Friday Night Hero: East's Rowan's Corey Darrah
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — Corey Darrah’s shoulders, arms and legs are scraped and scuffed like a pair of old loafers — lingering badges of honor.
Don’t feel bad for Darrah. He dished out more than he got on Friday. He’s a fullback. He’s supposed to be scraped and scuffed.
Wideouts run deep. Quarterbacks run around. Tailbacks run wide. Fullbacks? They run up the middle.
The fullback’s job description hasn’t changed since leather-helmeted Bronko Nagurski ran up the middle for Minnesota’s Golden Gophers in the 1920s.
Darrah is suited for duty between the tackles. He’s built low to the ground at 5-foot-7, 190 pounds, but he owns a chest and biceps that 6-foot-4, 230-pound lineman would envy. His shirt looks like it might explode any time.
“He’s worked really hard in the weight room,” East coach Chad Tedder said. “I’d say he’s a tough kid. He speaks his mind. He motivates his teammates. It’s never been about him — always the team.”
Darrah didn’t play a lot as a junior. He backed up Chris Moore. But he had the game of his life Friday when East beat South Rowan 21-0. His performance was no accident. Darrah had been building toward it since the first day of August.
Darrah works on weekends (Jimmy’s Lakeside Restaurant). If he’s not working, he’s lifting weights.
Darrah is a senior, and East doesn’t have enough seniors to be tackling the schedule it has. Not just the NPC stuff. The Mustangs also took on Salisbury and Concord, a pair of 8-1 teams.
“It’s been a rough season,” Darrah understated.
East looked hopeless opening night, losing to Salisbury 51-0. It could’ve been 75-0. SHS coach Joe Pinyan showed mercy, but the Mustangs looked like a sure 0-10 team.
In Week 2, East was smashed by Concord 58-0, but it never stopped plugging.
In Week 4, East outplayed Hickory Ridge in the second half. Progress.
In Week 6, East gave Carson all it wanted. In Week 7, East beat West Iredell in the trenches. Then in Week 9, East rushed for a season-high 306 yards and won at South.
“The offensive line stepped up and blocked,” Darrah said. “I saw some good cutbacks. I broke some tackles.”
Tedder was elated, but he wasn’t shocked by what the Mustangs accomplished.
“The weakness for our program and for South’s right now is our linemen, but I thought we’d be better upfront than they were,” Tedder said. “I thought we could do things.”
Darrah barreled for 9 yards on his first carry. Later, he chugged for 32 yards. Then 22. Then 20. By halftime, he had a career-high 110 rushing yards. He finished with 133. His previous best had been 51.
During a rainy week, Darrah pushed himself, even when the Mustangs had to practice in the school gym.
“South’s one of our big rivals,” he said. “I prepared just as hard as I could.”
It was supposed to be a tossup. Instead, East dominated the line of scrimmage, out-rushing the Raiders 306-87.
“We’d played some good first halves and some good second halves,” Darrah said. “This time we put it together. We started hard. We finished hard. I’m glad we got a win.”