Friday Night Hero: North Rowan's Pierre Givens

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

By Ronnie Gallagher
SPENCER — During a long career, Tasker Fleming has had success coaching football all over the state. And one of the reasons for that success is, he knows when he has a special player.
On this year’s North Rowan Cavaliers squad, that player is Pierre Givens.
Just about every time Givens is put in position to be a star, he comes through. Remember last year when he ran back a kickoff to beat West Montgomery? Remember when he hit the big 3-pointers to spark North to a 1A state championship in basketball?
Sure you do. And fans will remember how he stepped into a new role against South Davidson on Friday night and led the Cavs to a 22-0 victory over South Davidson.
It was Senior Night at North and Givens, who has been hobbled by injuries, was inserted at quarterback.
“I don’t practice it much at all,” Givens said. “They just throw me out there.”
For the record, the kid who doesn’t practice quarterback very much completed four passes, two for touchdowns. He averaged 15 yards per carry on five attempts.
“A lot of colleges recruit athletes and find a place for them,” Fleming explained. “Pierre’s in that category. We play him where we need him.”
Givens is arguably the best kick returner in the Yadkin Valley Conference. Ask Chatham Central, which lost 20-14 as Givens ran a long kickoff back for a score. He has caught big passes. He has played safety on defense.
But he proved Friday that quarterback might be his position when the Cavs go to West Montgomery this week for the first round of the 1A playoffs.
North’s struggling offense had produced only six points in the first half against South Davidson on Friday and needed a jump-start.
Givens to the rescue.
Twelve seconds into the second half, he found tight end Tydler Watlington for a 48-yard scoring pass.
“It was beautiful,” Givens beamed. “I executed the fake and he did a slant-vertical. He was wide open.”
With 3:58 in the third quarter, Givens hooked up with another senior, Kenyatta Thomas, for a 23-yard scoring play.
“I read the defense,” Givens said. “I saw him cut across and I just shot it in there.”
Fleming was impressed.
“Pierre’s got vision on the field,” he said. “He seems to feel the pressure. That’s not something that’s taught. Things kick in on when to speed it up or slow it down.”
Givens certainly enjoyed himself.
“It felt good to play another position,” he said. “I know I’m athletic enough to fill that position. I let the game come to me and I wind up doing something big.”
Givens says he’s 100 percent healthy going into the playoffs and that’s good news for a player that suffered a wrist injury early in the season against Carson and missed time with a quad injury.
Givens hopes that’s bad news for West Montgomery, which easily defeated North earlier in the season when the Cavs managed just seven points.
“I feel comfortable playing against them,” he said. “We have a lot of players ready to step up. Most of it comes from the heart. You go out and do what you’ve got to do.”
Fleming knows what to do. Put the ball in Givens’ hands.
“He’s just an athlete,” Fleming said.
An athlete who can make a difference in the playoffs for the Cavaliers.