prep notebook: West battles through
From staff reports
Itís not the same West Rowan team.
But itís headed toward the same result.
The Falcons had six shutouts last year and won almost all their games handily. Their most competitive matchup was a 20-14 win against Hibriten in the West final.
This year, resistance has greeted West frequently, including a 2-2 start.
The Statesville and Concord playoff games easily could have gone the other way with a swing of a play or two, but the Falcons still are headed to Burns Friday night to vie for a fourth straight trip to a state championship game.
In the state, that distinction is Westís alone.
ěBurns may be better than us, but donít count out our kids, man,î West coach Scott Young said.
DINKIN TIME: Dinkin Miller has made the transition from backup to very good player to elite player during the last three seasons.
At times, Miller is good enough to put Westís punishing offense on his back. He had 23 carries for 159 yards in a 22-14 playoff win against Concord and has rushed for 100-plus yards in 12 straight games.
When Miller rushed for 1,805 yards as a junior, his effort went into the books as the seventh-best rushing season in county history.
Heís outdone himself as a senior, rushing for 2,172 yards and 22 TDs on 314 carries.
Miller now ranks third all-time in the county with 4,292 rushing yards. He had 32 yards in a one-game cameo as a freshman in 2008 and added 283 yards as K.P. Parkís backup in 2009.
He wonít catch the guys still ahead of him ó Carsonís Shaun Warren (6,136) and Parks (10,895).
DOMINANT: Defensive lineman Greg Dixon came through with three sacks and a forced fumble to lead the defense against Concord.
Trey Shepherd and Kiero Cuthbertson also had impact games up front.
West allowed more rushing yards than usual to the Spiders, but it limited a potent Concord aerial attack to 123 yards.
HIDE AND ZEKE: Zeke Blackwoodís game-saving interception on Friday was his third of the season and raised the teamís total to a very respectable 17.
The Falcons had 24 in 16 games last season when they had a highly acclaimed secondary that included Georgia Tech signee Domonique Noble.
PAT BLUES: West has had only one successful PAT kick in three playoff games, but the Falcons did execute on a pair of two-point conversions against Concord.
PASSABLE: While West is a shaky 7-for-25 passing in the playoffs, two of the seven connections have been long TD strikes from Zay Laster to Jarvis Morgan.
ěWeíre usually on the same page,î Laster said.
Laster has 15 TD passes, 12 of them to Morgan.
Morgan has 40 catches for the season and has only been shut out in one game.
BURNING UP: West wonít be heading to a metropolis on Friday. Lawndale, where Burns is located, had an official population of 642 at last count.
As far as history, West is 2-0 against Burns.
In 2005, the Falcons rolled 33-14 in a second-round playoff meeting in Mount Ulla. Wade Moore scored three TDs in that one, including one on a 59-yard reception.
West and Burns also squared off in the 1967 season opener, and the Falcons romped 38-0.
TOUGH OPPONENT: Donít expect 38-0 on Friday. Burns has been one of the most highly regarded 3A teams in the state all year.
The Bulldogsí only loss came in overtime against South Point and their impressive list of victims includes Shelby, Mooresville and Crest ó three teams that are still alive in the playoffs in other brackets.
Burns also handed Morganton Freedom its only setback.
Tickets will be $8 at the gate. Gates will open at 6 p.m. The weather is expected to reasonably pleasant for Thanksgiving weekend.
The Post will preview Westís game in Fridayís edition.
Salisbury fell short of its goal of another state championship, losing to CCC rival Thomasville 27-16 in the second round, but statistically the 2011 Hornets were even better than the 2010 version.
Salisbury broke the school scoring record this year, both in terms of total points (562) and points per game (40.1).
The 1995 Hornets had been the highest-scoring team in school history with 38.9 points per game.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Salisburyís 11-3 record (two losses to Thomasville, the other to West Rowan) was one of the top marks in school history.
Salisbury won 13 games in 2010 and took 12 in 1995 and 2004.
Previous 11-win seasons were posted by the Hornets in 1973, 1974 and 2006.
PINYAN POWER: Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan has placed himself among the countyís all-time coaching elite.
Heís now seventh in career head-coaching wins at Rowan schools, trailing Price Hall of Famer S.W. Lancaster (183), Westís Young (147), Boyden Hall of Famer Bill Ludwig (129), North Hall of Famer Larry Thomason (125), Roger Secreast (115 wins at Salisbury and North) and W.A. Cline (95 wins at East).
Pinyan has 89 victories to his credit (forfeits in 2008 cost him four more) against 33 losses, and he surpassed the county win totals of Salisbury Hall of Famer Pete Stout (83) and South legend Reid Bradshaw (78) during the 2011 season.
Another great season in 2012 could elevate Pinyan to the 100-victory milestone.
TRIO OF HEROES: Salisbury had three 1,000-yard rushers this season, a feat that appears to be unprecedented in Rowan County history.
Senior Dominique Dismuke (1,141 yards) and juniors Justin Ruffin (1,138) and Max Allen (1,128) shared the workload to such an extent that none ranks extremely high individually in county history, but together (along with QB Brian Baukís 914 rushing yards), they were a handful.
Dismuke finished his career with 2,727 rushing yards. He ranks fourth in school history and 15th in county annals.
Dismukeís career rushing total landed him between two South players who were stars in the ACC ó Greg Poole and Michael Ramseur. Thatís good company.
Dismuke scored 48 touchdowns in his career. He also had a pair of two-point conversions for 292 career points.
MAXIMUM FORCE: Allenís 294 rushing yards in the playoff win against Carver was the 10th-biggest rushing game in county history and the biggest rushing performance ever by a Rowan player in a playoff game.
Allen nipped West superhero Parks, who rushed for 292 yards in the 3A West final against Tuscola in 2009.
Allen, who missed two games with a midseason ankle injury wound up as Salisburyís leading rusher in terms of yards per game.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Bauk didnít put up prolific passing numbers on a ground-oriented team, but his rushing prowess still enabled him to crack the countyís all-time list for total offense for a season.
Considering Salisbury went into the season with a major question mark at quarterback, the junior turned in a tremendous season.
He accounted for 1,589 yards, sliding onto the list just ahead of Eastís C.M. Yatesí 1,584 yards in 1970.
2012: The Hornets will be a factor again with their returning backfield stars, and the jayvees were undefeated.
Mike Newsome had a great campaign (12-2) in his first year at the helm of the Wonders, but they had their season ended for the fifth time in the last seven years by Charlotte Catholic.
The 35-9 road loss to the Cougars included three field goals by Erik Amaya ó all in the first half. Probably it was the first time a Wonder has kicked three field goals in a game, much less a half.
Amaya had just two field goals all season coming in, but not many defenses prior to Catholicís had been able to keep the Wonders out of the end zone.
MORE BAD NEWS: Travis Riley, the former Wonder star who is redshirting at UNC this season, tore the ACL in his right knee in warmups for the Virginia Tech game.
Itís the same knee Riley injured his senior year of high school.
POINT OF ORDER: A.L. Brown had one of the highest-scoring teams in school history (41.6 ppg) this season, the most prolific offensive machine since the 1998 team put up 45.6 per game.
Of course, the Nick Maddox-led 1998 squadís numbers were significantly enhanced by a 97-0 wipeout of Northwest Cabarrus and a 75-0 romp against Piedmont.
The 2011 Wonders scored 60-plus twice and scored 40 or more nine times.
2012: Brown loses a strong senior class but it will reload behind exciting running back Kalif Phillips.
Phillips finished the season with 174 carries for 1,589 yards. He scored 31 TDs, 24 rushing and seven receiving.
Brownís jayvees also were unbeaten this season.
Mike London and Ryan Bisesi contributed to the notebook.
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