Prep Football: West Rowan practice
This is the seventh in a series of stories on area football practices.
Today: West Rowan
Wednesday: 2011 football edition
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — Yeah, Scott Young could’ve softened his nonconference schedule to assure the nation’s longest win streak would continue.
But that’s not his style. When your overall record as a head coach is an eye-popping 135-37, you tend to not back down.
But still …
Mooresville. Davie County. Salisbury. South Pointe, S.C. Reidsville.
Wow. Why did you do it, Scott?
“Why not?” he shot back. “We’ve got the longest winning streak in the nation. We haven’t lost a football game in nearly three years. But it’s never been about the streak. It’s always about winning the state championship.”
Let’s see here. West will face two 4A teams. Davie was a state finalist. South Pointe, too. Salisbury won the 2AA title. Reidsville held the nation’s longest streak before West took over.
“Those first four games will prepare us for anything we’ll face for the rest of the season,” Young said.
MORE REIDSVILLE: West makes the long drive toward the Virginia border to face Reidsville in Week 8.
The Falcons needed a game. Young said athletic director Todd Bell put out about 10 calls and Reidsville was the only one to respond. A private school in Charlotte was interested, but Young said, “You’d rather play public schools if you can.”
READY TO GO: Senior running back Dinkin Miller and junior linebacker Logan Stoodley, the top offensive and defensive players returning, were asked about the pressure of keeping the win streak going.
“It’s a good feeling,” Stoodley said, “but it puts a lot of pressure on you. You want to get better and never lose.”
For the record, Stoodley is undefeated in his varsity career.
Miller felt more individual pressure. He replaced all-world K.P. Parks as a junior.
“The best tailback in the state left and I had to take up the load,” Miller said. “I think I did pretty good.”
A total of 1,805 yards rushing. A 7.0 average per carry. Nineteen touchdowns. That’s more than pretty good.
“I’m expecting to get 2,000 this year,” Miller said. “I can only do that if I work hard and stay behind my offensive line.”
WALK THE LINE: Big offensive lineman Mike Norman wants that 2,000-yard season. He knows the line is a key.
“We’re the heart and soul of the team,” he announced.
INJURIES: Backup receivers are going to have to step up.
Quentin Phifer and Brandon Ijames are out with knee injuries. Junior Tyler Stamp hurt his wrist recently but it practicing.
Tyler Garczynski, another junior, transferred to Davie and will concentrate on baseball.
Young did praise senior receiver Jarvis Morgan, saying the 6-2 athlete “is one of the most vocal guys we have on the offensive side of the ball.”
WELCOME VISITORS: Morgan has already been contacted by big schools like Wake Forest, but that’s common at West these days. Recruiters always seem to be around.
“Obviously that gives your underclassmen a real goal that they can accomplish,” Young said. “They see the (college) coaches walking in and out of that door. That inspires them to get it done in the classroom and get it done on the field.”
COACH IN: Young replaced one young coach with another as former linebacker Julian Samolu takes over for former star defensive back Zeb Link, who is going to grad school at East Carolina.
Samolu, who coached at Carson for two years, will assist with the defensive ends.
“Those guys just keep coming back,” Young said. “He knows what’s expected of him. He’ll be a good fit for us.”
Tim Flanagan, who played in the backfield a couple of years ago, is also helping out.
COACH OUT: Ed Bowles showed up for the first day of official practice on July 30. He said a friend told him if he didn’t go out there, it would be the first time since 1957 he had missed opening day.
Bowles, 67, is not on the staff. Doctors told him to rest his back.
“He is very missed around here,” Young said. “We’re trying to talk him into being involved in some way, even if it’s just game-day personnel. We don’t want him to totally get away from it.”
COACHING STABILITY: No one ever gets too far away at West. Young has lost only five full-time coaches in 13 years. That’s impressive.
“We’ve been blessed,” said Young, pointing out that Tim Dixon, Ralph Ellis and Jeff Chapman are starting their 14th year with him. Defensive coordinator David Hunt has been with him for 13.
LOOKING GOOD: Young praised the play so far of senior defensive lineman Greg Dixon and junior backup running back Desmond Jackson.
“Sometimes, Dixon just looks phenomenal,” Young said. “I hope he can build on that. Des has shown big-play capabilities.”
But how can Jackson get touches with 1,800-rusher Miller ahead of him?
“There’s no rule that says they can’t play at the same time,” reasoned Young.