Friday Night Hero: West Rowan's Zay Laster
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan receiver Jarvis Morgan was probably shaking his head when his senior season began.
He was supposed to be a Division I recruit, but who was going to get him the ball now that quarterback B.J. Sherrill was gone? Furthermore, newcomer Zay Laster was thought of as a running, scrambling guy, not a Peyton Manning type.
After Friday night’s 54-7 pasting of East Rowan, the jury was no longer out on Laster. He can throw it with the best of them.
The senior, who transferred in last year from Mallard Creek, threw four touchdown passes — all in the first half and all to Morgan — while running for a score. His versatility is the reason most feel West won’t lose again in the regular season.
“I knew he was going to be special when he came,” Morgan said.
East had no answer for the dynamic duo, but Laster took Friday’s impressive showing (9-of-13 for 174 yards) in stride.
“It was clicking,” he said of himself and Morgan (who had six of those catches for 146). “We’ve been on the same page for a minute now. In the spring, me and him were throwing together. I tried to learn him. I knew he’d be one of my better receivers.
“But we did get rolling Friday night.”
The first dagger was a 51-yard TD on their first play of the first quarter.
“Coach (Scott) Young told us we were going to throw the ball in the first quarter,” Laster said.
By the end of the first 12 minutes, Laster had hooked up with Morgan again from 9 and 18 yards out. Early in the second, it was a 14-yard scoring play.
And just for good measure, Laster got a block from Dinkin Miller and ran one in from 9 yards with six seconds left before halftime, giving West a 41-0 lead.
“I got flushed out of the pocket going to my left,” Laster noted. “My adrenaline got going so I ran.”
That touchdown was significant considering Laster has been nursing a sprained ankle for about three weeks.
“It’s actually doing a lot better,” Laster reported. “It’s still a little sore, but it’s good enough for me to go. When I move certain ways, it hurts a little bit. The hardest part is starting and stopping. If I get started, I can run.”
And the Laster-Morgan combination has West on a good run. The Falcons have won three straight and are 5-2 overall. They’re 3-0 in the NPC. And the air attack is a big reason.
“He’s gotten a lot better,” said Young. “Sometimes, we forget some things mechanically. Old habits are hard to break. But he’s shown the ability to be very accurate in the passing game.”
Laster knew that part of his game had to improve when he joined the team back in the spring.
“I was looking to be a starter so I knew I had to complete passes,” he said.
Morgan makes that goal easier.
“When Jarvis has one-on-one, I’ll take that,” Laster smiled.
East Rowan could do nothing to stop either.
“Just one of those nights,” Morgan said.
Laster hopes to have a few more before the season’s over.