang fans. An East graduate, Belk was a high-jumping basketball player before blowing out a knee. He’s coaching linebackers.

AND JUSTUS FOR ALL: Then, there’s Justus, the ultra-successful wrestling coach who hasn’t been on the football staff since the days of W.A. Cline.
“Football is a little different than it was 10 years ago,” Tedder said.
Doesn’t Justus know it?
“The offensive plays are different from what W.A. did,” Justus admitted. “The first day I received the offensive package, it was a little overwhelming.”
“I quiz him,” Tedder grinned.
Justus has the receivers and he likes what he sees.
“We have very fine, fast receivers,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll open things up.”

QB BATTLE: Who will be throwing the passes? Senior Jonathan Lowe and junior Jordan Phillips are vying for the quarterback spot.
“There’s one who’s a little bit ahead right now,” Tedder said, not revealing which one.

SCHEDULE: East opens with defending 2AA champ Salisbury at home on Aug. 19 and has a competitive schedule, just like last season. Every team East played nonconference made at least the second round.
“We didn’t play easy schools,” Tedder said.
That schedule included 3A defending champ West Rowan, a 50-7 winner.
“That was like playing a small college,” Tedder said.
Tedder and West’s Scott Young do have one thing in common. Their systems are basically the same. They learned from Thomasville’s Allen Brown.
“We could take our kids over there and jump in their huddle and they’d know what to do,” Tedder said.

SCRIMMAGE: On Saturday night, East will be a part of the Rowan-Cabarrus Border Battle Jamboree at Concord.
East faces Northwest Cabarrus at 7.

BIG BOYS: Thanks to a couple of transfers, East Rowan’s line is bigger and stronger.
Nick Cordts comes in from a small town near Chattanooga, Tenn. He stands 260. Hank Werner moved in from Florida. He’s 225.
The front could be anchored by T.J. Jefferson, a 330-pound junior.
“He moves real well,” Tedder praised. “Hopefully, he’ll be a leader.”

NICK AT NIGHT: When the lights come on this season, Cordts thinks East can definitely improve on that 2-9 season.
“I feel like we have more ambition to play,” he said. “I can see this team going a lot farther. There’s a lot of excitement.”