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MT. ULLA — The offense put a lot of points on the board but it was the defense that set the tone right out of the gate for West Rowan last night.
The Falcons forced two quick fumbles to open the game, put up 30 in the first period and overwhelmed county rival South Rowan 65-7 on homecoming night.
“We wanted to make sure we started off fast,” stated star defensive back Najee Tucker who had one of the two early fumble recoveries. “We wanted to make sure we jumped on teams early.”
Quarterback Harrison Baucom fired four touchdown passes in the first quarter then ran for another before halftime as the Falcons (2-0, 3-1) kept themselves at the top of the South Piedmont conference. The Raiders (0-3, 0-5) battled to the end but had no answer for the fast start by the Falcons.
“When you get down that fast, that quick,” South coach Jason Rollins lamented, “It is hard to come out of that. I think it shocked our kids a little bit.”
It was more like shock and awe for the Falcons as defender Zeke Blackwood knocked the ball loose on the first play of the game. Tyler Kennedy made the recovery for West at the 16. West ended up settling for a 33 yard Zack Russell field goal but it was a sign of things to come.
On the next series Raider runner Derrick Blackwell coughed it up again and Tucker recovered at the South 27. Baucom immediately hit Chris Patterson in the end zone to make it 10-0 just over two minutes into the game.
The Falcons kept the pressure on when they executed an onsides kick, recovered by Raykwon Torrence at the Raider 42. Seven plays later, Baucom hit receiver Darius Gabriel over the middle for a 20 yard scoring toss and a 17-0 lead.
In the final four minutes of the first quarter, West added two more touchdowns off the arm of Baucom, the first on a screen pass to Daisean Reddick from the 14 and the last on a 61 yard laser shot to Patterson well behind the defense. That made it 30-0 and the rout was on.
“Baucom and I have worked real hard in practice to get better and do what the coaches say,” Patterson stated. “We just try to get better each week.”
“Everything just clicked,” Baucom added. “We made the right reads and our receivers busted their butts to get open.”
It only got worse for South two plays into the second period when Torrence fielded a punt at his own 32. A big lane opened up the middle and he raced 69 yards for a score and the 37-0 lead.
‘What I loved about our first half especially,” West Coach Scott Young said,” our offense was playing perfectly, our defense had a great effort and our kicking game was good. We were just clicking on all cylinders in all three phases.”
West made the score 44-0 on a Keyows Weeks 12 yard run, capping a 64 yard drive.
South then showed some life when Aaron Kennerly found the speedy Tyler Fuller open over the middle for a 47 yard TD strike. West responded before the half however when Baucom ran the option from 26 yards out to make it 51-7.
The scoring pace slowed in the second half but West did add a pair or touchdown runs from reserve halfback Mookie Martin, one from the six and the last one on a dazzling 42 yard sprint.
Russell who opened the game with the field goal, was deadly accurate with 8 of 9 on extra points. The only miss came on a bad snap.
Reddick led the ground attack with 101 yards for West while Patterson caught four for 139 yards and two scores.
Baucom rushed for 55 yards to go with his 173 yards in the air.

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