Prep Football: West Rowan 54, East Rowan 7
By Ryan Bisesi
MOUNT ULLA — On a night where West Rowan crowned its homecoming queen, the second prettiest thing on the field may have been the play of receiver Jarvis Morgan.
Morgan could have walked off with any one of the ladies that graced the field at halftime, as he stole the show with a career-best four touchdown catches in West’s 54-7 win against East Rowan.
West quarterback Zay Laster found Morgan open on West’s first play from scrimmage for a 51-yard touchdown pass to set the tone. It was the game’s longest play but stated this night would be short.
“It was wide open,” Morgan said.
At one point, Morgan, who had three touchdowns coming into the game, had four catches and four scores all before halftime.
“I just feel blessed,” Morgan said. “Four touchdowns, that’s just unbelievable.”
The senior finished with 146 yards receiving, reminiscent of his 180-yard game against Davie County earlier this year.
It was the 29th straight NPC victory for the Falcons (5-2, 3-0) and the second-straight dominating win against a county opponent.
“[Morgan] deserved to have a big night,” West coach Scott Young said. “He’s one of the best receivers around.”
West is now one of two unbeatens in the conference and took a half-game lead over West Iredell, which had the night off.
Running the ball, West’s Dinkin Miller had his fifth-straight 100-yard game to give him 945 yards for the year. After sitting out last Friday with bruised ribs, Desmond Jackson had 83 yards on 18 carries for West.
Defensively, West held East to just nine rushing yards and three first downs.
Laster, who battled an ankle sprain in recent weeks, completed 9 of 13 passes for 174 yards. He threw his health to the wind on a leap into the end zone in heavy traffic just eight seconds before halftime.
“That quarterback looked pretty dang healthy to me,” East coach Chad Tedder said.
The score made it 41-0 at the break.
“I see a great, explosive side of that play,” Young said. “I also see a lack of ball security in that play. Let’s get the explosiveness, but let’s do it while we’re taking care of the football and I’ll be perfectly happy.”
East forced a fourth-down on West’s second possession where C.J. Ellis took the fake and ran 35 yards to the Mustang 9-yard line. One play later, Laster hit Morgan on a curl for his second touchdown.
East, encouraged from the positives it saw against West Iredell Monday, picked a bad time to come to Mount Ulla, not that there’s ever a good time. The Mustangs (0-7, 0-3) did cause two turnovers on a fumble and interception on three days rest.
“The first half, we didn’t play very hard,” Tedder said. “We played hard in the second half.”
After East’s Casey Padgett recovered a fumble at the West 37, West defensive back Najee Tucker intercepted a pass and went 65 yards for the score to make it 21-0 with West only having run 10 plays. Morgan added touchdown catches of 16 and 14 yards before halftime on a banner night. The wildcat formation called for Morgan to take snaps where he ran four times for 44 yards in the second half.
“We’re starting to get healthier as a team,” Young said. “I’m not pleased with the kick coverage, putting the ball on the ground and throwing an interception. We’re not there yet, but I think we’re moving in the right direction finally.”
East QB Noah Drye, just in his second game of varsity action, had the lone score on a 1-yard push three plays after West had a high snap on a punt. Drye threw for 50 yards while Chris Patterson tossed a 46-yard bomb to Jonathan Lowe in the second half for the Mustangs’ longest play from scrimmage.
Jackson and Marquise Drummer found the end zone in the second half for West. Drummer ran 10 times for 49 yards.
“That’s a good football team,” Tedder said. “They’re three-time defending state champs for a reason.”