Prep Football: West Iredell 39, East Rowan 24

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 27, 2011

By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — Lightning flashed to the tune of an hour delay and rain poured at times, but optimists could see black clouds departing from East Rowan’s football program.
East lost 39-24 to visiting NPC opponent West Iredell in Monday’s makeup, but you couldn’t blame ER coach Chad Tedder for almost smiling.
“That’s a very good West Iredell football team, but we played with them,” Tedder said. “I thought we were more physical than they were, and I thought we won the fight upfront on both sides of the ball.”
There weren’t just intermittent flashes of hope in this one, there were actually tangible reasons to get excited about the rest of East’s season.
“The second half, we stopped blaming each other for the mistakes that had happened and came together a lot,” said East fullback Corey Darrah, who scored East’s final touchdown.
Noah Drye, who’s been quarterbacking the East jayvees, ran for two second-half TDs in a relief role, looked like a natural option QB and likely lifted himself into the competition to be directing the varsity. Drye banged up a hand, but he was sharp enough that Tedder will have a decision to make.
East sophomore Calvin Edwards rushed for 102 yards, completed a halfback pass and was electric on kickoff returns. He had to swap a bloody No. 1 jersey for No. 20 at halftime, but he kept on ticking.
East (0-6, 0-2) out-rushed West Iredell 226-46, and while the Warriors (4-2, 2-0) make their living through the air, that stat says some good things about both East lines.
West Iredell turned the ball over on the first snap of the night, with Tyler L’hommedieu stripping West Iredell QB Sayer Robinson (243 passing yards, four TDs) and Dock Corpening pouncing on the ball. Jantzen Stirewalt’s 33-yard field goal put East ahead 3-0.
East was driving again in the first quarter, but moments after Darrah rolled for a first down at the West Iredell 14, QB Jordan Phillips was picked off by Kam Summers, and the sprinter went nearly the length of the field to score the game-turning TD.
“Their receiver broke on a little 5-yard out, and I didn’t even see the ball at first,” Summers said. “It hit me and I started to juggle it. But when I got control, I was able to go all the way. That turned the momentum.”
West Iredell struck again on defense for a 14-3 lead when D.J. Gray returned a fumble 41 yards to score.
“That’s kind of how we are,” WI coach Mark Weycker said. “We have athletes and they can make big plays. The problem with that is it put our defense on the field the whole first half. It was a strange game, with a strange atmosphere on a Monday. We’re just glad to get the win and go home.”
At one point, East had run 28 offensive plays to four for the Warriors.
Still, it was WI that was cashing in. Robinson threw TD passes to C.J. Gibbs and Vincent Davidson in the second quarter, and the Warriors were in control 26-3 at the break.
East’s second half was solid though, even with the third-quarter lightning delay.
“I’m not happy, but I’m proud,” Tedder said. “I’m pretty proud of the way we played in the second half.”
After Phillips was picked off for the third time, Tedder elected to take a look at Drye calling signals.
Edwards’ 37-yard run on a faked punt keyed a 75-yard march that ended with an 11-yard keeper by Drye that made it 26-10.
Down 39-10, East scored the only two TDs of the fourth quarter.
Drye’s 17-yard completion to Kyler Brown on fourth-and-6 keyed a 69-yard scoring push.
Finally, a determined punt return by human pinball Madison Hedrick handed the Mustangs a short field. That led to Darrah’s TD.
“We saw the jayvee quarterback playing so good and it gave us all some fire,” Brown said. “Our line was blocking the best it has all season. It was just a shame we had all those turnovers early in the game.”