Spring Football: North Rowan
This is the last of six
stories on spring football
in Rowan County.
Today: North Rowan
By Ronnie Gallagher
SPENCER — Joe Nixon is wearing a lot of green these days.
After years of West Rowan blue, Scott Young’s former offensive coordinator has taken his first head coaching position at North Rowan.
The Cavaliers are two years removed from a Yadkin Valley Conference championship but they tumbled to 4-8 in 2011. Nixon replaces Tasker Fleming, who has become the head coach at YVC foe South Stanly.
His first order of business was getting the players to buy in to his program. Anyone attending softball games this spring noticed the football players running the bleachers. That’s a good sign.
But why shouldn’t the Cavs be excited? They are playing for a coach who doesn’t know much about losing. His winning percentage since starting on the offensive line at Catawba is around 75 percent. He has coached in the very last game of the season four straight years at West.
Now, it’s time for the Nixon Era on another side of Rowan County.
“We’ll be multiple in the things we do,” he said. “The terminology is the main thing that’s different. We’ll incorporate some of the things we had success with over there.”
Nixon has seen plenty of Cavaliers willing to join him.
“I’m not sure what we had before, but our numbers are decent,” Nixon said. “Kids are working hard for us.”
Especially rising seniors Will Robertson and T.J. Allen.
Robertson has something in common with his coach. While Nixon has three state titles in football, Robertson won a state title in wrestling this year. The lineman is definitely one of the Cavalier leaders.
“Will Robertson is doing everything right for us,” Nixon said.
Robertson helped open holes for the Cavs to rush for almost 1,400 yards last season.
Quarterback Allen is back for his third year under center. He was 53 of 123 for 614 yards last season but managed just five touchdown passes. Next year could be his best.
“Every senior needs to be even more of a leader,” Nixon said.
That includes Daquan Miller, who, along with junior Cecil McCauley, brings talent to the defensive line.
“They’ve been doing good things for me,” Nixon said.
They’ll have a fantastic teacher in Stevie Williams, who came with Nixon from West, where he was defensive line coach. He has molded the likes of Chris Smith, now a starter at Arkansas.
Robertson joins junior Xavier Robinson as returning all-county players. Xavier can be one of the YVC’s most explosive players.
“He’s working hard,” said Nixon, adding he hasn’t decided whether to use Robinson at running back or linebacker.
Jareke Chambers can play running back, quarterback or receiver. Trey Clark is a running back who saw action on varsity last year as a freshman.
North could field a solid secondary with Mike Robinson and the Coneys — Kasaun and Kenyon.
“The confidence is fine,” Nixon said. “They’re doing everything we’ve asked of them.”
Including buying in?
“You never know completely if they’re going to buy in until things start in August,” Nixon said. “We hope they’re buying in. We’ve been pushing our program, trying to sell it to them.”
North has 7-on-7s scheduled at Mooresville and West Forsyth. Statesville, South Rowan and North Davidson will visit Spencer.
“We’ve got a busy summer,” Nixon said. “Hopefully, we’ll get this thing rolling after graduation. We’ll see how far we’ve come and where we’re going.”
Where North is going will be determined. But all Cavs should listen to their new coach. Fans talk winning. Nixon talks working.
“It’s important to keep working hard in the summer,” Nixon said, “so when August gets here, we’ll be somewhat ready for practice to begin.”