Prep Football: A.L. Brown 63, South Rowan 12

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

By Mike London
LANDIS — When A.L. Brown’s Damien Washington was tackled after a 15-yard run early in the second quarter, South Rowan fans cheered wildly.
Cheering for a 15-yard gain by the opposition is unorthodox behavior, but there was a reason. That was the first — and only — time the Raiders managed to tackle the elusive Wonder on Friday night.
Washington, 190 pounds of swivel-hipped uncooperativeness, demolished the Raiders in an overwhelming 63-12 A.L. Brown romp.
“Our kids found out they can play fourth quarters tonight,,” upbeat Brown coach Mike Newsome said. “This team’s got a lot of upside to keep getting better, and now we’ve got some momentum.”
While the result didn’t top Brown’s 55-0 win in 2006 for one-sidedness, the 63 points were the most either school has scored in the long series. The Wonders (2-0) had three TDs on their first five snaps.
Washington’s oh-my-God first quarter resurrected memories of Nick Maddox. He had scoring runs of 57, 64 and 61 yards and streaked past South’s defense to reel in an 80-yard scoring strike from QB Brandon Eppinger. He may have gotten 1,000 yards had he not sat down early.
“Just good, key blocks on all those long runs,” Washington said modestly. “Pancake blocks from Keeon Johnson and Kenon Jones, and then I ran to daylight. I was just trying to get to the end zone.”
He kept getting there. His best effort was the 64-yard dash that made it 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Washington slithered out of the grasp of a tackler, then knifed between converging defenders in the secondary.
“They’re just one hell of a team,” South linebacker Bubba McLaughlin said. “They’re great fundamentally, and whenever there’s a hole, their back hits it hard. We’ve got some fast guys, but no one like Washington. Once he got to the outside, he was gone.”
Washington’s breakaway speed was exactly what South coach Jason Rollins had feared most coming in.
“We talked all week that if No. 12 (Washington) got the ball, we had to turn him back inside — turn him back until the cavalry could get there,” Rollins said. “He’s a great ballplayer, but we didn’t wrap up and we didn’t pursue well. We didn’t do much of anything we wanted to do defensively.”
Offensively, South (0-2) offered some resistance.
Ricky Sherrill was able to bang out short but steady gains until he exited with cramps. Sherrill had a 10-yard scoring run that was set up by an Eric Tyler recovery of a muffed punt. That TD cut the Wonders’ lead to 21-6.
But, Washington quickly responded with his fourth electrifying big-play score.
South got its other six late in the third quarter when Nathan Lambert found Josh Medlin behind the defense for a 73-yard hookup.
“They got a TD late, but defensively we did the things we had to do,” Brown lineman Gerald Holt said. “I was proud we got our first defensive TD. That’s an accomplishment.”
That TD came from studly defensive end Darius Rice (6-foot-4, 230) in the second quarter. He stepped in front of a Lambert pass at the South 30 and romped in for a 42-6 lead.
“I jumped up and almost missed it, but then it hit on my shoulder pads, and I was able to hang onto it,” Rice said. “That felt good, really good.”