Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 6
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011
From staff reports
The prep notebook …
Coaches want their quarterbacks to be leaders and South Rowan’s Nathan Lambert was just that Friday night in the Raiders’ 14-7 victory at North Iredell.
Twice, South had been stopped on downs inside the five and now, with time running out, Lambert was eight yards away from paydirt in a 7-7 contest. He came to the sidelines to tell coach Jason Rollins the quarterback draw would work.
“Nathan said, ‘Coach, I promise you that’s open,’ ” Rollins recalled. “It shows leadership out of the kid. You get to the red zone and you want your quarterback to step up.”
As Lambert predicted, he easily trotted in for the winning points with just 1:32 left.
“It opened up like the Red Sea,” Rollins smiled.
GOOD HANDS PEOPLE: Lambert, the county’s leading passer, was also smart enough to not force things. Seven different receivers — Dominique Garlin, Brandon Williams, Logan Beck, Drew Glenn, Daveon Perry, Eric Tyler and Josh Medlin —caught his 16 passes.
“They’re getting open,” Rollins said. “It makes life a lot easier.”
HE’S BACK: No Raider looked forward to Friday’s game more than Williams. The senior receiver had been ejected for the second half of the West Iredell game. The NCHSAA said he was to miss a game. The school suspended him for a game.
So when the second half of the North Iredell game started, Williams was pumped.
“At halftime, I said, ‘Here’s your chance. You’re a senior. Take charge and get it done.’” Rollins said. “Oh man, not many kids could pull off what he did.”
In the final 24 minutes, Williams caught three passes for 62 yards and made the biggest interception of the season. He picked off North in the final seconds to preserve South’s first win.
WE’LL TAKE IT: Rollins praised the play of defensive end Devin Mason and center B.J. Morrison. It wasn’t a perfectly played game overall by the Raiders, but a win is a win is a win.
“It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “But you’ve got to look back and say time ran out, we won the ballgame and move on.”
NO O-FERS: South’s 14-7 win against North Iredell was its ninth without a loss in the series.
The victory assured South that it can’t lose them all. The Raiders have never officially gone O-fer in their 51 years of football, although they needed a forfeit to avoid 0-10 in 1970.
Jarvis Morgan was only the second West player to catch four touchdown passes in a game. He nearly had five touchdowns when he reeled in a 42-yard pass in the open field late in the second quarter, but was tripped up by the East defense and couldn’t keep his balance.
“When I caught it, I tried to use my hand to stay up, but it didn’t work,” Morgan said.
Horatio Everhart had four touchdown catches in a 2000 playoff game against High Point Andrews.
East Rowan’s Jamey Small, a former Catawba player and now a UNC Pembroke graduate assistant, was the last player in the county to have four TD grabs in a game. He accomplished the feat against North Iredell in 2004.
MORE STREAKS: The win against East Rowan was the 40th-straight county victory. West’s county dominance is now over a decade old. The last time the Falcons lost to a county opponent was Sept. 7, 2001 in a 26-14 defeat to North Rowan.
MILLER TIME: Dinkin Miller, the county’s leading rusher, had his fifth consecutive 100-yard game against East. Miller ran for 128 yards with 18 carries. He has a good chance to break 1,000 yards Friday as he sits with 945 after seven games.
INJURIES: Running back Desmond Jackson came back after suffering some bruised ribs and ran 18 times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
“He probably could have went last week if we needed him too,” Young said. “It was better just to rest him and get him healthy.”
Young says quarterback Zay Laster is still not at 100 percent after suffering an ankle injury several weeks back. Laster completed 9 of 13 passes for a season-best 174 yards against East.
Salisbury offensive tackle Garrett Yelton’s season — and possibly his career — is over.
In what coach Joe Pinyan termed a cheap shot by West Davidson after watching the film, Yelton was bashed by a West Davidson player on a kickoff during the Hornets’ 59-0 win. Pinyan said Yelton was nowhere near the play when he was hit.
It was Yelton’s third concussion in three years. Doctors in the emergency room told Pinyan three’s usually the magic number to tell a player it’s over.
“We’re going to find a way to keep him around,” Pinyan said. “We’re going to let him coach his replacement.”
Tyler Allen, already playing on a gimpy leg, came in on Friday and performed admirably. Pinyan also may turn to defensive linemen Jared Hardin, Sam Humble and Scott Givens for help.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Dominique Dismuke won the team’s offensive award with 162 yards rushing and four touchdowns. But his blocking was the key.
“Dominique’s the reason Dejoun (Jones, 134 yards rushing) was able to be successful,” Pinyan said. “We were tickled with his effort.”
• Linebacker Kavari Hillie was the defensive player. Only in for 32 plays, Hillie recorded 11 hits, two for losses.
• The special teams award went to Keion Adams, who had one of the hardest hits of the year when he leveled the quarterback.
“Occasionally, he’ll get one of those,” Pinyan said. “We need him to make that an everyday event.”
BIG D: It was the third shutout of the year for a defense that returned eight starters. Pinyan credited assistant coaches Ryan Crowder and David Johnson.
“You can’t put into words what those guys do on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “And of course, you’ve got No. 43 (Hillie) over there.”
TION UPDATE: All-county defensive back Tion McCain has been nursing a knee injury suffered in the Hornets’ only loss of the year to West Rowan four weeks ago. He had a tear in his MCL scoped and is hitting the weights and doing rehab.
“Now, it’s a matter of strengthening the muscles on both sides of the knee,” Pinyan said.
Don’t expect Neon Tion to play Friday against Central Davidson.
“He’s questionable at best,” Pinyan said.
North Rowan’s 60-0 win against North Moore on Friday marked the most points ever scored by the Cavaliers and their largest margin of victory ever.
The previous most prolific points production came in a 59-6 romp against Central Davidson in 1961, the fourth year North was open. That was the night the late Mike Steele scored five rushing TDs, a feat that still hasn’t been duplicated at North — although J.R. Neely had five receiving TDs in a game in 1997 and Mark Sturgis Jr. had four rushing TDs and a punt-return TD in a 2003 contest.
Steele once told the Post that the reason he scored all those touchdowns was North lineman Robert “Hoss” Myers. Steele said Central tacklers couldn’t see him coming behind the imposing figure of Myers, who went on to be the hero of the 1962 East-West All-Star Game.
Fifty years after he led the blocking for Steele, Myers is still part of the North program as an assistant coach. That’s an amazing feat to star for a team that set a school record that stood 50 years — and also part of the team that finally broke it.
SHORT FIELDS: While North Rowan had its best offensive game against North Moore, it put up all those points without staggering individual numbers. The Cavaliers rushed for a season-high 243 yards and passed efficiently for 96, but mostly it was short fields that led to the stream of points.
Thanks to interceptions by Michael Robinson and Denzel Price, a nice punt return by Parker Smith and a bad snap on a North Moore punt, the Cavaliers were able to start five scoring drives in North Moore territory — from the 19, 23, 25, 30 and 41-yard lines.
BLOWOUT: In the second half, North Rowan built on its huge lead with breakaway runs by Trey Clark and Xavier Robinson, but it’s not like the Cavaliers were running it up. They threw only once after halftime.
PASSING LANE: T.J. Allen threw the ball effectively on Friday — 4-for-5 for 87 yards and two scores.
Jalen Cook and Tyler Watlington reeled in TDs, while Kenyatta Thomas had two nice catches.
“That was Allen’s best game all year throwing the football,” coach Tasker Fleming said.
FRESH FACES: There was temporary confusion in a mostly hilarious North Rowan pressbox crammed with the P.A. man, athletics director Bryan Mills and the baseball, wrestling, volleyball and tennis coaches.
Most of the confusion involved trying to determine who the heck No. 33 was. On one roster, Jareke Chambers, who was taking some snaps at quarterback, was listed as both No. 33 and No. 11.
Once the committee of coaches determined that Chambers was wearing No. 11, it still took until after the game to figure out that No. 33 — a freshman who scored two TDs — was Trey Clark.
QUOTH THE RABON: There was more mystery-man excitement when North’s No. 53 made a sack and had another tackle for loss.
Right. Not on the roster.
The coaches agreed it was a Rabon, but apparently there are a matching pair of Rabons, Brandon and Braxton, at North.
After the game, NR assistants decided the one that caused serious problems for North Moore was Brandon.
FRESH FACES: The reason you can’t tell the North players without a scorecard is that Fleming had to dismiss several athletes recently and the Cavaliers are also dealing with several key injuries.
That’s why youngsters such as Chambers, Rabon and Clark got a chance to play on Friday and they performed well.
“They took opportunity and ran with it,” Fleming said.
BIG HITS: Malik Ford, D’Quan Harris and T.J. Nunn delivered loud hits for the Cavaliers in the second half.
It was the Cavaliers’ first shutout since a 12-0 win against South Stanly in the middle of the 2010 season.
The Mustangs opened up the playbook in the second half, letting Calvin Edwards throw the ball twice and allowing for Chris Patterson to complete a 46-yard toss to Jonathan Lowe.
“We had some plays here and there, but they’re such a good football team,” East coach Chad Tedder said. “Even their backups are good.”
HILL INJURY: Tedder said sophomore linebacker Austin Hill suffered a “very, very, very mild” concussion right before halftime when colliding with West quarterback Zay Laster at the goal line. Play was stopped while Hill was taken off on a stretcher.
“He came away basically with a strain in his neck and a bruised shoulder,” Tedder said. “He’ll hopefully be ready for next week.”
OVERMATCHED: After an encouraging effort against West Iredell, playing the Falcons on a homecoming would make it a tough act to follow for East.
“I wish we’d play them the first game of the season so we can go ahead and get it over with,” Tedder said.
East’s touchdown came at the help of West’s high snap on a punt, which gave the Mustangs the ball at the West 1. Three plays later, Noah Drye punched it in and Jantzen Stirewalt added an extra point.
TIME TO DRYE: In his second game behind center, Noah Drye couldn’t match his success from his varsity debut. He did complete five passes for 50 yards and score a touchdown on a one-yard run.
“He intelligent and he wants to work, but its hard to throw him in the starting role against West,” Tedder said.
Mark Woody watched his defense, especially Jeremiah Smith and Myquon Stout, play great against Statesville Friday night — for 31/2 quarters.
Then, Statesville went to the air, overcame a 16-6 fourth-quarter deficit and defeated Carson in the final seconds 22-16.
This one was decided with seven seconds remaining on a long pass. Last year, Statesville won on a long pass with 15 seconds left.
“It was almost identical in the way it happened,” Woody said.
POSITIVES: Woody refuses to let the Cougars feel sorry for themselves.
“We played pretty daggone good defensively and held a team that’s pretty potent to six points until the last eight minutes,” he said. “We want to build on the positives.”
INJURY REPORT: Offensive lineman Devon Peacock shattered his leg on a kickoff and Woody turned to C.J. Cain as his replacement.
“He played very well,” Woody said. “We moved Connor Gantt to tackle and he just came back. It’s been a circus.”
Tailback Travis Abbitt seems to be back from nagging injuries as well, rushing for 99 yards in his most extensive action.
“Travis was upbeat and excited for himself,” Woody said. “I don’t blame him. I’d be excited, too.”
When it was mentioned aloud in the Wonders’ coaches office that A.L. Brown is just one more blanking away from tying the school record for consecutive shutouts, defensive coordinator Noah Lyon groaned.
“Hey, thanks for jinxing us,” he said. “Appreciate it.”
Anyway, here are the facts, as the Wonders prepare to play aerial-minded Mount Pleasant.
Brown has shut out SPC foes Robinson, Central Cabarrus and Cox Mill, the first time the program has posted three straight shutouts since the Bruce Hardin/Bill Wightman days in 1998 when the Wonders stomped SPC foes Harding, East Rowan and Northwest Cabarrus consecutively.
The NWC game was that infamous 97-0 affair you may have heard about. Brown’s defense did its damage without fanfare because all eyes were on record-setting AP North Carolina Player of the Year Nick Maddox. He rushed for 717 yards in those three games.
That streak of shutouts ended with a 28-10 win against Concord.
Twice in their long history, the Wonders have shut out four straight teams.
The 1981 Wonders didn’t make the playoffs, but four of their seven wins were consecutive shutouts of Northwest Cabarrus, Central Cabarrus, Lexington and Wadesboro Bowman.
The other time the Wonders put up four straight zeroes defensively was way back in 1963. That was an interesting 5-5 team that lost 53-0 to Asheboro, but also managed to shut out North Rowan, Statesville, Albemarle and South Rowan in order.
HOLT’S HOPE: Defensive lineman and senior captain Gerald Holt said his dream before league play started was to shut out every team in the SPC.
Sounds crazy (last time we checked Concord was still on the schedule) but roughly 43 percent of Holt’s goal has been accomplished. Can’t take that away from him.
“This school has a blessed football history,” he said. “But that would be something that’s never been done. That’s something people would never forget.”
HEAD GAMES: Brown hasn’t given up a point since its only loss at Porter Ridge.
“We were just too relaxed and not focused when we played Porter Ridge,” Holt said. “They showed us a lot, but we made changes not just to the defensive line but to our whole team. Our mindset definitely changed. We’re doing a much better job of preparing to play.”
CAN’T STOP JAKE: Tight end Jake Brandon’s first high school catch came in the end zone, of all places, in Friday’s 56-0 rout of Cox Mill.
Brandon was wide open after a play-action fake by QB Brandon Eppinger. That’s confusing — it was Brandon-to-Brandon.
Jake’s dad, Jeff, a longtime assistant for the Wonders seemed more pumped up than his low-key son.
“He’s been open a few times, but we’ve never thrown a ball anywhere close to him,” Coach Brandon gushed. “It was his first catch. He didn’t catch one on jayvees. We don’t throw a lot in jayvee games.”
Head coach Mike Newsome tried his best to fire up young Brandon, without a lot of success.
“Hey, Jake, did you see your catch on the Friday night highlights?” Newsome roared.
“Yes, sir,” Jake whispered meekly.
“Well, kid, you don’t have to get so excited about it,” Newsome said with a laugh.
The War Eagles had their best rushing output (340) yards) in 89 games in a 43-13 win over Reynolds in the CPC opener. You have to go back to the 393 yards against Purnell Swett in the 2004 playoffs. Coach Doug Illing praised the offensive line, including Cole Blankenship.
“That’s the pride of our team,” Illing said. “They’re going to win big games for us.”
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London, Ryan Bisesi and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.