Prep Football: Salisbury practice
This is the sixth of seven practice stories on area
Tuesday: West Rowan
Wednesday: Football section
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — It was not the best American Legion baseball team Rowan had ever fielded but when Jim Gantt’s bunch started to make a run in the playoffs last month, Salisbury football coach — and Legion umpire — Joe Pinyan knew why.
Brian Bauk was on the team and his aura spread to the rest of the players.
Of course, that late run tore into football workouts and Bauk is the Central Carolina Conference’s best returning quarterback.
“I’ve never stood between Brian and baseball,” Pinyan was quick to point out. “I know baseball is his best sport.”
Bauk, a senior, is pretty good in football, too. He ran for 919 yards out of the wishbone last year in an 11-3 season while throwing for 670 more.
“I think he takes his winning attitude from football and takes it to the baseball field,” Pinyan said.
Despite missing a lot of summer work, it’s apparent Bauk hasn’t missed a beat. Pinyan pointed to a recent scrimmage.
“He’s so good, he checked off a play,” Pinyan said.
A KORY STORY: Coaching the Salisbury backfield is someone who knows a little about 1,000-yard seasons: former Catawba star Kory Fisher.
Fisher was asked if he knew about the wishbone tradition before he arrived this season.
“I didn’t, but I do now,” Fisher said. “Working with the talent, it’s even better.”
Fisher looks like he could still zip his way between the tackles.
“You want to actively go out there and do it, too,” he smiled. “Especially if they don’t do it right.”
SILVER LINING: Another new assistant, Malone Silver, has a tie with Salisbury — a tie he’d just as soon forget.
Silver is a 2008 grad of Northeastern High, the school Salisbury pummeled 30-0 in the 2010 state championship game.
“I was at that game,” Silver said. “I definitely will say the better team won that night.”
Silver, who was a defensive back at Elizabeth City State, is doing an internship with the Carolina Panthers. Northeastern coach Antonio Moore talked with Pinyan and Silver is now in charge of the Hornet DBs.
And when he’s not coaching he’s getting an earful about the 2010 game from the other assistants.
“All of them are picking at me,” Silver smiled. “I really don’t pay them much mind.”
• Pinyan lost J.K. Adkins, who became East Wilkes’ new head coach.
HE’S BIG: Parker McKeithan walked around the practice field, smiling. He’s a man of few words, but really, who has to say a lot when you’re 6-foot-5, 290 pounds?
McKeithan has grown to gargantuan size since entering high school and his senior year could be special for himself and the Hornets. An offense that ran for 4,793 yards is relying on the offensive line.
McKeithan is one of those three-sport athletes and he said he lost weight last year for wrestling and baseball. But he has it back now and colleges are noticing.
Coach Joe Pinyan said Southern Conference schools are interested.
“He has been lifting all summer trying to get faster and stronger,” Pinyan said.
VERSATILE: The do-everything Hornet is Keion Adams, who had 6-2, 230. He has already been offered by Ball State. Adams can be a defender, a tight end, a fullback or a quarterback.
OUCH: Two young sophomores Pinyan is counting on are Isaiah Little and Michael Dyson. Both are recuperating from injuries in the weight room where their fingers were smashed.
“That weight room can be your friend but it can also be your biggest enemy if you don’t respect it,” Pinyan said.
THE AIR-BONE: Pinyan took his teams to some 7-on-7s and he’s always asked why. Isn’t this a wishbone team that doesn’t throw?
“We do it for the defense and to see if we can throw it a little bit,” he said, reminding everyone that Salisbury threw three touchdown passes in a semifinal win against Shelby that propelled the Hornets to that 2010 state title game.
“Don’t look at how many times we throw it,” he said. “Look at the percentage. It’s probably as high as some teams who throw it a bunch.”
THE TONY EXPRESS: The best player you’ve never heard of is running back Tony Krider.
All 5-foot-6, 130 pounds of him.
Pinyan loves his leading rusher off last year’s jayvee team.
“Pound for pound, he’s the most tenacious player we’ve got,” Pinyan said.
HA-HA: How many talented Hornets are in the Salisbury backfield? Pinyan was asked about returning 1,000-yard rusher Justin Ruffin.
“We may leave him on the bench so we’ll have depth,” Pinyan joked.