Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 5
From staff reports
Tailback Brandon Sloop set a Carson freshman rushing record with 36 carries for 170 yards on Friday.
Shaun Warren’s breakout game came against East as a sophomore.
Warren’s amazing prep career and the unbelievable start of his college career at Western Carolina were saluted by the Cougars at halftime on Friday, and his No. 5 jersey is now displayed in the school trophy case.
“It’s still a little early as a school for us to have criteria for retiring jerseys or anything like that,” Woody said. “But Shaun’s a very special player and a special person, and we wanted to do something to honor him.”
FILM FESTIVAL: Coach Mark Woody was frustrated Friday with Carson’s inability to put away East Rowan until very late, but he felt better about his team’s 20-7 win after he’d had a chance to sit down and evaluate the film.
“Yeah, it’s a good win because East played so darned hard,” Woody said. “Looking at the film, we did a lot more good things than I thought, at first. We executed on some blocks better than we have all year. Mitch Galloway and Daniel Rodriguez made some oh-my-gosh blocks like you see in college games.”
SOPH QB: Carson QB Austin McNeill was sacked three times Friday and was a modest 4-for-12 passing for 61 yards, but the youngster avoided making any critical mistakes that might’ve lost the game against East.
McNeill has 423 yards passing for the season and has thrown for five TDs. The last two weeks he’s had three TD passes and just one pick.
“We’re really happy with Austin,” Woody said. “For a sophomore, he’s playing about as well as we could have hoped.”
BOUNCING BACK: Carson’s defense has been stout all year except for breakdowns in the second half of the Robinson game.
East’s offense had very little success against Carson, producing 75 passing yards and negative rushing yards.
Essentially, East had one exceptional play — a 45-yard pass completion that set up their touchdown.
“We just all did our jobs,” said lineman Jeremiah Smith.”Played as one and did our jobs.”
Muscular linebacker T.J. Smith, who has added 15 solid pounds since last season, had another night filled with tackles.
“It was a physical game,” he said. “Our defensive line did a great job and made it a lot easier for the linebackers.”
COVERED BRIDGE: Safety Connor Bridges picked off a pass on Friday, but his interception was erased by a penalty.
West fans will remember seeing an uncharacteristic five turnovers against South Pointe lead to a Falcon defeat two weeks ago.
Against Statesville, it looked like an interception return for a touchdown would lead to the Falcons’ undoing as Breon Borders took a Connor Edwards pass back 81 yards to take an 8-7 lead.
But this time, turnovers would not be the Falcons’ undoing. West came back to reclaim the lead on a Hobie Proctor field goal, and two late Dinkin Miller touchdowns sealed it.
“I’m proud of the resiliency our kids showed after we lost the lead,” West coach Scott Young said. “That was the best part of the win.”
MILLER’S TALE: Dinkin Miller’s big night helped him pass Leonard Atkins (Salisbury, 2,578) in career rushing yards for the county. He is now the county’s 17th-leading rusher in the modern era after his third-straight 100-yard game. Miller’s 144-yard night gave him 12 100-yard games and 2,683 yards for his career.
PARKS WATCH: Young and some of the West coaching staff made the trip to Chapel Hill Saturday to see K.P. Parks run for Virginia.
“We get a win and we get to load up and go see K.P. tomorrow,” Young said. “Love that kid. He did so much for our program and this school and our community.”
Parks ran for 98 yards in the 28-17 loss to UNC.
NO ZAY CAN WE SEE: The Falcons were without starting quarterback Zay Laster, left tackle Mike Norman and DB C.J. Ellis, who was hurt in the South Pointe game.
Good news for the Falcons, however. Norman is back.
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan was asked who his Special Teams Player of the Week was after a 56-0 victory over Winston-Salem Atkins.
“Anybody who kicks eight extra points,” Pinyan replied.
That would be Michael Mazur.
Mazur has been practically automatic for the Hornets. His 27 PATs and one field goal has him tied for third in county scoring.
“And he’s not a selfish kid,” Pinyan pointed out.
Pinyan had pulled up little brother Stephen Mazur from the jayvees and at halftime, Michael urged Pinyan to let him kick off in the second half, which he did. But kicking off was it for Stephen.
“Michael wasn’t going to give up the extra points,” Pinyan chuckled.
OFFENSE TO DEFENSE: There was a time when Dejoun Jones and Keion Adams were thought to be the next great running-back tandem. Now, they’re both creating havoc on defense.
Cornerback Jones was the team’s Defensive Player of the Week. He broke up a pass and carried a fumble into the end zone Friday. Jones also turned many running plays back for other people to make the tackle.
“He has great size for a cornerback,” Pinyan said of Jones.
STAT SHEET STUFFER: And then, there’s William Brown, who plays the Hornet position. There were a lot of initials beside his name on the board where players are graded. He was all over the stat sheet.
Brown had a hit for loss. He forced a fumble. He broke up a pass. In the end, Brown was credited by Pinyan for making six big plays.
“And he wasn’t in but 22 plays,” Pinyan said.
TURNOVERS: Robin Moulton, Clint Comadoll and Jared Hardin had fumble recoveries for the Hornets.
If you’re thinking East coaches and players were thrilled to play heavily favored Carson close on Friday, you’re thinking wrong.
“We really feel like we should’ve won this ballgame, but penalties kept stopping us,” coach Chad Tedder said. “We feel like we should be 2-3 right now instead of 0-5.”
East also believes it should’ve beaten North Rowan — and maybe it should have — but six turnovers killed the Mustangs in that one.
LOTS OF D: East’s mostly undersized defense has made major strides since the season began.
“They caused us some problems,” Woody said. “They were bringing eight and nine into the box, and we were stubborn and kept trying to run the ball when there were too many guys to block.”
Madison Hedrick, Dock Corpening and Casey Padgett recovered Carson fumbles on Friday. Wesley LeRoy, usually covering Carson’s top receiver K.J. Pressley, had three pass breakups and Dalton Bost also had one.
Hedrick and Dustin Mowery broke through for sacks.
East’s defense played so well that it was a 13-7 game late. The Mustangs had a chance to get a winning drive started but a muffed punt was recovered by Carson’s Patrick Ratliff.
Coach Jason Rollins looks at the offensive numbers and shakes his head.
“Funny, but we’re focused on getting the running game going and we’ve got a passing game established,” he said.
The best passing game in the county, to be exact.
Nathan Lambert leads Rowan in passing with 939 yards and in total yardage (1,015).
“I’m real proud of Nathan sitting in the pocket,” Rollins said. “Our offensive line is doing a great job giving him that time.”
The line is all juniors and sophomores, led by Clint Meece. Rollins ripped off names like Weston Faulkner, Andrew Mauldin, B.J. Morrison, Brock Miller and Zack Stirewalt as standouts.
“Meece is a good leader for that group,” Rollins said. “They’re only going to get better. And they know what to do in the offseason to get better.”
NOT PRETTY: Rollins had a few choice words for West Iredell coach Mark Weycker after Friday night’s game. Rollins said Weycker had his Warriors throwing bombs late in the game while up 33-7. The final was 47-15.
“It’s frustrating to see someone humiliate kids,” Rollins said. “I said my piece. We’re moving on. I thought our kids handled it well when it was over.”
BECK’S A BEAUTY: While Brandon Williams and Josh Medlin get most of the attention as receivers, Rollins said Logan Beck has really played well this season.
“Logan has been that quiet guy who works hard and runs good routes,” Rollins said. “He’s a kid you can consistently count on.”
Beck has 10 catches for 71 yards going into Friday’s home game against West Rowan.
The Cavaliers were punchless in Friday’s 34-0 loss to South Stanly, the first time they’d ever lost to the Rebel Bulls.
North was held below 100 yards of offense for the third time this season, and North’s biggest passing game of the season is still 76 yards.
ZEROES: North has been shut out three times in the second half this season.
RECOVERING: Cavaliers Daylon Gray and Will Robertson pounced on South Stanly fumbles, bringing North’s total for the season to 13.
MUST WIN: North travels to East Montgomery tomorrow for a must-win if the defending champs are going to be a factor in the YVC race.
North has demolished East Montgomery 40-12 and 34-7 the past two seasons.
Believe it or not, former standout Javon Hargrave scored three defensive touchdowns for the Cavaliers in those two games, while East Montgomery managed just one offensive TD.
A.L. Brown assistant coach Scott Jordan liked the way quarterback Brandon Eppinger took advantage of tall receivers Keeon Johnson (6-foot-3) and Terrance Highsmith (6-2) in Friday’s 48-0 destruction of Robinson.
Highsmith caught two TD passes in a breakout game.
“He really used the height of his receivers well,” Jordan said. “He put the ball up there and gave them a chance to make plays.”
Eppinger has quietly completed 60 percent of his passes for 568 yards and seven TDs, with two interceptions.
He’s had two huge games, although the two games in which he’s struggled were against Porter Ridge and Shelby, the two best teams the Wonders have faced.
Eppinger started slowly Friday, missing a couple of slants, but then he got on a roll.
SHUTOUT: Brown’s defense turned in its first shutout in quite a while.
Brown had gone 26 games without putting a zero on the scoreboard — since the Wonders blanked Central Cabarrus in the middle of the 2009 season.
It was a nice bounce-back effort after being torched for 500-plus yards by Porter Ridge.
“The defense responded well in practice all week and we played a solid game,” assistant coach Noah Lyon said.
LOTT PARTY: On the same weekend that Jamill Lott made his first reception for Appalachian State, his little brother J.P. returned an interception 80 yards for a TD against Robinson.
The Lotts are the sons of James Lott, the former Clemson star who is DBs coach for the Wonders.
SHERRILL: Brown head coach Mike Newsome acknowledged that former South Rowan back Ricky Sherrill, who had been Rowan’s leading rusher three weeks into the season, was now enrolled at Brown.
Newsome said the talented Sherrill will not play this season.
Presented with all his options, Sherrill (5-10, 213) still wanted to stay in school at Brown. He’s expected to be an important member of the team as a senior in 2012.
It takes the full roster.
Probably only Kurtis Banner’s family knew who he was before Friday’s heroics, but Banner came off the bench to save Davie’s 22-17 win against Thomasville after Caleb Mathis had to leave the game with cramps.
Banner produced a game-saving interception, swiping the ball from a Thomasville receiver in the end zone.
Davie, which had just one pick in its first four games, got three on Friday. Mathis and Trevon Faulkner also intercepted passes.
PEEBLES NOT FEEBLE: Jae-Re Peebles, one of Davie’s top receivers, had dislocated both shoulders this season but vows to play on.
He had an 80-yard TD catch against Thomasville.
Another Peebles, tackle Cameron Peebles, led the charge for Davieagainst the Bulldogs.
Mike London, Ronnie Gallagher, Ryan Bisesi and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.