Prep Football: Salisbury 56, South Rowan 14
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Salisbury quarterback Brian Bauk appeared to have nowhere to go as South Rowan defenders strung him out toward the left sideline on an option play on the Hornets’ first snap from scrimmage.
“I thought I was gonna get tackled,” Bauk said. “But then I got a great block from (tight end) Ben Ritchie. It was one of those home-run blocks.”
Suddenly, Bauk was slicing through a tiny gap in South’s defense, and he was gone — 64 yards in the blink of an eye.
The Hornets (3-1) played Home Run Derby for three quarters in a 56-14 romp against South Rowan (0-4) on Friday at Ludwig Stadium.
Bauk had 100 yards rushing in not much more than five minutes, and his night would include three TD sprints of 58 yards or longer. Justin Ruffin broke a 47-yard scoring run and caught a 65-yard TD pass from Bauk on one of the Hornets’ two official passing attempts.
“We’ve got great halfbacks and an awesome fullback, and South was covering them up,” Bauk said. “The read was for me to keep the ball.”
Salisbury had just 13 first half-snaps, but five went for big-play touchdowns.
Even when South finally got its first score, the Hornets answered in 18 seconds with a big kickoff return by Keion Adams and a 25-yard scoring run by Dominique Dismuke.
“I was almost apologizing to our defense,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “Our offensive scored so fast — we didn’t have any long drives — that our defense was on the field the whole first half.”
That’s a problem South coach Jason Rollins wouldn’t mind. With QB Nathan Lambert producing 162 of his 227 passing yards before halftime, the Raiders easily won first downs and time of possession, but it didn’t mean much.
“It was the old speed-kills thing,” Rollins said. “When you execute the option with the kind of speed Salisbury has, it’s a death tool. They knew they could get outside on us, and they hurt us.”
Adversity began before Friday’s game for South. Ricky Sherrill, the county’s leading rusher after three weeks and a bullish workhorse, is no longer a Raider.
Sherrill was deemed to have crossed the line as far as expressing verbal frustration during Saturday’s loss to Northwest Cabarrus. Rollins said he had no choice but to punish Sherrill, but Sherrill chose not to accept that punishment. Rollins said the talented junior has now enrolled at A.L. Brown.
“That kind of made things tough on our defense,” Pinyan said. “When they had Sherrill, you knew he’d run the ball a lot. We knew they’d have to find some way to compensate, but we didn’t know what that would be.”
Basically, South compensated by having Lambert throw early and often, mostly slants. He and receiver Brandon Williams had big nights.
South got on the board midway through the second quarter when Lambert hit Dominic Garlin behind Salisbury’s defense for a TD. Lambert punched in another score in the final seconds of the half.
It was 36-14 at the break, but South was getting the ball to start the second half and had ideas of making a charge.
Salisbury’s defense, which got a monster opening half from nose tackle Jared Hardin, who was constantly in Lambert’s face, didn’t let that happen.
“South had a lot of success passing the first half, so we showed them more different looks in the second half and got some picks,” cornerback B.J. Woods said.
Salisbury got picks from Woods, Dejoun Jones and Robin Moulton and picked up a special-teams TD from ever-present Travis Byrd, who also tipped one of the picks.
Byrd said South’s two second-quarter TDs “woke up” the Hornets.
Bauk and Max Allen had rushing TDs in the second half, as Salisbury staged a clinic for representatives of J.C. Price’s 1940 and 1952 title teams, and Boyden’s 1955 and 1957 champs.
“We couldn’t let those old- school guys come in here and not perform to the standards they set,” Byrd said. “Those are the guys who set us up to have all the things we have.”
Rollins said his guys battled “to the last whistle,” as he expected them to do, but the Hornets’ speed was overwhelming.
“That’s a whole team of speed,” said Eric Tyler, who had a fumble recovery for South. “They spread us out, sucked us in, and Bauk used that 4.4 speed all night.”