Prep Football: South Rowan practice
This is the second of seven practice stories on area football teams.
Today: South Rowan
Friday: East Rowan
By Ronnie Gallagher
LANDIS — At South Rowan this season, all eyes will be on quarterback Nathan Lambert.
South head coach Jason Rollins says schools are already looking at Lambert, who threw for 1,792 yards on 134 of 254 passes and 14 scores. Lambert went to several camps this summer.
He has been all over the state attending them, from Wake Forest to N.C. State to Appalachian State and Western Carolina to Wingate, Catawba and a 5-star camp.
The position is unique in recruiting.
“You’re either looking for a quarterback or you’re not,” Rollins said. “If you are, he’s suddenly on your radar. But he’s really a great tight end. He’s an ideal tight end. That’s an opportunity right there. That door could open for him.”
CENTER OF ATTENTION: And don’t forget who is centering him the football: junior Johnathan Lambert, Nathan’s younger brother.
“He’s going to snap to his brother and protect his butt,” Rollins said. “He can snap it to him at home. Johnathan’s a different size from Nathan. He’s a stockier kid.”
Nathan is 6-2, 190. Johnathan is 5-10, 200.
MEDLIN’S MONEY: South doesn’t need Lambert at tight end because they already have a good one in Josh Medlin.
Medlin caught 35 passes for 688 yards last season and seven touchdowns. And he did it all while seeing plenty of time on defense.
WELCOME BACK: Ronnie Riddle has come home.
A 1982 graduate of South Rowan, he returned to the area and Rollins went right to him, asking him to join the staff.
“I’ve known him for 5, 6 years,” Rollins said. “We’ve talked about it for years. I told him, ‘If you ever want to come back, I want you to coach with us.’ ”
Riddle did and everyone is happy.
“I just wanted to get closer to family,” Riddle said. “My daughter liked the idea.”
Riddle had coached at Brentwood High, 14 miles south of Nashville, saying, “Football in middle Tennessee is THE sport. Not to the degree of Texas or Georgia, but it’s a big deal.”
Rollins said Riddle was actually working at A.L. Brown, “but wanted to put in his time coaching at South.”
Riddle laughed when asked about his playing days at South.
“Don’t bother looking me up,” he said. “There’s nothing to see. But being back at South is a dream. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
So far, he likes what he sees.
“We’ve got a lot of good athletes here,” he said.
HE’S BACK, TOO: Another former Raider has joined the staff. After years as a Carson coach, Andre Neely is coaching wide receivers here.
“He’s going to carry on what he did at Carson,” Rollins said.
REALIGNMENT: Rollins was reminded of the old days of realignment when the Raiders had to make those trips to Winston-Salem as a part of the 4A Central Piedmont Conference.
“Oh, I don’t want to remember that,” groaned Rollins.
No one does. Those were some very long rides.
It’s not much better in the current North Piedmont, traveling to Iredell County.
But now, South gets a break with less travel. Next year’s realignment has four Rowan teams going to Cabarrus County. And that’s a breath of fresh air to Rollins.
“Personally, I’m very excited,” he said. “I want to be a part of a Rowan-Cabarrus conference. I think it’s a good fit, not from wins and losses but for transportation and gates. You’ve got some solid schools down there who bring good crowds.”
For one more year, though, it’s Iredell. And the Raiders will try to improve on a 1-9 overall record. South went 1-5 in the NPC.
FEEL-GOOD STORY: Lineman Andrew Mauldin thought his career might be over last year when he hurt his back in the game against Carson.
“He fought through it and recovered,” Rollins said.
So much so, that the 5-foot-11, 240-pounder could see action on both sides.
They call him “Psycho” and “Manson” because, as Rollins says, “He is wide open. He is very physical.”
LET’S GET PHYSICAL: Rollins thinks his team is as strong as it’s ever been and that has to do with having an assistant who is committed to the weight room as much as the players. Brett Stirewalt is that guy.
“He is a coach who says, ‘I will not leave that weight room,’ ” Rollins says.
SAD GOODBYE: Daveon Perry was supposed to be a factor this year after a good freshman year. Then his parents moved.
To A.L. Brown’s district.
“He wanted to go here,” Rollins said. “It tore him to pieces. They moved to the edge of that line in Kannapolis. He’ll be a Wonder, probably playing some jayvee down there.”
THE CROSBY SHOW: South opens Aug. 17 against Central Cabarrus and there will be a familiar face on the other sideline: Daniel Crosby. He’s an assistant for the Vikings.
He’s one of those kids who you knew would be coaching high school football somewhere,” Rollins said. “He did his time.”
How will Crosby be as a coach?
“He’s one of those guys full of fire and energy,” he said. “It will be fun to watch him because I know how he is — wide open.”
Think Crosby will enjoy coaching against his alma-mater?
“He still bleeds the red and black,” Rollins smiles.
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