Prep Football: West Rowan 29, Salisbury 10
[0x13]By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan quarterback Tyler Stamp made a daring decision, broke back inside and broke the backs of the Salisbury Hornets.
West got three huge scoring plays from Stamp, one of them on the last snap of the first half. That’s the play that will be remembered from West’s 29-10 victory in a fiercer-than-it-sounds game played in Mount Ulla on Friday.
“[0x13][0x12]Who’s to say it doesn’t all turn out different if they don’t get that score there?” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said wistfully. “But I think we made things too complicated for our kids.”
A Jayquan Smith pick (Keion Adams, who had already intercepted one pass, tipped it to Smith) set up the Steven Mazur field goal that[0x13] gave the Hornets a 10-7 lead with 2:48 left in the half.
But West was able to push to the Salisbury 17 as the final seconds of the half faded into the history books.
“I told Stamp we had time for two plays, that we needed him to throw to the end zone,” West coach Scott Young said. “Touchdown or stop the clock with an incompletion and take another shot.”
The play-call was for the right-handed Stamp to sprint to his left with a run-or-pass option. When he reached the sideline, no one was open and his best bet appeared to be to run out of bounds.
Instead he tucked the ball and sprinted back toward the middle of the field.
mentum to the locker room. Instead Stamp’s 17-yard weaving dash gave the Falcons the lead, and Zack Russell’s PAT made it 14-10.
“Once Stamp decided to run it was an all-or-nothing event,” West coach Scott Young said. “He got it all.”
Salisbury, which had given at least as good as it got up to that point, was playing catch-up after that play.
“That play was the tide-turner,” Salisbury QB Brian Bauk said dejectedly. “That play was the ballgame.”
It was even more emotional than usual, as both schools did their share prior to and during the game to honor the West students — Cody Rives and Ty Johnson — who lost their lives on Monday.
The road to West’s 42nd straight win against a county opponent and 12th straight against Salisbury was paved with bumps and bruises.
“Salisbury is really good,” West linebacker Logan Stoodley said. “Fast and athletic and they never backed down.”
West (3-0) got another huge defensive effort, holding the Hornets to 123 rushing yards — 39 fewer than West tailback Desmond Jackson.
Jackson was a workhorse. He churned for 162 yards on 25 carries and broke runs of 28 and 32.
Teoz Mauney, Kiero Cuthbertson, Matthew Choi and Stoodley led West’s defense, and the secondary permitted only three completions.
West struck on its opening possession, taking advantage of a pass interference penalty and scoring when Stamp hit Caleb Cranfield with an 18-yard dart for a touchdown.
“Our o-line has kept people from touching me all year, but I’ve been really tense throwing the ball,” Stamp said. “But things are starting to slow down a little. That throw gave me some confidence.”
Salisbury answered with its only touchdown. Bauk breezed 23 yards for the score when a Falcon missed an assignment, but West wouldn’t miss many more.[0x13]
“Against an option offense like Salisbury’s, you just have to play your assignment with proper technique and trust your teammates,” Stoodley said. “That’s what we did.”
West took control on a 75-yard punt return by Tyler Kennedy, who got a nice block from Broderick Avery.
When Stamp scrambled for another TD late in the third quarter and added a two-point conversion, the lead was 29-10 and West could rely on its fearsome defense.
“They were blowing up the gaps so fast it was unbelievable,” Bauk said. “We couldn’t get our iso stuff working. We had nothing [0x13]working.”
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