2012 Football: Cover boys color our world

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You may lose track of the nickname or the team’s best player or even who the head coach is.
But nobody forgets a school’s color.
In Rowan County, everyone knows green means North Rowan and red is South and West is blue …. and so on.
Another season is here and the local squads are ready to color our world.
What’s neat are the definitions of each school’s color and how close to reality they are to each of the 2012 Cover Boys.
Got talent? These six sure have.
First of all, how are the Cover Boys chosen? We like to have a returning all-county player and this season, the coaches easily signed off on all of the stars: lineman Will Robertson of North Rowan, quarterbacks Nathan Lambert of South Rowan and Brian Bauk of Salisbury, linebackers Logan Stoodley of West Rowan and Tyler L’Hommedieu of East Rowan and receiver K.J. Pressley of Carson.
Each one is considered by many to be the best returning senior on his team.
And each one shows on the cover that they are proud to wear their colors:
North Rowan
Green means growth, hope and harmony.
Joe Nixon is a first-year coach who is definitely promoting all three.
“We’re trying to grow,” said Nixon, a long-time West Rowan assistant before coming to Spencer.
As far as harmony, that’s not a problem with the Cavaliers, according to Nixon.
“These kids have grown up playing ball with each other forever,” he said. “Our numbers are really good and kids like being around each other. They have a good time in the locker room.”
Robertson is a big part of that.
“Will’s a guy you can expect to be here,” Nixon said. “He punches that time clock each and every day.”
And hope?
“We need some hope,” Nixon grinned. “I hope we do pretty well.”
South Rowan
It’s no surprise that basic red is defined as fire, energy and passion. That’s Lambert, says Raiders coach Jason Rollins.
“As soon as last season was over, Nathan started working toward this year,” Rollins said of the passion and desire. “He’s beyond a leader.”
And red means intensity.
“There are few like Nathan at quarterback,” Rollins said of the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder. “Every once in a while you’ll see a quarterback come out with that type of intensity. Nathan has that.”
West Rowan
This color means confidence, trust, stability and intelligence. A team that has made it to four straight 3A state championship games usually has all that, right?
West coach Scott Young says it’s easy for young players to trust because of his program’s annual success.
“Stability is a big key,” Young said. “We’ve been on a run for so long the kids in youth programs want to be a part of us. They can’t wait to be Bulldogs at West Middle.”
“We like to think that our guys know more than our opposition,” Young said. “A lot of people get hyped up before a game. That stuff fades fast. We want a businesslike approach. Staying calm is important.”
He pointed to a playoff win against Statesville last year when the Falcons fell behind 14-0.
“If our players panic then, our goose is cooked and we don’t make a run to Chapel Hill,” he said.
Confidence? No problem in Mount Ulla.
“We like our players to play with a chip on their shoulder and have a swagger. That’s half the battle.”
Stoodley should have a swagger. He’s one of the few players to ever appear on two straight covers.
“All those things that apply to blue can be applied to Logan Stoodley,” Young smiled.
Gold is all about optimism and confidence and so is the Salisbury athletic program. The Hornets have won state championships not only in football, but soccer, tennis, track and golf over the last few years.
“We talk to our kids about that ring of gold on the helmet being from championship players and teams,” said football coach Joe Pinyan. “That’s the common bond with the groups before us and after us.”
Pinyan laughed when asked about Bauk and confidence. Those are two words that go together.
“He may be the most confident player you’ll ever coach in your life,” Pinyan said. “Brian mixes in well with the kids. He gets their attention. They see that ingredient in him that only God gave him.”
And as far as gold being defined as optimism?
“We don’t call it optimism,” Pinyan chuckled. “We call it reality.”
Orange is a power color and the Cougars are on the verge of really breaking out in the school’s seventh year of existence. There has been one 10-win season and more could come, thanks, in part, to Pressley, a long, lanky, 6-3 talent.
“He has good hands and college coaches really like him,” coach Mark Woody said. “As far as the team, we instill in our kids to be physical, strong, and tough.”
If change is needed, burn an orange candle for seven nights. It will mean a change for the better.
“I wish that candle had been burning about five or six years ago,” Woody laughed, thinking back to the school’s 0-22 start.
Orange also makes you crave food.
“My coaches like that,” Woody laughed again. “We can eat.”
East Rowan
The definition of the Mustangs’ dark red include rage, anger and courage.
First-year head coach Danny Misenheimer is all in.
“We’re going with ‘controlled violence,’ ” Misenheimer said. “We’re trying to teach them how to compete. We’ve kinda lost that.”
Leadership and vigor are also definitions. That’s where L’Hommedieu comes in.
“I wish I had 29 more of him,” Misenheimer said. “He is a vocal leader in the weight room and has led by example.”
Then, there’s integrity.
Misenheimer is actually getting a sign painted that will read “Championship Person, Championship Player, Championship Team.”
“That’s what we’re preaching,” Misenheimer said. “We should never have to worry about grades. Most teachers are willing to help you out. Failing a class is not an option. It’s laziness.”

So you see, names and faces come and go in high school football but the colors remain the most recognizable part of Friday night football.
Now, let’s see if the definitions translate into wins for Rowan County’s six high school football teams.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.