Spring Football: South Rowan

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 28, 2012

This is the fourth of six stories on spring football in Rowan County.
Today: South Rowan
By Ronnie Gallagher
LANDIS — You can’t go to South Rowan, it seems, without seeing Nathan Lambert coming out of the weight room.
The Raider quarterback will be the top returning signal-caller in Rowan County this fall and he’s doing everything this spring to keep that status. There are a couple of camps in his future and he’s working with quarterback coach Bobby Myers on a few things. It will do nothing but help.
“He’s probably done more in the offseason than any quarterback we’ve had,” said coach Jason Rollins.
The South coach has all of his players thinking that way. The Raiders are pumped up and ready to improve greatly on last year’s one-win season.
And it all starts with next year’s seniors, led by the likes of Lambert, Clint Meece, Devin Mason and Josh Medlin.
The list goes on and on. This is one of the best groups of Rollins’ career.
“It’s their time to shine,” he said.
Mason is a defensive end but he may move to linebacker because of his work in the weight room. Offensive lineman Meece will surprise some people, Rollins thinks.
Don’t forget guys like burly stud Bubba McLaughlin and running back Dominique Garlin, along with Eric Tyler, who was one of several Raiders to find the end zone in 2011. In fact, Tyler stunned eventual 3A finalist West Rowan with the first touchdown of the game on a 32-yard scamper to put South up 6-0.
Even better, Rollins played a lot of sophomores last year so the juniors will be experienced.
“We played more sophomores than I thought we would,” Rollins said. “It paid off.”
The coach even had a freshman step up last season in Daveon Perry. He could turn into a shifty game-breaker. “He has great feet,” Rollins said.

The positives are there because of pumping iron.
“Our biggest focus has been the weight room,” Rollins said. “We’ve busted our humps. Virtually every kid has been in the weight room. If they’re not in weightlifting class, they’re coming after school. The numbers are very good.”
The question for Rollins is, “How do you keep these kids interested in football after 2-9 and 1-9 seasons.”
Simple. Pride in their school and pride in themselves.
“That’s the most exciting thing,” Rollins beamed. “You have two bad years and they still come out and are fired up. Especially this (upcoming) senior class.”
And that class begins with Lambert. He had five games over 200 yards passing and another of 195, finishing with 1,792. He fired 15 touchdown passes. He was just short of 3,000 total yards.
Medlin was his favorite target (35 catches for 668 yards). Perry, with lightning speed, could be an effective pass catcher.

One thing Rollins preaches is “You’ve got to be in other sports.” Many of the football players were on the track team so they’re in great shape as school ends. Now it will be a summer of anticipation and the Raiders can’t wait for August.
“They saw the good times,” Rollins said of his rising seniors, who were freshmen when Blake Houston led South to a 9-3 record in 2009. “They’ve seen the struggles. And here they are, ready to prove to everybody they can be as good as some of the teams in the past. What an unbelievable number of juniors and seniors we’ll have.”

South has 7-on-7s planned with North Rowan, Lake Norman and at Catawba. The Raiders will get plenty of work.
It’s hard to believe anyone will be outworking Lambert.
“That’s just Nathan,” Rollins smiled. “That’s just the way he is.”
Actually, that’s the way all of the seniors are at South Rowan.
They’re ready to win.