Prep football: North Rowan 24, East Rowan 6
By Ryan Bisesi
GRANITE QUARRY —
Lightning never touched the ground in Granite Quarry Friday night, but yellow flags and loose footballs more than made up for its absence.
After a neighboring storm postponed the county rivalry between North Rowan and East Rowan for an hour, the two attempted to find electricity of the offensive sort, but instead dove into a game where he who made less mistakes would win.
That would be North. The Cavaliers scored the final 24 points in a 24-6 triumph at East for their first win this season. North was penalized 19 times for 135 yards while East was whistled 10 times for 75 yards. All five extra point attempts failed in a game that seemed too crazy to be true.
As far as fumbles, North influenced six from East, recovering four of them. That was ultimately the difference. North forced six turnovers overall.
“We’ve got to cut down on penalties, obviously,” North coach Tasker Fleming said. “But I’m very proud of the effort.”
Coming into the county clash, North had only managed one offensive TD for the season and two overall.
But against East, even the defensive linemen were getting some action, with Malik Ford snagging a tipped pass from Jonathan Lowe and running 20 yards into the end zone in the final minute to cap the win. It was a break absent from the Cavs’ first two contests.
“It feels good, but I know we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Ford said.
East, who was shut out in the initial two games, grabbed its first points and first lead when Calvin Edwards completed a shifty 2-yard run on fourth-and-goal early in the second quarter.
“I was happy that we finally scored,” Tedder said. “I wasn’t satisfied with it. We know we can do better than that.”
North (1-2) jumped on a fumble at the East 6, and Malik Jones took it in on the next play to tie the game.
The score was tied at six going into halftime. Jones ran for a game-high 71 yards on 13 carries.
The Cavs took over at their 35 late in the third quarter, and quarterback T.J. Allen made two crucial third-down plays. The last came on third-and-6 from the East 17. Allen found Tyler Watlington for his second touchdown pass of the season.
It put North up for keeps.
“He was basically wide open,” said Allen, who found life easier than last week when the Salisbury defense was constantly nagging him. “We ran a bootleg and I threw it to him.”
North’s most cohesive drive of the night was its last possession on which it went 59 yards in seven plays. Jake Becker ran it in from 20 yards out into the end zone to put a bow on it.
East (0-3) lost the ball on a fumble on its first play of the second half and never got the momentum back.
Three flags on North early in the fourth quarter put the Mustangs 28 yards from the end zone, but they were then whistled twice for a block-in-the-back and holding.
The drive resulted in another lost fumble.
“We’ve just got to take care of the football,” Tedder said. “We can’t give them the football three or four times within the 30-yard line. You’re not going to win that way.”