Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 6
From staff reports
The prep football notebook …
Carson’s Dontae Gilbert has been outstanding all year long and that revved up Salisbury’s Dejoun Jones, according to Hornet coach Joe Pinyan. Jones wanted to prove he should be in the conversation when it comes to the county’s top defensive back.
The senior cornerback locked up Carson’s best receiver K.J. Pressley in a 43-7 Hornet rout, Pinyan noted.
“Dejoun was pretty much the guy who was shutting him down,” Pinyan said.
Jones also returned punts and did a good job.
HE’S SPECIAL: Linebacker Kavari Hillie was Salisbury’s special teams player of the week.
“He was zeroing in and tattooing people all over the place,” Pinyan said. “They didn’t want to kick off to us anymore. Kavari’s hits were rated R. You wouldn’t want to let your children watch it.”
NO HUDDLE: Salisbury may have found something in the no-huddle offense. The Hornets zoomed up and down the field on Carson.
“It allowed us to go fast,” Pinyan said. “It kept them from changing defenses. That’s going to be a weapon for us.”
The Hornets finished with a season-high 419 yards rushing. A big part of that was the blocking of tackles Garrett Yelton and Jalen Warren.
Don’t be surprised to see the no-huddle when Salisbury opens its CCC schedule at West Davidson on Friday.
PETE’S TEAMS: Salisbury honored the great 1970s teams of Pete Stout, and the Hornets wore the traditional black because of it.
“We normally don’t wear black jerseys,” Pinyan said. “But the kids wanted to.”
Former players loved it.
“Those guys had a great time,” Pinyan said. “They sat up there talking football and watching a great football game. And the best part of all, they saw a Hornet win.”
Banged-up and bruised, the Falcons still continued their long county (10 years, 39 games) and NPC winning streaks in Friday’s 52-12 victory against South Rowan.
Zay Laster (ankle) made it through the game at QB, although he was limited. Connor Edwards (finger), the backup, dressed out for emergency purposes only.
With the game in hand, coach Scott Young got Laster off the field, and wideout Jarvis Morgan took shotgun snaps in West’s version of the “Wildcat.”
Morgan is talented enough that he broke one of his three carries for a 40-yard TD.
“Kind of a crazy play,” Morgan said. “Just very good blocking.”
Morgan also made a leaping catch for a score in the end zone.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH: While West limited South to 12 points, the Raiders did keep the ball most of the first half.
Young was dismayed.
South had 48 snaps against us in the first half, and we shouldn’t allow 48 snaps in an entire ballgame,” he said. “We need three-and-outs. We were absolutely horrible tonight in stopping them on third down and getting our defense off the field.”
MILLER’S THE MAN: Tailback Dinkin Miller had a much heavier first-half workload than usual because West’s other fine tailback Desmond Jackson was sitting out with bruised ribs.
Miller answered the bell. He had 199 yards on 13 carries by halftime, with eight rushes producing double-digit gains.
“I still felt fresh,” Miller said with a smile. “We were getting great blocks on the edge and we were scoring quickly.”
STILL SEARCHING: While West is 4-2 and a few plays from 6-0, none of the Falcons are content with where they are right now.
“I’m still waiting for us to get on a roll,” Morgan said. “Still waiting on us to get back to playing West Rowan football.”
LIKE OLD TIMES: Trey Cuthbertson’s punt return against South was West’s third kick return TD of the season. The others were by Morgan and C.J. Ellis.
Last season, West got seven kick return TDs from Eric Cowan and Trey Mashore.
NICE RECORD: Young has 100 more coaching wins than losses. He’s a neat 139-39 after Friday’s victory.
South’s opening drive against West got fans excited — 14 plays, 80 yards, touchdown.
“That was impressive,” Young said. “South overcame penalties and they overcame losses.”
Dominique Garlin’s second effort produced a first down on third-and-1 to get things rolling. Then when South looked stopped — facing fourth-and-7 at the West 45 — QB Nathan Lambert took a snap out of punt formation and passed to Jordan Kennerly for a first down.
Eric Tyler got the TD on a surprise draw play on third-and-18 from the West 32.
South’s momentum disappeared after that, though, a victim of West’s offensive power and defensive quickness. The Falcons scored the next 52 before Lambert passed to Garlin for a TD.
CAN’T STOP ‘EM: South’s defensive issues — 47 points per game allowed — have been discussed to death, but they were evident again on Friday as West emphatically spoiled homecoming.
West’s Miller is going to break arm tackles, and he broke them just about every time he touched the ball.
The play that essentially ended the game came in the final seconds of the first half, with West leading 25-6.
South declined a West penalty for an ineligible receiver to force the Falcons into a fourth-and-7 at the South 41, but Miller broke a series of tackles on the next snap for the backbreaking touchdown.
“Tackling is just a real sore spot for us right now,” South coach Jason Rollins admitted. “The kids know it. The coaches know it. It’s not like we’re not working on it.”
NO BRANDON: Against West Rowan, South missed receiver/DB Brandon Williams, one of the team’s better athletes.
Williams was ejected from South’s loss to West Iredell after a hit on the Warriors’ holder on a PAT. He sat the rest of that game and sat Friday, but Rollins said it’s his understanding that Williams will be eligible to play Friday when South has a chance for its first win at North Iredell.
Williams has 17 catches for 279 yards and two scores and his absence contributed to West holding Josh Medlin, the Raiders’ leading receiver, to just one catch.
“We missed Brandon,” Lambert said. “He’s made big plays for us all year.”
SHALLOW: South’s biggest issue is depth. The Raiders are wearing out against teams such as Salisbury, A.L. Brown and West that can two-platoon. The Raiders really can’t with their lack of numbers and their lack of speed players.
“We just don’t have four defensive backs, two running backs and four receivers,” Rollins said. “We’ve got to play guys both ways.”
BRIGHT SIDE: On a positive note, Lambert surpassed 1,000 yards passing on Friday, even though he was held to a season-low 105 yards by the Falcons. He’s completed 53 percent of his passes for 1,044 yards and seven TDs.
He’s also the leading rusher on South’s current roster with 116 yards.
There have been East games this season that have required a magnifying glass to find any positives, but Friday’s 39-24 NPC loss to West Iredell on a wet Monday didn’t fit that category.
East’s offensive line turned in strong performance, allowing zero sacks, and 21 of the Mustangs’ 23 rushing plays in the first half produced positive yards.
Calvin Edwards and Corey Darrah ran hard, like they always do, but this time they had holes to run through. East piled up 226 rushing yards, more than it had in its first five games combined.
The speedy Edwards, who had a previous varsity career high of 39 yards, galloped for 102 yards on nine carries and broke runs of 37 and 30.
Darrah, the hard-nosed fullback, punched out 51 yards on 17 carries and gained yardage on 16 of his attempts.
“I don’t think it was any one person or any one thing,” East coach Chad Tedder said. “It was just a good collective effort, and that’s what you’re looking for.”
BLUE MONDAY: Tedder was apprehensive his winless team wouldn’t show up on a rain-delayed Monday in front of a relatively sparse crowd.
“I thought we might be flat,” he said. “Instead, we went right out and stopped ’em the first two times they had the ball. I was pretty thrilled with some things we did. We proved we could play with a good team. Hopefully, tonight will be a bug that everyone catches.”
GOOD CALL: There’s no better trick play in football than the halfback pass. The DBs always seems to get sucked in, and a receiver always seems to be open deep.
The tough part of the equation is finding a running back who can deliver the ball to the receiver.
Edwards made an OK throw when East employed the play on Monday, and receiver Chris Patterson made it work by coming back to the ball for a 32-yard gain. Patterson is East’s leading receiver with eight catches for 102 yards.
East also executed well on a faked punt, with Edwards taking the snap as the up man and sprinting for a big gain.
MISTAKES: East caught a nice spark in the second half from jayvee QB Noah Drye, but its undoing against West Iredell was early turnovers.
West Iredell has tremendous speed at the right places, and athletes Kam Summers and D.J. Gray turned an interception and a fumble recovery into quick Warrior touchdowns.
“We’re not that athletic on offense,” Tedder said. “Once they got it, we didn’t have anyone out there who was going to catch them.”
East’s defense wasn’t half-bad. West Iredell finished with 46 rushing yards, and the Mustangs sacked talented QB Sayer Robinson four times. Tyler L’hommedieu, Dustin Mowery, Casey Padgett and Cory Livengood were in on sacks, and Dock Corpening had two of East’s three fumble recoveries.
The understatement of the week came from Carson coach Mark Woody.
“We’re struggling with injuries,’ he said.
Tailback Travis Abbitt has been in and out of the lineup. Now Woody’s lost fullback Chris Barnhardt.
The burly senior, who has been playing on a gimpy knee, reinjured it in the 43-7 loss to Salisbury.
“We’ll figure out something,” Woody said.
He added he would probably put one of his offensive linemen at fullback, a critical blocking position in Carson’s I-formation offense.
“In all honesty, we’ll have to put a guard back there,” Woody said.
MORE ABBITT: Abbitt didn’t play against Salisbury but he could make it into Friday’s home game against Statesville.
“”Knock on wood, we think he’ll play this week,” Woody said.
BOTH WAYS: Having so many banged-up players has forced the Cougars to use their linemen on both sides of the ball. Daniel Rodriguez and Mitch Galloway went both ways Friday.
“With the injuries we felt we needed to cross-train some people,” Woody said. “(Rodriguez and Galloway) are big strong kids. It probably helped us overall. But we don’t want to make a living on that. We’re trying to figure out how to make it happen.”
YOUNG GUNS: Woody has had to rely on very young kids. Brandon Sloop, a 14-year-old freshman, joins sophomore defenders like Myquon Stout, Will Zentmeyer and Patrick Ratliff in the starting lineup.
“We’ve got a 14-year-old kid that we’re relying on,” Woody said. “They’re not ready. They’re good, but they need to be on jayvees. That’s just how it is.”
Johnny Oglesby was effective running the reverse against East Montgomery, gaining 38 and 41 yards on two of the three carries he had.
With the Cavaliers facing fourth-and-10 with 2:03 left and a 23-20 deficit, they needed another big play from Oglesby, but East snuffed it out. Oglesby never got past the defensive front on the decisive snap.
“It was a reverse pass,” North coach Tasker Fleming said. “I don’t know what he saw inside. That play’s not any more important than the fumble in the end zone.”
The 77 yards on the ground was a season-best for Oglesby.
“They got us earlier with the reverse,” East Montgomery coach Anthony Timmons said. “That time we saw it coming.”
SURPRISE: Defensive linemen usually don’t get the chance to jump into passing lanes, but North’s Justin Ogg stepped in front of a short pass over the middle from Avery Jackson for an interception.
X-MAN: Sophomore Xavier Robinson had his most complete game of the year with 19 carries, 97 yards and two touchdowns.
“We did some good things tonight with the running game,” Fleming said.
SHORT WEEK: North has to gear up for a two-game week with North Moore at home Friday. The Cavs hope the short week doesn’t effect their efforts in the home conference opener.
“We could have played it Friday, Saturday, Monday, it didn’t matter,” Fleming said.
Even on a team that has two special running backs, a quarterback who’s thrown for 10 TDs and a major college prospect at wideout, the talk at A.L. Brown these days is about defense.
That’s because the Wonders have opened SPC action with back-to-back shutouts.
They celebrated homecoming with a 65-0 rout of Central Cabarrus.
“Even our second-team and third-team guys have gone out there with focus and have maintained shutouts,” defensive ends coach Lanny Gray said. “Everyone wants that goose egg.”
TOUGH CHALLENGE: To put up another goose egg Friday, Brown has to contain Cox Mill QB Arrick Hincher, who has size (6-3, 205) and speed.
The Wonders respect Hincher, the talented triggerman for a veer offense.
“We’ve played against Hincher two years already, so we know this kid is pretty good and we know we have to be sound tackling the quarterback,” Gray said. “He has similarities to the quarterback at Porter Ridge (Lee McNeill), who gave us trouble — the difference being Porter Ridge runs the option from shotgun and Hincher’s going to be under center.”
Head coach Mike Newsome is new to 3A ball and is still learning the nuances of opponents he’s never seen live. He relies on the input of coaches like Gray, a 1992 Brown grad who is in his fourth year on the coaching staff.
BURGER KING: Newsome promised a steak dinner for any Wonder who produced five sacks in a game and almost had to reach for his wallet Friday when end Shakil Gore had four sacks.
“I probably should get the kid a cheeseburger, anyway,” Newsome said with a laugh.
SPECIAL GAME: Believe it or not, Gore wasn’t the Wonders’ defensive player of the week, although he did get the special teams award for blocking a field goal.
Defensive honors went to linebacker Micah Miller.
“Miller played a lot and didn’t miss many assignments,” Newsome said. “He graded very high.”
FIRED UP: The seventh-ranked Wonders aren’t just expecting to win, they’re expecting to dominate.
“We’ve got a new coach, but he understands the tradition here,” Gray said. “He’s brought new ideas and new enthusiasm. These kids and these coaches are ready to follow him 100 percent.”
Davie’s surprisingly easy 56-12 pounding of Hibriten on Friday — its fourth straight victory since an 0-2 start — was the War Eagles’ biggest romp since they mashed Berry Academy 56-0 in 2007.
“I’m very pleased with where we’re at,” coach Doug Illing said. “We’ve gotten better every day.”
A.J.: Special teams terror A.J. Blaskievich was all over the field against Hibriten, which graduated 20 starters from last year’s powerhouse.
WILDCAT: Davie unveiled its version of the “Wildcat” against Hibriten, with electrifying receiver Nate Jones taking shotgun snaps.
Jones broke a 68-yard scoring run.
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London, Ryan Bisesi and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.