Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2013

MT. ULLA — Harrison Baucom has received a pretty big upgrade in West Rowan’s offense over the summer.
Baucom, who was primarily a punter last season, didn’t expect to be the starting quarterback coming into camp. After he was through with legion ball, he focused on the gridiron and hoped for the best.
Yet here he sits third in the county in total offense and has flourished in the Falcon system, a haven for running backs in recent years. In last week’s 65-7 romp of South Rowan, the field was Baucom’s oyster. The baseball star hit receivers with the same accuracy with which he finds the cutoff man.
“It was real fun,” Baucom said. “I’ve got to give credit to my offensive line, and they made the plays.”
Baucom, 6-feet and 180 pounds, threw four first-quarter touchdowns in the Falcons’ fourth straight win since losing to Mooresville in the opener. He only needed six completions to amass 173 yards passing. The Falcons are still mad about that early loss, the only blemish on an otherwise pristine record. They tore through previously unbeaten Northwest Cabarrus a week earlier and left little to chance against South with a 30-point first quarter.
“Ever since Mooresville, it opened our eyes,” Baucom said. “We basically had to work harder or lay down. We have way too much talent to just waste it away.”
Baucom is averaging 131.6 yards of passing per game and 51.6 yards rushing for 183.2 yards of offense. He’s done an admirable job replacing Tyler Stamp.
Chris Patterson was at the receiving end of two of Baucom’s TDs, one went for 27 yards and another for 61.
“Chris worked hard the whole week leading up to the game,” Baucom said. “Coming off on routes, he made great moves to get wide open.”
But challenges are ahead. The Falcons (4-1, 2-0) still have an argument in the SPC race and they can start their opening statements Friday. Much of the conference’s attention will be turned toward Concord and Central Cabarrus’ game, but West is in a big one of its own.
West heads to Carson for the Cougars’ first home game Friday. Central Cabarrus, currently ranked ninth in the state 3A poll, hosts West on Oct. 11. The Falcons face Concord on Oct. 25.
West Rowan’s running backs have been the focal point of the offense in recent years and this year is no different with senior Daisean Reddick, who’s third in county rushing.
“The backs will take care of themselves,” Baucom said. “You give the ball to them, they’re going to make plays.”
Baucom says he’s got to get better at surveying the field and keeping defenders guessing.
“I have a tendency of staring down a receiver,” said Baucom. “Reading the field is something coach Young’s been helping me with.”
Baucom isn’t coming in green though. He was a punter/running back/wildcat quarterback hybrid his sophomore year and quarterbacked the JV team as a freshman.
“You want that kid to be a playmaker,” West coach Scott Young said. “The other night he was a playmaker with his legs and his arm.”
Baucom’s arm gets a workout in right field during the baseball season, where he put together a couple of solid seasons. At some point, he’ll have to choose between football and baseball but for now, he’ll enjoy juggling both.
“It’s kind of which one will take me further,” Baucom said. “As of right now, I have no idea.”