Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 9
The prep notebook …
East looked so weak in its opener against Salisbury that the Post’s “Common Sense” prediction for the Concord-East game in Week 2 declared there was a better chance of aliens landing in Granite Quarry than of East beating the Spiders.
There were no extra-terrestrial sightings that night. Concord romped 58-0. But the Mustangs obviously remembered.
After beating South 21-0 on Friday, fullback Corey Darrah offered with a smile, “Well, I guess those aliens finally landed.”
FORMER QBS: Hats off to senior Jonathan Lowe and junior Jordan Phillips, who were competing for the QB job when the season started.
Both were displaced by talented sophomore Noah Drye, but rather than pouting, they’re contributing.
Moved to receiver, Phillips had two nice catches Friday.
Lowe came in after Drye was shaken up and broke two long scrambles to set up a touchdown.
MADISON’S GARDEN: Safety Madison Hedrick keyed East’s defense on Friday with great coverage and several breakups.
“Madison just had an unbelievable game,” cornerback Wesley LeRoy said. “We worked all week on every type of pass they might throw, and we were all pretty comfortable back there.”
East coach Chad Tedder had praise for Hedrick.
“He’s one of the toughest little safeties I’ve ever coached,” he said.
SAY WHAT?: East junior linebacker/tight end Tyler L’Hommedieu has an unusual surname that obviously has French origins. L’Hommedieu translates into English basically as “Man of God.”
East’s win against South made “Football Friday Night,” and one of the key plays shown was Drye’s TD toss to L’Hommedieu.
Confronted with the name for the first time, popular host Delano Little was temporarily tongue-tied and thrown for a loss. It came out Lomalomaloma — or something like that.
Anyway, the Mustangs were grateful for the air-time and got a big kick out of it.
“Hey, he made Tyler sound Hawaiian,” a Mustang said cheerfully.
For the record, it’s pronounced — La-hom-uh-do.
AIR KYLER: Drye’s other TD pass went to Kyler Brown, who made a nice jumping catch despite tight coverage by South’s Jordan Kennerly.
“I think he might even have tipped it a little bit,” Brown said.
With running back Desmond Jackson off the team for disciplinary reasons, coach Scott Young has gone to speedy sophomore Daisean Reddick.
Reddick racked up 69 yards on nine carries in a 54-0 win over North Iredell.
“He’s done some good things in two games,” Young said. “He was the jayvee tailback last year. He’s picked it right up. He’s still got to work on pass protection and one-back things like that but he’s progressing nicely.”
OFFENSE: Young was happy with the blocking of Hunter Mashburn and Mike Norman.
“They had great games,” he said. “They were very dominant.”
Jarvis Morgan continues to be the county’s best receiver. He had five catches for 133 yards.
“He’s had great receiving games three of the last four games,” Young said.
DEFENSE: Young was even prouder of his defense, who stepped up when North Iredell got close to the goal line, once from the 2 and once from the 8.
“Both times we held them out and I like that,” Young said.
Harvey Landy kept his county lead in interceptions by picking off his fourth.
Joe Pinyan likes giving out weekly awards. So who were the winners after the Hornets’ 21-13 win over Lexington?
How about the offense, Coach?
“Didn’t have one. We didn’t play very well.”
OK. How about the defense, Coach?
“Didn’t have one.”
Linebacker Kavari had his ninth straight game of double-figure tackles for the 8-1 Hornets with 12 but Pinyan said he was a non-factor early.
OK. How about special teams, Coach?
Finally, Pinyan gave out a name: tailback Dominique Dismuke.
Down 13-7, Pinyan said the Hornets had to have a big kickoff return. Dismuke gave it to them. Same thing at the start of the second half. Both went out to midfield.
“He was a bit of fresh air that we saw,” said Pinyan, who was unhappy with his team’s play.
“We made mistakes uncharacteristic of a championship ball team,” he said.
HUMBLE PIE: Pinyan did get his usual steady performance from 6-foot-4 defensive lineman Sam Humble, who had a fumble recovery. With Scott Givens out due to sickness, Humble and Jared Hardin had to step it up. Humble finished with seven tackles.
“He quietly does a good job,” Pinyan said. “He’s humble.”
LITTLE BIG MAN: With Givens out, Pinyan turned to 6-foot-2, 265-pound freshman Isaiah Little to help on the defensive line.
“He’s a big one,” Pinyan said of Little, who could be a future force.
NO TION: Star defensive back Tion McCain still hasn’t returned from a knee injury and missed his sixth straight game.
“He was discouraged he didn’t play,” Pinyan said.
PRESSING: After winning by such large margins in the two previous games, the Hornets seemed surprised when they didn’t dominate from the start against Lexington.
“We were pressing trying to make plays,” Pinyan said. “But it’s ugly wins that make you come together as a team.”
Chris Barnhardt must be the Bionic Man. Just when you thought the burly senior fullback was out for the season with knee problems, he re-appeared in a 40-34 loss to West Iredell and rushed for a career-high 119 yards.
“We were getting frustrated trying to run stuff off-tackle,” said coach Mark Woody. “Chris’ runs were all on dives. We just started mashing them. Mitch Galloway, C.J. Cain, Daniel Rodriguez … the whole line played well.”
A BETTER SECOND HALF: After falling behind 24-0 and giving up 34 points in the opening 24 minutes, Carson’s defense came roaring out of the locker room with a purpose in the second half, holding the Warriors to 18 rushing yards and only six points in the second half.
“I don’t think we did anything different,” Woody said. “We just started making plays. We played pretty good defensively. That sounds funny after giving up 40 points. Our offense kept leaving us in a hole and just started slow. You look at the film and there were some blown assignments here and there. But they’re kids. They’re going to do that.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: Of Carson’s six losses, four have been by nine points or less.
“We’re so close to putting it all together,” Woody said.
FRIDAY NIGHT HERO: Woody’s real praise went to principal Kelly Withers, who was named the county’s Principal of the Year last week.
“Principal of the Year and Friday Night Hero,” Woody mused. “That would be good. She’s been great. She helps us out. She lets us coach and takes care of us.”
MOUNTAIN MAN: The rock for the Cougars this season has been defensive lineman Jeremiah Smith.
He brings it every Friday — and this week, he even brought it on Monday. He had a whale of a game in a losing cause against Hickory Ridge.
“No surprise,” coach Mark Woody said. “Jeremiah has played great all season long.”
ALL IN ALL: The Cougars (3-6) haven’t put it together yet, but they’re still almost a sure thing to make the playoffs.
After losing to Hickory Ridge, Carson is 0-5 against teams from outside the county, although it has managed to beat intracounty rivals North, South and East.
The Cougars have gotten fine individual performances.
Soph QB Austin McNeill is tied for the county lead with Salisbury’s Brian Bauk and West’s Zay Laster with 11 TD passes.
Freshman back Brandon Sloop wasn’t a factor at Hickory Ridge, but he has 803 rushing yards to rank second in the county. Not many freshmen in county history, have rushed for 1,000 yards. He still has a shot.
K.J. Pressley made six catches on Monday and ranks second in the county in receiving yards with 570. He’s tied with West’s Jarvis Morgan for the lead in TD catches with nine.
Tight end Greg Tonnesen also would have had a big game on Monday, but penalty flags wrecked his efforts.
North coach Tasker Fleming says they hope to have tailback Xavier Robinson return tomorrow against West Montgomery, but may have to settle for the regular season finale. Robinson separated his shoulder against Albemarle.
“We hope to have him back this week, but probably the week after,” Fleming said.
CLUTCH D: The Cavaliers came up with a couple of big fourth quarter takeaways on defense.
Linebacker Jake Becker had his fourth fumble recovery of the season, a county high, early in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead score.
“A month ago, we would have had Becker at fullback, but he’s still a little gimpy on that ankle, so we’ve tried to keep him on the defensive side.”
On Chatham Central’s ensuing possession, the Bears faced 3rd-and-nine at the North 28. Quarterback Josh Edwards threw toward the end zone and Jalen Cook grabbed his first interception of the year.
“I saw the quarterback looking this way,” Cook said. “So I pressed him and jumped the pass.”
In addition to the turnovers, Chatham turned the ball over on downs twice in the final quarter. After giving up 14 points in the opening quarter, North blanked Chatham for the remainder of the game.
BALL CONTROL : North only ran seven plays in the first quarter, but came away with 14 points. The Cavs scored 1:15 into action on a 35-yard run by Denzel Price and later on Pierre Givens’ 88-yard kickoff return.
“They did a good job milking the clock every possession,” Fleming said.
A LITTLE GREEN: Fleming used a racing term to describe the state of his defense after the win.
“Not as much seat time, to use a racing term,” Fleming said. “We’re a little green. We got to the quarterback a little bit more in the second half so that was good.”
A thin South team is getting thinner as a tough season winds down.
Leading rusher Eric Tyler took a shot on Friday, stayed down a while and likely suffered a concussion. Tyler’s 34-yard run was South’s shining moment in a 21-0 loss to East Rowan.
Promising freshman Daveon Perry took a sideline lick in the Carson game and wasn’t in action against East.
“We’re just so thin at running back right now,” South coach Jason Rollins said.
Receiver/DB Brandon Williams and defensive lineman Chandler Brown exited Friday’s game early.
Williams was disqualified after an unsportsmanlike penalty. Brown was lost after getting into a late altercation with East’s James Patterson. Patterson also was ejected.
“That was just a little flare-up between players,” Rollins said. “We’ve got all the respect in the world in for the job that East did tonight and the job that Coach Tedder and his staff are doing over there.”
STRUGGLE: South was an inch or two from hitting a handful of big pass plays against East, usually to tight end Josh Medlin, but Medlin wasn’t quite able to bring them in on his fingertips.
On the one occasion when South executed perfectly with the throw and catch — junior QB Nathan Lambert hit Williams perfectly for an apparent TD on a post pattern — a holding penalty brought the play back.
Lambert wasn’t under a lot of heat from the Mustangs in the first half, but South wasn’t clicking with its passing game.
“Nathan struggled tonight,” admitted South coach Jason Rollins. “And that’s something that hasn’t happened very often this year. He was off — just a little bit off.”
In the second half, once South got down and had to throw, East was able to pressure Lambert more and Dock Corpening twice chased him down for sacks.
Lambert finished 10-for-30 for 110 yards, with no TDs and two picks — his worst statistical game all season. The yardage total was his second-lowest. He threw for 105 in 23 attempts against West Rowan.
Lambert has still had a banner season — 53 percent completion-rate, 10 TD passes, 1,577 passing yards. And he’s done that on a 1-8 team.
Lambert needs 16 yards against Statesville next week to break the school single-season record for passing yards.
Lambert threw for 327 yards as the part-time QB last season. He has 1,904 passing yards for his career. Blake Houston set the South career mark from 2007-09 with 2,973.
POSITIVE: South’s defensive numbers improved some against East, although the Raiders still are giving up 39.2 points a game.
The school record for points allowed was set in 2006 (40.6 points a game). South will beat that unless it has a collapse in its finale against Statesville next week.
Keeon Johnson is listed at 6-foot-3, but he may as well have been 10 feet tall the way he went over Hickory Ridge DBs to grab Brandon Eppinger’s passes in a 47-0 win Friday.
He finished with six catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns.
“To have a kid 6-3, 200 pounds who can jump out of the gym is good for any quarterback,” said Wonders coach Mike Newsome. “It’s really neat watching him progress. We expect him to get better each and every week.”
PLAYERS OF WEEK: The Offensive Player of the Week for the Wonders was Johnson.
• The defensive player was defensive back J.P. Lott.
• The special teams player was Salvador Gutierrez.
• The Hog of the Week was offensive tackle Rashon Preston.
NO LETDOWN: Despite being up 41-0 at halftime, there would be no lull from the Wonders. Newsome reminded the Wonders of the opener with Shelby, when they were up 28-0 before allowing the Lions to come back.
WASHINGTON UPDATE: UNC recruit Damien Washington, coming off a knee injury, saw action Friday. He ran twice and was a decoy twice.
His two runs accounted for 42 yards and two scores.
Newsome was asked what percent he was.
“I don’t know what percent he is, but he’s at a percentage high enough to outrun everybody on the field,” Newsome grinned. “He’s at a percentage called ‘fast!’ ”
X-MAN: Senior Xavier Stanback rushed for a team-high 96 yards in Friday’s 47-0 win against Hickory Ridge.
Stanback went over 1,000 yards for his career.
Mount Tabor’s 32-28 win in the CPC opener may have been the most devastating of Doug Illing’s career. Davie ha won six straight games and it prevented the longest wein streak since 2004.
Meanwhile, Tabor proved why it is the class of the league. The Spartans are in prime position to win a league championship for the 15th time in 19 years. They have won 17 of their last 18 CPC games.
ADAM’S RUNS:QB Adam Smith’s 191 rushing yards in Friday’s 32-38 loss to Mount Tabor were the most by a War Eagle since James Mayfield pounded out 212 against West Forsyth in 2007.
As far as rushing yards by a QB, you have go back to 2004 when Cooter Arnold rushed for a staggering 322 yards against South Rowan.
That same season, Arnold had 240 against North Forsyth and 272 against West Rowan.•
LOVIN’ LACKEY: Illing was pleased with the play of defensive lineman Jamal Lackey.
“He’s a warrior,” Illing said. “He was flying sideline to sideline. His effort is just endless.”
INJURED: Davie played without two starters: Cameron Peebles (ankle) and Denzel Redmon (leg fracture). Peebles is not expected to play on Friday. Neither is O lineman Trip McNeill, out with a concussion.
SENIOR NIGHT: Reagan comes in for Senior Night on Friday.
Mike London, Ronnie Gallagher, Ryan Bisesi and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.