Prep Football: The Notebook: Week 4
From staff reports
Salisbury offensive line coach Daniel Yow is getting lots of mileage out of “mighty mite” tackles Garrett Yelton and Jalen Warren, who are listed at 5-foot-7, 175 pounds and 5-8, 165, respectively.
“They’re small guys that aren’t gonna blow anyone out,” Yow said. “But they’re coming around.”
The undersized tackles have teamed with some serious beef — guards Parker McKeithan (6-5, 290) and Terrance McElrath (5-10, 220) and center Montana Harmon (6-1, 220) — to give the Hornets the blocking that has produced three 360-yard rushing games in their first four outings.
Even against West Rowan’s deep defensive line, the Hornets managed a respectable 141 rushing yards.
“One of the things that’s really helped us teach the o-line is that we’ve got an end-zone view camera now,” explained Yow, who played at Catawba a few years ago. “The film don’t lie, and it’s a lot easier now to show guys exactly where they made a mistake and to get it corrected.”
Head coach Joe Pinyan has been excited with the leadership role the veteran Harmon has taken with his group.
“Montana understands that while we’re doing OK, we have to get a lot better,” Pinyan said.
HIGH MOTOR: Salisbury players and coaches continue to be amazed by 5-9 linebacker Travis Byrd, who has made trips to the end zone each of the past two weeks.
Besides his special-teams TD, Byrd made a ton of tackles and was named the team’s defensive MVP for a 56-14 romp against South Rowan.
“Travis plays with the most energy of anyone I’ve ever seen,” defensive tackle Jared Hardin said.
Ernest McCray, Price High’s famed “Mr. Touchdown” from the school’s great teams of the early 1950s, was one of the past greats on hand for pregame and halftime festivities on Friday.
“Well, we might have to give McCray’s nickname to Travis Byrd,” Pinyan joked. “Looks like we’ve got our own Mr. Touchdown.”
BRIAN’S FLYIN’: Salisbury junior QB Brian Bauk amassed an astounding total of 191 rushing yards on Friday, with three of his five option keepers going for long-distance touchdowns.
Bauk is second in the county (to West tailback Dinkin Miller) with 358 rushing yards.
FOOTLOOSE: Pinyan said the Hornets have been blessed with excellent kickers over the years, and Michael Mazur has picked up where all-county David Simons left off in 2010.
Mazur has booted 19 PATs and a field goal.
RUNNING IT UP? Hardly. After each of the starting running backs — Justin Ruffin, Dominique Dismuke and Max Allen — owned a rushing TD, the Hornets didn’t press the issue against struggling South. Salisbury played everybody in a scoreless fourth quarter.
Between them, Ruffin, Dismuke and Allen only had 10 carries.
West’s Miller rushed for 137 yards in West’s 23-9 loss to South Pointe and now has back-to-back 100-yard outings, evidence that the Falcons’ offensive line is starting to roll.
Miller now has 11 100-yard games for his career, with his peak effort being 211 yards in last year’s 3A state championship game.
Miller has 2,539 rushing yards for his career to rank fourth in school history.
He ranks 18th in the county in the modern era. Leonard Atkins (Salisbury, 1974-75, 2,578) is the next all-time great that Miller will surpass.
FRUSTRATION: Fans who watched West lose to South Pointe saw something very rare. As good as South Pointe’s skill people were, the Falcons actually beat themselves with five turnovers (including a fumble on the South Pointe 1) and drive-killing penalties.
“Twice, we stalled ourselves out with penalties,” coach Scott Young said. “There are a lot of things we’ve got to firm up.”
BREAKOUT: Working against South Pointe’s talented secondary, junior receiver Tyler Stamp made four nice receptions.
2-2: West is disappointed to be 2-2, but the reality is that the great majority of teams that have played West’s schedule would be 0-4.
This is a very good team, not a juggernaut, maybe, but still a very good team.
Assuming the Falcons stay reasonably healthy, they’re still likely to run the table in the NPC one more time. And with Salisbury already in the rearview mirror, they’re almost a sure thing to sweep the county for the 10th straight season.
“We have played a difficult schedule,” Young said. “We played it for a reason, to prepare for a stretch run. We’ll see in November if it paid off.”
It was an early wakeup call for North Rowan on Saturday when it took on University Christian (Fla.) at 11 a.m. at West Rowan.
It was a good beginning for North, who took its first drive 75 yards on nine plays for a touchdown. The biggest reasons were linemen Justin Ogg, Cecil McCauley, Will Robertson, Davonte Everhart, Alex Broughton and Bobby Ingram.
Coach Tasker Fleming said his team assembled at 8 a.m., then ate breakfast at Hendrix Barbecue.
“Once they blew the whistle, everybody was good with it,” Fleming said of the morning start that ended with a 28-15 loss.
PAT GOOD! After that first score, Parker Smith kicked an extra point.
“That got me excited,” Fleming grinned.
That’s because it was North’s first converted PAT of the year.
LETHAL CECIL: Fleming praised his defense in Saturday’s game, especially Malik Ford and lineman McCauley.
While Ford has done well all season at defensive end, McCauley had to play both ways due to linemen being banged up.
“McCauley had a good game,” said Fleming, adding the same for defensive back Kenyatta Thomas.
North is without its other defensive end Oshon West with a knee injury.
HE’S BACK: Some good news is that Pierre Givens has returned sooner than expected from a wrist injury. He caught a pass for 27 yards and ran three times. But he also suffered a thigh bruise against University Christian.
The bad news first.
In four games — all losses — South has allowed 1,131 rushing yards and a staggering 184 points — 46 points per game.
The Raiders allowed both A.L. Brown and Salisbury to score more points than they’d ever scored against a South team. Brown put up 63. Salisbury beat the Raiders 56-14 last week.
South is on pace to erase from the record books the 2006 South defense, which allowed a school-record 447 points (40.6 per game.).
The Raiders can only hope that the current team mirrors the fortitude of head coach Jason Rollins’ first South squad in 2006. That team was outscored 302-20 during an 0-6 start, but it still managed to win three ballgames.
PASSING ZONE: South’s aerial game looked really sharp against Salisbury’s county-leading pass defense in the first half.
Junior quarterback Nathan Lambert was 13-for-16 for 162 yards at halftime and appeared well on his way to breaking the school single-game passing record of 242 yards set by Charles Sherrill in 1997.
He tossed three second-half picks and finished 20-for-32 for 219 yards.
South had to throw it to move it. Lambert’s previous high for pass attempts was 19 against Northwest Cabarrus the previous week.
RECEIVING LINE: Salisbury was able to take away dangerous tight end Josh Medlin (three catches, 21 yards), but South got a big game from Brandon Williams (eight catches, 90 yards), and Logan Beck (four catches) kept getting open.
Rollins praised the play of Williams, who had a couple of tremendous grabs.
Williams also owns the team’s lone interception.
ON THE AIR: Providing color commentary on South’s broadcast of the game was Adrian Parker, who still owns the school records for receiving yardage in a season and career and receptions for a season and career.
TOUGH WEEK: South played without Ricky Sherrill, the team’s rushing workhorse all last season and for the first three games of this one.
“I thought we fought hard to the last whistle,” South’s versatile Eric Tyler said. “We just have to make this something that brings us together more as a team.”
Down 35-0 to Hickory Ridge at halftime, East won the second half 14-0 and Tedder did it with several new faces making big plays.
Senior defensive lineman Casey Padgett threw his 6-foot, 195-pound frame on a fumble.
Two young kids, sophomore Adrian Looper and freshman Daniel Jones, did well on the offensive line.
“Everybody played well in the second half,” praised Tedder. “We had 150 yards of offense and they had 50.”
THE FLASH: Fifty-one of those yards came on a screen pass from Jordan Phillips to sophomore back Calvin Edwards.
“It was awesome on tape,” Tedder smiled of reviewing the play. “He cut back, cut one way, avoided one tackle, and was off to the races.
“We stress getting him out in the open. He’s the athlete on the offensive side.”
BOTH WAYS: Tedder doesn’t like to do it, but he had offensive linemen Nick Cordts and T.J. Jefferson playing both ways on the line.
“The offense isn’t on the field very much and they’re fresh so they might as well use them a little bit.”
Amassing 385 yards of total offense and scoring 39 points will win you most high school football games.
However, Carson’s surrendering of its 11-point lead in the fourth quarter prevented a win and was surprising considering the Cougars allowed just six points in the opener against North Rowan and hung tight in a 13-7 loss to Northwest Cabarrus.
The game turned on a muffed punt with 3:40 left that would have given Carson the ball in Robinson territory. Instead, the Bulldogs grabbed the lead for keeps three plays later.
“We’re ready to make the play there and it just got away from us,” Carson coach Mark Woody said.
FLAGGED: The Cougars were flagged for 85 penalty yards in their opener against North and had 13 penalties for 115 yards last Friday.
RALLY EFFORT: For the third straight game, Carson let its opponent score first and trailed at halftime for the second straight game.
Robinson only needed five plays to reach the end zone on the game’s initial drive. The Bulldogs then went up 13-0 on an interception return for touchdown not even four minutes into action.
“You can’t keep playing from behind,” Woody said. “That’ll kill you.”
QB’S: Austin McNeil improved to second in the county in passing after throwing for 164 yards with eight completions. Dontae Gilbert completed his only pass on a 44-yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter. Gilbert, a starting cornerback, came out after one offensive series.
“He’s got to be a defensive back for us,” Woody said of Gilbert. “He’s one of our best corners and we’ve got to have him on D.”
INJURIES: After making his return from a previous injury, Travis Abbitt left the game in the second half with 15 carries for 93 yards and did not return.
Woody said running back Chris Barnhardt and receiver Darius Gardner also suffered injuries Friday.
“We’re skating,” Woody said.
There were amazing stats compiled in the 10th-ranked Wonders’ surprisingly one-sided 41-13 loss at unbeaten 4A Porter Ridge on Friday.
The Wonders were minus-4 in the turnover department, something that rarely happens to them. There’s almost no way to overcome minus-4. The last time they were minus-4 was in a 20-7 loss to Thomasville early in the 2010 season.
Brown’s defense got absolutely shredded by the Pirates, who put up 562 yards of offense. That’s the most yards the Wonders have allowed in a game, at least since 1998, and that mind-boggling stat might hold up all the way back to the day the school opened.
Brown has experienced games in which it’s given up huge rushing yardage and games where it’s given up serious passing yardage, but it’s tough to find a game where it wasn’t limiting its opponent in one phase.
Porter Ridge had no limits. It piled up 342 rushing yards and 220 passing yards.
BRIGHT SIDE: On a positive note, Damien Washington’s incredible season continued with 226 rushing yards in 16 carries.
He’s still averaging more than 13 yards per carry, as is Wonder reserve Robert Pinkston.
Washington not only has 538 rushing yards, he’s Brown’s leading receiver with nine catches for 187 yards. He’s scored 10 TDs, and he’s even thrown a touchdown pass.
While two-time state player of the year Nick Maddox made 200-yard rushing games relatively routine in 1997 and 1998 (he had five such games in 1998, with a high of 289 against Northwest Cabarrus), Washington’s performance in a losing cause on Friday was the third-highest rushing game by a Wonder since the Maddox Era concluded.
Travis Riley had 23 carries for 249 yards against NW Cabarrus in 2009, and Artrele Louis had one of the more eye-popping games in world history with his three carries for 242 yards against Piedmont in 2007.
Washington’s big night edged Jonathan Peoples’ 223 yards in a 2003 playoff game against Burns for third place.
Basketball star Nate Jones has made an impact on his return to the football field.
He has a team-best 15 catches for 277 yards.
PLAYMAKER: Cameron Heaggans has only two catches this season but both have gone for touchdowns. He caught an 11-yard TD from Adam Smith in the fourth quarter against Lexington.
Mike London, Ronnie Gallagher, Ryan Bisesi and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.