Shaw column: West refused to lose again

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2011

MOUNT ULLA — Forget how it happened, West Rowan football fans. Just be grateful that it did.
We all know this isn’t the same old Falcons’ team that elevated itself to a third consecutive state title in 2010. But on Friday night, before a robust home crowd, West squeezed out the same old result — a victory.
“We got some answers tonight,” coach Scott Young told his team following a very last-yearish 45-32 win over Davie County. “Now let’s keep it going.”
A week after that much-discussed, numbing loss at Mooresville curbed its national-best 46-game winning streak, West picked itself up and shoehorned its way back into the win column.
“Last week,” senior DL bruiser Greg Dixon said, “I remember I went back to the bus with my head down. I really took it to heart and decided right then I was going to work harder, make myself stronger. No one wants to feel like that. You know we won’t be making those mistakes again.”
Teammate Logan Stoodley said he heard the whispers floating around school and the county — that X-rays of West’s future appeared negative. The rangy, junior linebacker who made a rally-killing, fourth-quarter interception offered a more universal view.
“We felt like we let everybody down,” he confessed. “It hurt, but you know what? It really didn’t bother us. At West we don’t rebuild. We reload. And no matter what, we’re gonna find somebody and some way to get the job done.”
That’s the can-do attitude that carried West in the past and again last night. It’s what fueled a pivotal goal-line stand on the final play of the first half, when Dixon and Trey Shepherd squashed a fourth-down plunge. “That was nothing but Falcon football,” Dixon quipped.
It’s the same posture that propelled quarterback Zay Laster, who completed all 10 of his passes for 161 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns.
“We kept it together tonight,” he said. “We stayed hungry. The loss affected everybody in different ways. But we pretty much all had the same goal — to get a win tonight.”
That’s the approach that sparked wideout Jarvis Morgan, who used his velvet-soft hands to record a career night.
He snagged seven passes worth 180 yards of prime real estate — including 66 on a drawn-up-in-the-dirt play triggered by backup QB Connor Edwards.
“I saw the spur (outside linebacker) walk to the line like he was going to blitz,” Morgan said. “That left me one-on-one with the safety and I knew I could beat him. Then Connor threw it in a perfect spot. The rest is history.”
The rest, for now, remains unwritten history. “One-and-one,” Laster decided. “That’s who we are right now.”
West certainly did a lot of things right, enough to prevail against a Davie team that’s struggling to connect all the dots. The Week 1 meltdown was almost unfathomable, sort of like watching John Wayne cry. This was a victory that healed some wounds, a subtle kick in the pants that pointed the Falcons in the right direction.
Still not convinced?
“Just watch,” Stoodley warned. “You’ll see.”