Prep Football: The Notebook, Week 12
From staff reports
The prep notebook ….
During its rampage of 56 wins in 58 outings, West has produced lots of points on special teams and defense.
Linebacker Logan Stoodley’s athletic interception and return for a TD was one of the backbreaking plays in West’s 31-12 win against Mount Pleasant in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
It was West’s third pick-6 of the season. The Falcons also have produced two kickoff returns for TDs and four punt-return TDs — all by Trey Cuthbertson.
West wasn’t generating as many turnovers early as it usually does, but it now has 10 picks in its last six games. Stoodley has interceptions in back-to-back outings.
THINKIN’ ABOUT DINKIN: A lot of folks were spoiled by the amazing K.P. Parks, but Dinkin Miller, his successor as the tailback in Mount Ulla, has emerged as a superstar in his own right and has been the county’s most consistent offensive force this season.
Miller was limited to 150 yards in West’s first two games, but he’s now reeled off 10 straight 100-plus outings, including a pair of 200-plus gems.
He has 1,828 rushing yards this season, already the seventh-best rushing season in county history.
There have been only five 2,000-yard rushing seasons in county history — all in the last half-dozen years. West’s Wade Moore did it in 2005. Carson’s Shaun Warren rolled for nearly 3,000 last season. Parks accomplished the feat three years in a row, including a mind-boggling 3,794 yards in 2009.
Miller needs 52 yards tomorrow to reach 4,000 for his career. Only Parks, Warren and Moore have achieved that milestone in Rowan.
MORGAN’S THE MAN: West QB Zay Laster has passed for 14 TDs this season, and Jarvis Morgan has latched on to 11 of them.
Morgan has 39 catches for 840 yards this season and has a shot at a 1,000-yard campaign. Only two Falcons — Jon Crucitti (2009) and Chavis Cowan (1994) — have accomplished that feat.
For his career, Morgan has 60 catches for 1,154 yards and 15 TDs.
YOUNG UPDATE: Coach Scott Young said he was feeling fine on Friday when he logged the 145th win of his career against only 39 losses.
Young is 49-5 in his career against Rowan opponents.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Young was not thrilled with West’s struggles on Friday during the last three quarters.
There were passing issues, PAT issues (1-for-5) and nearly 100 yards lost due to 13 penalties.
“We were up 24-0 after a quarter, so the way I see it, Mount Pleasant won the ballgame 12-7 the last three quarters,” Young said.
Morgan, who caught a 71-yard bomb from Laster for the sweetest play of the night, echoed his coach.
“Sure, the first quarter was great, but we’ve got to play more than one quarter,” he said.
HIT THE SACK: West defenders Stoodley, Greg Dixon, Trey Shepherd and Maurice Warren enjoyed a first-half feast that included eight sacks, while Troy Culbertson and Terrence Polk racked up tackles for loss.
West’s defensive dominance diminished somewhat in the second half, as Mount Pleasant coaches and QB Alan McDonald made adjustments.
“Against West Iredell the week before, our defensive line didn’t have much impact on the game in the first half but it did in the second half,” Young said. “Tonight’s game was the opposite.”
TIGER TERRORS: Mount Pleasant may make some noise in the SPC next season.
Juniors McDonald and Andy Hunt, who caught passes in traffic, ran fearlessly and boomed punts, are impressive players.
DEAR JOHNS: Michael Johns didn’t like the loss on Friday but he did seem to enjoy his time back in Rowan County coaching football.
The Mount Pleasant coach is a former assistant at East Rowan during the Jeff Safrit years.
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan says he can’t recall a year where his team had four 1,000-yard rushers. He’s got a shot at seeing it this year.
Max Allen’s 294-yard outburst was a school record and gave him 940 for the season. Quarterback Brian Bauk sits at 882 yards after 12 games. Dominique Dismuke (1,005) and Justin Ruffin (1, 038) eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark against Carver.
The Hornets will need to keep winning, or have another huge night on the ground against Starmount, to ensure the designation. Salisbury’s 533-yard rushing effort was a season-best.
“They share the wealth,” Pinyan said. “There’s no jealousy in this group.”
END OF HALF: Despite the exciting nature of the playoff win, Pinyan was kicking himself for the Hornets’ execution at the end of the first half.
Allen took a 9-yard run on 2nd-and-10 with 26 seconds left to put Salisbury at the Carver 9. The Hornets tried to call a play at the line with Bauk looking toward the sideline. Salisbury called its last timeout with 5.2 seconds remaining. Ruffin was tackled three yards short of the end zone on the final play of the half. Salisbury led 3-0 after two quarters.
“It’s 3-0 and we’re thinking if it’s 6-0, they’re just a play away,” Pinyan said. “I guess people write on those comment boards about how stupid the coaches are. I guess they were right tonight.”
NO TION: Defensive back Tion McCain just can’t seem to stay on the field.
After missing several games with an injured knee, he tried to play against Carver. He was seen jogging up and down the sidelines during the first half.
He got some action but came out after injuring the knee again.
PLAYERS OF WEEK: Allen was an obvious choice for offensive player of the week as was Dejuon Jones for defensive player of the week. He made the clinching interception that sealed the victory with nine seconds left.
Dismuke was the special teams player of the week.
Putting the North record book to bed for this season, the only major updates were created by the Cavaliers’ 60-0 YVC rout of North Moore on Sept. 30.
That game marked the most points ever scored in a game by the Cavs, who have been playing football since 1958, and also was the greatest margin of victory.
North (4-8) scored a modest 186 points for the season, so nearly a third of them came in that one outing.
T.J. UPDATE: While North junior T.J. Allen threw for a quiet 614 yards this season, it was still enough to move him up to 2,159 for his career.
Allen ranks 12th in school history in passing yardage and surpassed the career totals of former Cavs such as Graham Hosch, Donnie Roberson and Cameron Wood.
It might surprise you to read that Allen is the leading active passer in Rowan County, but it’s true. He still holds a narrow edge over South junior Nathan Lambert.
Speaking of Lambert, updating the South record book revealed he not only set a school single-season passing record (1,792 yards), his decent rushing totals enabled him to also break South’s single-season total offense record with 1,965 yards.
Both records were set by Charles Sherrill in his only year as South’s QB in 1997.
Lambert is on pace to shatter South’s career record for passing yards in 2012. Catawba center fielder Blake Houston currently holds that mark with 2,973 yards.
Lambert did what he did in a 10-game season in which the Raiders tied the school record for fewest wins — one.
Almost every Carson school offensive record was erased in 2010 by Shaun Warren, Cody Clanton or Zack Gragg, but it didn’t take nearly as long to update the Cougars this season.
Sophomore QB Austin McNeill did set a school season mark with 15 TD passes, while Brandon Sloop had the strongest offensive season (956 rushing yards) ever posted by a Cougar freshman.
Junior receiver K.J. Pressley didn’t change the school record book — Clanton raised that bar very high — but he’s already starting to make an impact on the county chart. Pressley has 70 career catches for 1,238 yards and 13 TDs.
Pressley is tied for 18th with Lathan Charleston (North) in career receiving yardage and is knotted with Horatio Everhart (West) for 22nd in career receptions.
There have been only eight 100-catch receivers in county history, but Pressley has a good chance to join that elite group next season.
The 2,000-yard club for Rowan receivers is an even more exclusive fraternity — just three members — but Pressley could reach that milestone as well.
The Wonders trailed Ledford 7-0 and 14-7 early before taking charge and advancing in the 3AA playoffs with a 54-28 victory. The Wonders (11-1) average 44.3 points per game and 418 yards per game.
While opponents are understandably concentrating on dealing with potent ballcarriers Damien Washington and Kalif Phillips, senior QB Brandon Eppinger has taken advantage of the explosive cast around him to put together a season that ranks among the most efficient in school history.
The Post doesn’t have a complete A.L. Brown record book, but Eppinger’s 24 TD passes (with only three interceptions) may be a season record. He tossed his 23rd and 24th scoring aerials on Friday.
Justin Hardin had 23 TD tosses in 1998; Drew Maher had 22 in 2001; Brandon Franklin had 21 in both 2002 and 2003; Jonathan Efird had 23 in 2007, and Jamill Lott had 23 in 2008, if you’re wondering about recent standouts with serious passing numbers.
Eppinger has completed 66 percent of his 130 pass attempts for 1,511 yards.
Efird’s 1,980 passing yards in 2007, when he threw 194 times, may be a school season record. Lott accounted for 1,939 passing yards during his phenomenal 2008 season and tacked on 1,065 rushing yards in what may be the most productive season ever by a Wonder QB. Maher had 1,921 passing yards in 2001.
nAWARDS: Eppinger was the offensive player of the week for the Wonders.
Offensive left tackle Rashon Preston was named “Hawg of the Week” for his solid blocking against Ledford.
Linebacker Perry Kesler was honored as defensive player of the week. His night included stopping a fourth-and-1 gamble by Ledford for no gain.
Salvador Gutierrez earned weekly special teams honors for his contributions on several kicking units. He made multiple tackles.
Dante Pinkston was named “Hitman of the Week” for knocking a Ledford player’s helmet off when the Panthers faked a punt.
nALL IN THE FAMILY: Defensive ends coach Orlando Gray’s son (also Orlando) is a junior backup linebacker for the Wonders.
Davie’s 29-25 loss to Dudley in the first round of the 4A playoffs ended Adam Smith’s career but he will go down as one of the best players in War Eagle history.
Smith ranks sixth in completions with 109. He is fifth in passing yards (1,917) and touchdown passes (18). HE had the third-highest passing game (371) adn the fifth highest (271). He threw four touchdowns in one game, another record.
Smith played DB back.
“We’ve got to replace No. 7, and that’s going to be teh big challenge in the offseason,” said coach Doug Illing. “I think the last 11 games, he probably played every snap.”
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London and Ryan Bisesi contributed to the notebook.