Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GRANITE QUARRY — Tyler L’Hommedieu carried on with his family in the East Rowan library. No one told him to be quiet, for he’s been one of the East’s biggest noisemakers the past two seasons.
Things are good these days for L’Hommedieu, who will enter West Point Prep for a year before joining the Army in the summer of 2014. It’s basically the Army’s version of a redshirt to help incoming athletes get acclimated to the academics. That shouldn’t be a problem as he carries a 3.88 GPA.
The linebacker/tight end combo confirmed his choice last week with East coaches looking on. They were there for his senior-year blossoming and weren’t going to miss this moment either.
The hardest part of coaching him was learning to pronounce his last name.
“We called him Mountain Dew for a while,” said East coach Danny Misenheimer, who’s down about 35 pounds since the season ended. “We’re excited to have one of our kids go on to a major program. It’s a great opportunity for him and his family.”
While his legacy in college has yet to be cemented, L’Hommedieu will be remembered as part of a team that helped East fulfill its potential. He saw sobering lows at in addition to the riveting highs.
He was there for three wins in two seasons before last year when Misenheimer came and squeezed the most out of his defense, which L’Hommedieu was a key cog of.
“The coaches changed things around here,” L’Hommedieu said. “They changed the attitude and the way we worked, the way we played. It was an honor playing for them.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound senior had 120 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 14 sacks as one of the county’s finalist for defense player of the year. L’Hommedieu excelled in the 3-5 defense, concocted by defensive coordinator Jason Barnes, along with studs Austin Hill and T.J. Jefferson. All of Rockwell, Granite Quarry and Faith hopped aboard in a return to glory season for East.
The Mustangs took everyone with them to a third-round playoff bout with Concord and a second-place finish in the North Piedmont Conference. The defensive tenacity saw the Mustangs hold eight teams to 14 points or less.
“We played aggressive and fast,” L’Hommedieu said. “It was a lot of fun.”
It started with a bang at Salisbury where the Mustangs showed they were no longer the county punching bag. East held the Hornets, who would go on to the 2A semifinal, to 14 points. Not bad for a team that averaged 38 a game.
“We thought all the way we were going to win the game,” L’Hommedieu said. “They came in and scored on the first drive. The rest of the game we pretty much stopped them.”
Then there was the immortal win against West Rowan that broke the Falcons’ 10-year streak of county wins. East hadn’t beaten Salisbury and West in the same season since 1996. The Mustangs were 4-1 against the county and Misenheimer was coach of the year.
L’Hommedieu admits he’ll have to gain size in order to be a factor at the next level. He was on the varsity for three seasons and gained significant weight last summer.
“He was a major component of our defense,” Miseneheimr said. “People had to find him and run away from him or send enough guys to block him. He;s a guy that’s going to be hard to replace.”
L’Hommedieu contacted West Point grad Ty Cobb about the Academy and got interested in joining the service. Local fans remember West grad Jon Crucitti, who played in nine games last year as a senior for Army. L’Hommedieu’s folks consulted with Crucitti beforehand about the Army experience. L’Hommedieu says he hopes to meet him.
“We worked very hard this offseason to get him placed,” Misenheimer said. “It’s been a long process. It’s great for East Rowan as a whole when a kid like Tyler gets put out there like this. Hopefully one day he’ll come back to us as an officer.”