Prep Football: North Rowan 32, East Rowan 14
By Ryan Bisesi
SPENCER — Building a program means finding ways to win.
North Rowan found several paths to assert itself Friday night.
Blocked punts, kickoff returns and fumble recoveries were just a few of the ways the Cavaliers helped themselves in a battle with East Rowan in a 32-14 win.
The Cavs got five extra possessions on fumble recoveries to add to defensive and special teams scores to win their home opener. Jalen Sanders’ first two runs of the night went for touchdowns to give the Cavs the early edge. North (2-1) rebounded after not scoring an offensive touchdown against Salisbury.
“Offensively, we came out and scored on the first two drives,” North coach Joe Nixon said. “We started fast and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
The Cavs were outrushed and outpassed by East, but took other steps to climb the ladder.
Kasaun Coney had a special teams touchdown for the second-straight week on a 95-yard kickoff return for touchdown. Oshon West had a 50-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, one of two recoveries on the night. It was West’s first trip to the end zone as a varsity player. The highly-touted basketball recruit also had a sack and recovered Michael Robinson’s blocked punt.
“I was going across the line and Xavier Partee sacked the quarterback and I picked it up and went for the touchdown,” West said.
Robinson blocked a punt with the Mustangs backed up on their own goal line and recovered a fumble.
“Those kids are playing hard,” Nixon said. “That’s all we want them to do.”
Jareke Chambers scored his fourth touchdown of the year and led the Cavs with 104 yards rushing. Sanders finished with 90 on 11 carries.
“Our running backs are special players,” Nixon said. “They’re doing some stuff on their own. We’ve got to be able to run the football even when everybody knows we’re running the football.”
East (1-2) had several cohesive drives, but holding on to the ball was a chore. The Mustangs fumbled the ball away on their first three drives. All three came in North territory. The first came when Sam Wyrick hit Jordan Phillips in single coverage in the red zone and Phillips was stripped at the 10. East had the ball at the North 29 and 14 on the next two possessions before coughing it up.
“Six turnovers can’t win a ball game like that,” East coach Danny Misenheimer said. “We didn’t take care of the ball at all. We held it very loosely.”
Calvin Edwards highlighted East’s offense with 128 yards rushing despite battling cramps all game. Edwards pulled East to within 14-7 on a 1-yard TD run late in the first half, but Coney would deflate any momentum the Mustangs had. The Junior backed up to his own 5-yard line but broke free along the East Rowan sideline for a 20-7 North lead just 19 seconds after East climbed back in it.
“When it comes to that, I catch the ball and I look and wait to see the hole,” Coney explained. “When I see it, I shoot for it and if I score, I just score.”
Two weeks after winning his first varsity game, Wyrick was 7 of 19 for 107 yards for East. Phillips, who had a 20-yard touchdown reception, caught five passes for 89 yards. Madison Hedrick ran 15 times for 91 yards.
“I’m anxious to see how many yards of offense we had because we did move the ball,” Misenheimer said. “Every time we’d do something, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Chambers broke off a 49-yard run on the third play of the game to put North at the East 14. Sanders punched it in a play later and Coney made good on the 2-point conversion. The Cavs went 3 and out on their next drive, but got the ball near midfield on a Trae Clark fumble recovery. Quarterback Alexis Archie found Mike Connor for a 26-yard completion and Sanders found 39 yards and the end zone three plays later.
“I’m very happy with my kids,” Nixon said. “They fought, they played hard and did it with class.”
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