2012 Football: The Prep Notebook
From staff reports
The football notebook …
Here are five questions that need to be answered …
1. Will West Rowan’s streaks come to an end?
The Falcons have won eight straight NPC titles and 32 straight in the league. They have made four straight 3A state championship games and own 41 straight wins against county foes. But Statesville is loaded this year and even county teams probably think things are starting to even out.
Of course, weren’t the “experts” saying that in 2011? And where did West end up?
2. Which first-year coach will win more: North Rowan’s Joe Nixon or East Rowan’s Danny Misenheimer? Both teams struggled last year, but new coaches with as much energy as these two do wonders to motivate teenagers.
3. Will Carson reach its expectations? The returning talent has been well-documented. Go to a practice and the enthusiasm is there. Everyone is sky-high in China Grove.
4. Who will be the offensive and defensive players of the year?
South Rowan’s Nathan Lambert has the best passing stats coming back. West linebacker Logan Stoodley is highly thought of. But watch out for Salisbury’s Brian Bauk and Keion Adams.
5. Can Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan reach 100 wins at Salisbury this season?
Pinyan owns 89 wins in nine seasons on Lincolnton Road and is now second in school history to legend Bill Ludwig, who is credited with 129 wins in 21 seasons.
Only five coaches — Price’s S.W. Lancaster (183), West’s Scott Young (148), Ludwig, North’s Larry Thomason (125) and Roger Secreast (115) — have amassed 100 coaching wins in the county.
Secreast had 108 wins at North and seven at Salisbury.
PERFECT: Pinyan is 9-0 against Lexington, which is pretty amazing because the Yellow Jackets have had some good teams.
Pinyan also is 8-1 against East Rowan and Central Davidson. His lone loss to Central was a forfeit that occurred in 2008. Salisbury won 60-0 on the field.
CARSON … COWBOYS? Mark Woody likes the nickname. Has a good ring to it: The Carson Cowboys.
“I’m a cowboy,” he laughed.
Woody was standing in his back yard recently with daughter Maci and his horse,
That’s right. Mark Woody has a horse.
Actually, Maci has a horse.
“She talked me into it,” Woody said. “I know nothing about a horse. I have no idea what I’m doing. My daughter does.”
A neighbor got Maci interested, and now the Carson head coach is a rodeo daddy. She barrel races.
“It’s a new world,” Woody sighs. “I try not to show it, but it scares me to death.”
DATES TO REMEMBER:
Aug. 17: The first regular-season Friday night.
Nov. 2: Playoffs start.
Dec. 1: State finals at North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.
DON’T I KNOW YOU?: Tasker Fleming comes back to Spencer on Sept. 14.
Only last year, he was the head coach at North before taking the South Stanly job during the spring. Now, he and Nixon face off.
“It’s not something me or Coach Nixon are excited about,” Fleming said. “I’m sure it will be a little uncomfortable for some of the players who knew me, just like it would be if Coach Little came back to South Stanly.”
But it is what it is.
“It’s a one-year poison,” Fleming said. “We play one year and he can go try to win the 2A title and I’ll try to win the 1A title.”
GAME WANTED: It’s too late now, but Pinyan gave it the ol’ college try.
South Rowan and East Rowan are playing only 10 games this season but the Hornets’ wanted 11. However, Pinyan could not find a school to replace Winston-Salem Atkins on his schedule.
Aug. 17: North Rowan at Carson and East Rowan at Salisbury: North’s Nixon and East’s Misenheimer begin their head coaching careers.
Aug. 24: South Rowan at A.L. Brown: Expect an overflow crowd.
Aug. 31: Salisbury at West Rowan: One constant in the county in that these are the two best teams.
Also, East at North: Joe and Danny hook up.
Sept. 7: West at North: Nixon hooks up with his former school.
Sept. 14: West at Statesville: Many think this is where the Falcon dynasty crumbles for good.
Oct. 5: You can’t be in three places at once, so choose between South at Carson, Reidsville at West or North at Albemarle.
Oct. 12: Lexington, which is loaded enough to make a run at a state championship, at Salisbury, which won the title in 2010.
Oct. 19: Thomasville at Salisbury: This has been one of the state’s best rivalries for decades.
Oct. 26: A.L. Brown at Concord: Who will win the Bell?
NEW LOOK: If the Ludwig Stadium field at Salisbury looks a bit different this season, well, that’s because it is.
“We moved the field,” Pinyan said.
The coaches worked all summer moving the field 10 feet closer to the home side so the visitor’s bleachers wouldn’t be so close. It’s more for safety, so kids won’t be running into the concrete wall. In soccer, players making a corner kick had to stand on the track, not grass.
“We dug up the cinder track and put dirt and sod down,” said Pinyan, who added the goal posts were also moved over.
CCC’S PRO: West Davidson head coach Dale Barnes was asked for an update on former Green Dragon Josh Bush, who was drafted by the New York Jets out of Wake Forest.
“He says it’s great!” Barnes said.
Bush has been getting quality reps with the first team, as well as in their sub-packages and special teams.
“I think that he’s spending most of his time studying the playbook and trying to learn to be a pro, to have a shot at being a pro.” Barnes reports.
AFTER FOOTBALL: If East coach Misenheimer had his way, all of his football players would be busy in the winter with his former sport: wrestling.
“I wish I could make it mandatory that if they’re not playing basketball, they’re wrestling,” he said.
If they’re not wrestling, lineman will be encouraged to hit the mat with successful coach Barry Justus.
“The footwork you get out of that, the confidence you gain, will help you compete,” Misenheimer said.
Misenheimer should know. He was 3A state champion at East in 2000 before wrestling at Appalachian State.
BABY MAKES THREE: Good news for West Davidson defensive coordinator Brian Billings, a former South Rowan lineman.
Brian and wife Amber are expecting their first child around the time of the regular-season opener.
Barnes is happy about that and also happy Billings is on his staff.
“When speaking of Brian, the things that come to mind is his knowledge of teaching the game of football, his ability to relate it to the kids and coaches, and his never ending search for knowledge,” Barnes said. “He comes from a great football background but is able to put his playing days behind him and work with our kids, looking for success each day.”
STABILITY: Rollins is starting his seventh season at South, but he still owns the shortest head-coaching tenure in school history.
South has had only five head coaches since it opened in 1961 — Lope Linder (1961-70), Reid Bradshaw (1971-82), Larry Deal (1983-94), Rick Vanhoy (1995-2005) and Rollins, who took over when South was still a member of the 4A CPC.
THANKS: Did you know Rollins was 5-0 against North Iredell? Those “other Raiders” have contributed significantly to Rollins’ 23 career victories.
GREAT NATE: South’s Lambert had 1,792 passing yards in 2011, a school season record, and now has 2,119 career passing yards.
Assuming good health, Lambert should easily break the school career passing mark of 2,973 yards set by Blake Houston from 2007-09.
Lambert also broke South’s total offense mark for a season in 2011 with 1,965 yards.
Lambert has 2,445 yards of total offense for his career, so he also has a good chance to break the school career record in that category. Houston also holds that mark, with 4,188 yards.
GOLD MEDLIN: South was run-oriented in its glory days, so the school’s list of 1,000-yard receivers is a short one — 1990s star Adrian Parker and recent hero B.J. Grant.
Senior tight end Josh Medlin, who had 668 receiving yards in 2011, figures to expand that exclusive club to three members this season.
SCORING MACHINE: Salisbury scored 562 points last season and broke a longstanding school record with 41.1 points per game.
QB Bauk and running backs Max Allen and Justin Ruffin all return and all are well on their way to cracking the 2,000-yard milestone for career rushing.
Allen, who accumulated 18 varsity rushing yards as a freshman and 364 as a sophomore when he attended East Rowan, tacked on 1,128 as a Salisbury junior and enters his senior season with 1,510 yards in the books.
Ruffin enters this season with 1,239 career rushing yards.
Bauk enters with 1,021 career rushing yards and 670 passing yards, so he likely will be a 3,000-yard performer in total offense. Only 33 players in county history are credited with reaching that milestone.
MILESTONE: West’s Young (148-40) will collect his 150th career win long before he picks up his 50th loss, which obviously is a remarkable record.
Young owns a bunch of wins against East Rowan (12-1), South Rowan (12-2) and Statesville (12-1), but his 10-0 mark against Salisbury may be his most impressive feat.
Well, that and his 2-0 record against Eastern Alamance in 3A state championship games.
Young is 6-0 against Carson, 9-2 against North Rowan and 10-1 against North Iredell.
A.L. Brown, which hasn’t played West since 2005, is responsible for more of Young’s losses than anyone with seven. Davie has beaten Young’s Falcons five times.
CRACKERJACK: Assuming good health, West’s Desmond Jackson also will be a threat to reach 2,000 career rushing yards. He enters this season with 1,059.
KNOCK ON WOOD: Carson’s Woody holds the distinction of being both the winningest and losingest coach in school history.
That’s because he’s the only coach in school history.
Woody is 24-46, which means he’s 24-24 since Carson started out 0-22.
Woody’s teams have experienced the most success against North Rowan (4-1).
Statesville (1-5), NW Cabarrus (0-4) and West Rowan (0-6) have caused a little trouble.
Carson posted an infamous minus-52 rushing yards against West in 2006.
RECORDS WATCH: While Shaun Warren’s rushing records at Carson are safe for a while, Cody Clanton’s receiving marks may be within reach of senior K.J. Pressley.
Pressley enters the season with 70 career receptions for 1,238 yards and 13 TDs.
Clanton finished his career in 2010 with 112 career receptions for 2,371 yards (second in county history) and 24 TDs.
With 30 grabs this season, Pressley would become the ninth player in county history to reach the 100-catch milestone. Pressley also has a shot at being only the fourth member of the county’s exclusive 2,000-yard club.
Junior QB Austin McNeill is a great bet to break all of Carson’s passing records before he graduates.
Zack Gragg, currently holds those marks, but as a sophomore, McNeill matched Gragg’s record for TD passes in a season with 15.
McNeill figures to threaten Gragg’s mark of 30 career TD passes before this season is over.
Also figuring to have quite a career is running back Brandon Sloop, who rushed for 956 yards on 206 workhorse carries as a varsity freshman in 2011. That season gave Sloop a great head-start toward breaking records, but Warren’s marks are going to be a challenge.
Ronnie Gallagher and Mike London contributed to the notebook.