• 43°

Prep Football: West Rowan 37, Salisbury 28

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — It’s starting to look like three-time defending state champion West Rowan isn’t going away anytime soon.
The neighborhood bully stole Salisbury’s lunch money Friday night at Ludwig Stadium, extending its winning streak against county opponents to 38 with a pulsating 37-28 victory.
“There were many doubters out there,” winning coach Scott Young said after West (2-1) scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and prevailed in the Clash of Champions. “We heard them. We’ve got ears. We knew we had to put our noses to the grindstone and play a great game against a great team.”
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan was equally gracious after the defending 2AA state champs had their 12-game winning streak snapped.
“I think in the summer they scrimmaged the Green Bay Packers and beat them by two,” he joked after SHS fell to 2-1. “They’re just good. We’ve got a lot of respect for them.”
The game was well-hyped by local media and fans alike — and no one was immune to the stinging remarks that circulated around the county.
“We heard everything,” said West offensive lineman Mike Norman. “But we couldn’t let it get to us. We came here to win and we made a statement. We’re not going away. West Rowan is still here.”
Salisbury brought a 14-10 lead into the final period but fell behind when Dinkin Miller (22 carries, 132 yards) skittered through a hole on the left side and into the end zone with 11:51 to play. A minute-and-a-half later it was 23-14, courtesy of sophomore Zeke Blackwood’s 32-yard interception return for a TD down the right sideline. As the pocket collapsed around him, SHS quarterback Brian Bauk made a hasty decision.
“It was a screen pass on that side,” he said after passing for 97 yards and two touchdowns. “We were expecting (Blackwood) to rush the box like crazy, but he wasn’t blocked and made a nice play. I probably should have thrown the ball away.”
Bauk got some redemption midway through the fourth quarter when he lofted a 17-yard TD strike to running back Justin Ruffin, who wiggled into some open space in West’s secondary. Michael Mazur’s extra point drew the Hornets within 23-21.
“The pressure was getting to us,” Ruffin said after accounting for 147 of Salisbury’s 238 total yards. “We were trying to make big plays in a short amount of time.”
West responded with a game-clinching scoring drive that chewed 4:23 off the game clock. Quarterback Zay Laster steered the Falcons 80 yards in eight plays and gave West a 30-21 advantage when he scored on a 8-yard scramble up the middle with 1:19 remaining.
“I think (Laster) panicked early in the game,” Young said. “We had to tell him to slow down, take a deep breath and let the game come to him.”
Only 30 seconds remained when Bauk — who was sacked seven times — fired a quick-strike 25-yard TD pass to Ruffin, turning the Salisbury cheering section into a human trampoline. But West’s Jarvis Morgan silenced the crowd when he returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards for the clinching touchdown.
“All week we heard they gonna bring the bang-bang and all that,” Morgan said afterward. “We tried not to say anything. What it all means is keep your eyes open. West Rowan is not off the map. We’re still here.”

NOTES: Salisbury had four turnovers, including three in the scoreless opening quarter. … Ruffin gained 105 yards on 11 carries — all before he snagged a pair of TD passes in the final six minutes. … Laster rushed for 71 yards and passed for another 53. … WR’s Tre Cuthbertson had an interception and teammates Terrence Polk and Kiero Cuthbertson recovered fumbles. For the Hornets, Travis Byrd pounced on a fumble and Tion McCain picked off a pass.

Comments

Comments closed.

News

Catawba College researchers say invasive beetle will kill significant portion of ecological preserve’s ash trees

Elections

Dr. Fauci, Kanye West, Jesus Christ among presidential write-in candidates in Rowan County

Crime

Salisbury Police receive grant for social justice, racial equity training

Local

When weather turns cold, where do Rowan County wildlife go?

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged faces marijuana charge after being served with unrelated warrant

Coronavirus

Local health officials see record testing numbers ahead of Thanksgiving

Elections

State Board of Elections certifies results of 2020 election

Business

Small business owners seek lifeline in new grant program offered by Rowan County

Crime

Blotter: Sheriff’s Office investigating arson at storage unit housing Royce Apparel Inc. merchandise

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for white pickup caught vandalizing schools, church

News

Salisbury city manager tests positive for COVID-19

Food

Home sweet home: Families never tire of decorating Rowan Museum gingerbread houses

Crime

Former Salisbury High teacher faces additional sex offense charges

Education

RSS planning drive-thru send-off for superintendent

Local

Highway Patrol: Fatal I-85 crash occurred when one vehicle stopped in roadway

Coronavirus

10 more counties found with ‘critical’ spread as Gov. Cooper tightens mask-wearing restrictions

Crime

Police: Several weekend overdoses possibly result of ‘bad batch’ of drugs

Crime

Davie County Social Services employee faces assault, child abuse charges

Elections

Political Notebook: State survey shows majority of voters confident in election process

Local

Logistics, instructions for ‘Tis the Season Spectacular parade

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can people stop unwanted telemarketers, robocalls?

Local

One reported dead after fiery interstate crash

Local

Salisbury’s $35 million in water, wastewater upgrades on track for completion in 2022

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with stealing $600 in pallets, 10 boxes of clothing