Prep Football: North Rowan practice
This is the fourth of seven practice stories on area
Today: North Rowan Sunday: Carson
By Ronnie Gallagher
SPENCER — North Rowan’s T.J. Allen was beginning to creep up the Rowan County quarterback yardage list. Last season, he threw for 614 yards and five touchdowns on 51 completions.
This year, the first under new head coach Joe Nixon, the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder will be trying to intercept the football instead of tossing it.
Allen enters his senior season on the other side of the ball, playing defensive back. He will also play some receiver.
“T.J.’s a very versatile player,” Nixon said. “I think he can help us more at those positions.”
Nixon was asked for Allen’s reaction to the move.
“T.J.’s good with it,” he said. “He wants what’s best for the team. It’s one of those situations that says a lot about the kid that he’d put the team before himself. He wants to be successful. He wants to play college ball. This is his best chance — playing in the secondary or at receiver.”
NEW QB? Alexis Archie, a 6-3, 215-pound sophomore, will take over under center. He was the jayvee quarterback at West Rowan last year.
“He’s got things he’s got to work on,” Nixon said. “He’s a big kid with a good arm and he runs decent.”
Jareke Chambers may even come in for some Wildcat formations.
WHERE THERE’S A WILL: Offensive lineman Will Robertson has the best credentials coming back of any senior. Not only is he being looked at plenty of schools for football, his 4.3 GPA doesn’t hurt either.
At 6-4, 270, Nixon says Robertson has those long arms college recruiters are looking for.
Robertson said Wofford and Appalachian State are among his favorites, adding App. State would be a great home.
“The facilities are nice and I like the area up there,” he said.
THE X-MAN: Xavier Robinson is only a junior, but he has made an impact.
“He’ll really be a leader for us,” Nixon said. “He has a chance to be a special football player.”
Those bulging biceps tell you the returning all-county player has been working.
“He looks the part,” Nixon said. “As soon as track was over (in the spring), he hasn’t missed a thing.”
NEW COACHES: Nixon brought in several new coaches:
• Stevie Williams, who was with Nixon at West, is now the defensive coordinator.
“The defensive line is still his babies,” Nixon said, “but he’s been around good coaching. Stevie knows football.”
• Ben Hampton comes over from Carson and will work with offensive backs.
• Jeff Chapman, another former Falcon, is with the receivers.
• Josh Sophia is back barking signals in high school football. He’s got Robinson and the linebackers.
• Marcus Davis has joined the staff to work with the defensive line.
Nixon, Williams, Nick Means and Davis are all former Catawba stars.
“We hit it off,” Davis smiled of the staff. “The chemistry’s there. You can tell we all played at Catawba.”
And what will Davis, the former ferocious defensive lineman, bring to the table?
“Enthusiasm, intensity and knowledge of the game,” he said. “I get fired up, still wanting to play.”
COUNTY TIES: Everyone is clamoring for North’s game against West Rowan at home Sept. 7.
He also faces off against his good friend Danny Misenheimer and East on Aug. 31 and his predecessor Tasker Fleming and South Stanly on Sept. 14.
“We look forward to those games just like all the games,” Nixon said. “We try to preach to the kids that it’s not about the coaches, it’s about the players and just go out and compete.”
AND FINALLY … Nixon is concentrating on this year, but his future looks bright.
Not only does he have a young team, North is coming off a Yadkin Valley Conference championship at the jayvee level. Add ninth-grader Jalen Sanders, who is on the varsity roster, and there is talent in the fold for years to come.