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2011 Football: East Rowan preview

By Ryan Bisesi
rbisesi@salisburypost.com
GRANITE QUARRY — Starting strong is important and finishing strong even more so.
Despite a 2-9 record, East Rowan accomplished both feats last season. East defeated North Rowan opening night and denied South Rowan a playoff spot in the final game.
Coach Chad Tedder hopes the middle can be a bit more savory, as his kids have another year of experience in his system. Tedder said the team showed up in big numbers over the summer in the weight room and hopes the results will show this fall.
“Are we the most talented team ever? No, we’re not,” Tedder said. “But the kids have improved enough you can tell they’re putting the time and work in.”
East lost 21 seniors from last year’s squad, but Tedder knows building up its youth is a necessary evil in his second year in Granite Quarry.
“Our goal is to try to get every single ounce of ability out of these kids,” Tedder said.
At quarterback, it’s a duel between senior Jonathan Lowe and junior Jordan Phillips to replace 2009 all-county selection Jamey Blalock. Lowe was last year’s backup before hurting his knee against West Iredell. Phillips was the JV quarterback. Tedder says a decision should be made on who gets the nod after two weeks of practice.
The plan will be for the offense to bounce into I-formation and as well three and four receiver sets. East had just 32 completions last season, but this year the Mustangs hope to be fun to watch.
“We’ve got to do that to be able to compete and keep people from putting eight or nine in the box against us,” Tedder said. “We hope to throw the ball quite a bit this year.”
Running the ball will be tailback Calvin Edwards and fullback Corey Darrah, who Tedder describes as “quite a specimen” physically. Beyond that, it’s in flux for East, which has depth concerns at the position.
Senior Jonas Hildreth, every bit of 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, will share tight end duties with Skyler Rabon.
Wesley LeRoy, one of the more sure-handed Mustangs, will aid the receiving corps as well as start at cornerback. Last year’s leading receiver Shawn Galloway is now at Catawba, but senior Kyler Brown and Kendal Wilborn will keep defenses busy.
“Because of our depth, we have to get in the one-back situation,” Tedder said.
Senior Kendal Wilborn and juniors Johnny Oliver and Nick Bell round out the improving receivers.
East only returns one lineman on both sides of the ball, that being stout right tackle T.J. Jefferson (6-4, 340). Left tackle Tommy Plaisted (6-4, 295) is slated to be left tackle while senior Nick Cordts and Cory Livengood take over at guard with Donald Schlesselman providing depth.
Hank Werner, a transfer from Florida, starts at center. Junior Hunter Kluttz will also see action on the line.
“Between offensive and defensive lines, that was our biggest concern because of our inexperience,” Tedder said.
The DL includes six players to fill in on a 4-3 defense. Sophomore Dock Corpening, Jefferey Rattz, Joseph Patterson, Cory Crump and Casey Padgett all look to get playing time.
At linebacker, one of the team’s strong points, Dalton Moose and Tyler L’hommedieu, or “Mountain Dew” as Tedder likes to call him, will be the top dogs. John Novak should see snaps as well after playing on JV last year. Moose runs a 4.5 40-yard dash.
“Dalton is probably the most athletic kid we’ve got,” Tedder said. “He’s the fastest kid we’ve got on the team.”
LeRoy leads the secondary at cornerback and Dalton Bost, who started as a sophomore last year, anchors the safeties. Cornerback Madison Hendrick, cornerback Raykwon Torrence and safety Dustin Mowery, the hardest hitter on the team according to Tedder, make up the rest of the secondary.
Handling field goals and kickoffs will be senior Jantzen Stirewalt.
Tedder hopes youth now will mean experience in the coming years, even if some kinks have to be ironed out.
“We’re very young, but we’re pretty athletic,” Tedder said. “We’ve got a few seniors on the defensive front and a couple on the offensive line.”
The schedule lays no mercy on East, which faces two defending state champs in Salisbury and West Rowan as well as heavyweight Concord. The NPC is once again peppered with powers West Rowan, Statesville and West Iredell.
“It’s one of those deals where we’ve just got to be competitive,” Tedder said. “If we’re in most of the games, to me that’s the success of the hard work we’ve put in.”

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