Injury likely a season-ender for South QB
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Prep football notebook …
His right collarbone broken, Aaron Kennerly sat in a chair and quietly watched South Rowan practice on Monday.
Officially, Kennerly is out six to eight weeks and the Raiders are still looking for their first win, so the injury figures to be a season-ender. Playoff games are only a dream right now for the Raiders, especially after South (0-6, 0-4) fell 45-36 to Cox Mill last Friday on homecoming.
“The thing I hate most is we were driving down the field, down only two points, and we were going to score at least a field goal to win the ballgame,” Kennerly said. “I had rolled out on the play where I got hurt, and it wasn’t even a big hit, definitely not a devastating hit or anything like that. It was just the way I landed. I knew as soon as I hit the ground that it was broken. When you break a collarbone, it’s a different kind of pain.”
Kennerly knows all about that particular pain. This was the junior’s third broken collarbone.
He also broke the right one as an eighth-grader. He broke his left collarbone in last season’s final game when the Raiders were playing Statesville.
Through South’s first five games, Kennerly had 793 passing yards. At that pace, he would’ve thrown for 1,744 yards in an 11-game season. The school record is Nathan Lambert’s 1,792 yards in 2011, so Kennerly likely would’ve at least challenged that record.
“He was really getting confident in the pocket, and he was having a great season for us,” South coach Jason Rollins said. “He’s got high character and he was a great leader. He was one of those kids who never questions anything. He listens and then he goes out and does the best he can.”
Kennerly was sacked a lot in the Raiders’ games against top-10 teams South Iredell and Concord, but he didn’t get hurried into bad decisions. He finished his season with zero interceptions in 77 passing attempts.
Kennerly had 88 passing yards in the Cox Mill game, so his final numbers will be 881 passing yards and 71 net rushing yards. He threw four TD passes and ran for two scores.
“The positive is A-Rod (that’s what most people call Kennerly) has still got next year,” Rollins said. “When Nathan Lambert got hurt last season, he was a senior and didn’t have next year.”
Stabilized collarbones heal with time and don’t normally require surgery, but Kennerly is looking into protective plates for his collar bones.
WHO’S NEXT? Tight end Matt Honeycutt replaced Kennerly at quarterback Friday. He almost immediately went down with a concussion and was seated next to Kennerly at Monday’s practice.
Honeycutt was healthy enough to offer some humor regarding his brief stint at quarterback.
“A-Rod didn’t throw a pick all year,” he said with a sigh. “But I got one.”
Peyton Penninger took the final snaps for South Friday, but he’s needed on defense, so who will quarterback this Friday at Carson?
“Let’s keep that one a mystery,” Rollins said. “Maybe it’ll be Big Red.”
Or not. “Big Red” is the nickname of offensive lineman Greg Keller.
South coaches joked that the new QB might be assistant Bobby Myers or assistant Thad Chrismon. Both were notable QBs in their younger days.
Chrismon kidded that East Carolina freshman Eric Tyler, who used to do a little bit of everything for the Raiders, might be called on to report for duty.
“Quarterback tryouts at 6 today,” chirped assistant Jim Brooks.
Heath Barringer is the jayvee quarterback. Receiver Eric Stowe is a good enough athlete to step in at QB and make plays. Probably, it’ll be one of those two.
FIVE TDS: The injury to Kennerly overshadowed a tremendous performance by running back Derrick Blackwell that gave South a chance to win Friday.
The former Salisbury Hornet blasted for 190 yards and five TDs on 37 workhorse carries.
“Derrick was the one taking us up and down the field,” Kennerly said. “Derrick and the offensive line. Our offensive line was manhandling their guys up front.”
Rollins had praise for linemen Keller, Brock Miller, Jonathan Lambert, Matt Milam, Reagan May and Eric Finger.
“That whole group played well,” he said. “Domo (Dominique Bost, South’s other running back) was limited by an ankle injury, so Derrick carried more of the load than usual. He had a big night.”
Scoring piles of touchdowns in a game has become a more common occurrence in recent years than it once was because of special players like West’s K.P. Parks, North’s Jareke Chambers and Salisbury’s Dominique Dismuke, Romar Morris and Justin Ruffin, but it’s only the second time a South player has accomplished the feat in 53 years of football.
“It was all inside runs, power stuff,” Blackwell said. “It was most definitely our offensive line that made it happen.”
The only other time a Raider scored five TDs in one night was when Chris Torrence rolled for 231 yards in South’s 33-14 victory against West Rowan in 1995. Torrence rushed for 10 TDs that season. Half of them came against the Falcons.
0-6: The injury to Kennerly makes it tougher for South to get a breakthrough win, but Rollins is still thinking positively, even with Carson, flying high, up next.
“Our kids are disappointed we didn’t beat Cox Mill and the coaches are disappointed for the kids,” Rollins said. “Special teams bit us Friday, but we’ll work on those things this week. I can promise you we’ll keep fighting.”
After a 28-21 win against West Rowan that shook up the local football scene — even A.L. Brown coaches were stunned by the result — Carson has to get back on an even keel. There’s a lot of football left, and the Cougars (4-2, 2-1) are suddenly contenders in the SPC.
Coach Joe Pinyan was glad to see rain coming down on Monday as his team prepared to practice.
“Now we can tell our kids that the rain has washed Friday away, and we’ve gotta start over,” Pinyan said with a smile. “But seriously, we might have to do our best coaching job of the season this week. Our kids are up in the clouds right now, and we’ve gotta bring them back down to earth somehow to play a South team that we know is going to play hard.”
HOW BIG WAS IT? Carson linebacker Myquon Stout, who’s committed to Appalachian State, owns a state-championship gold medal for the shot put.
“I asked Myquon how Friday’s win compared to winning his state title,” Pinyan said. “He said there was no comparison. He said Friday was much bigger because it was a team thing.”
MORE GOLD: Alex Lyles, Carson’s left defensive tackle, was honored prior to Friday’s game for his wrestling state championship. Lyles leads the county with three fumble recoveries.
MORE ACCOLADES: Carson running back Brandon Sloop was mostly contained by West’s defense, but he did score two TDs.
“Sloop also blocked very well,” Pinyan said. “That’s what made him our offensive player of the week.”
Spur Tre Williams, who had a pick-6, was the defensive honoree. He nosed out nose tackle Tonny Dang for that honor.
“Our guys showed amazing heart Friday, and Tonny showed as much as anyone,” Pinyan said. “Tonny is about 5-7 if you stretch him out, and he’s going against (West center) Trey Brawley, who is a really good player. Tonny held his ground. He made a bunch of hits and he played one heck of a game.”
Pinyan said special teams player of the week honors would be shared by kicker Logan “Fox” Correll and punter Heath Mitchem.
“They both made mistakes on kicks, but when they did, they got in on the tackle and made up for it,” Pinyan said.
ADJUSTNG: Pinyan said he’s still adapting offensively to what he can do at Carson, as opposed to what he was able to do at Salisbury.
“At Salisbury I was in a system where our offense was 3 yards, then 4 yards, then boom … 70 yards,” Pinyan said. “Here, it’s more like 3 and then 4, and then 3 more. I probably should be going for it more on fourth down than I have been. We’ve been able to usually get pretty consistent yards.”
CRYSTAL BALL: Carson fell behind West 14-0 very early, but it was almost like Pinyan had already seen it coming.
“It was a shock, for sure, but it was like Coach already knew what would happen,” Williams said. “He said we’d have to take their best punch, but then we’d throw our best. He said that we couldn’t cower and we couldn’t flinch. He said we had to believe, and that’s how we played.”
Salisbury (0-6) had a tough time again in a 44-0 loss to Southeast Guilford on Friday. The Hornets were shut out for the fourth time overall and the second straight game.
The good news is the imposing part of Salisbury’s schedule is over. In a rebuilding year, the Hornets started out with Carson, East Rowan, West Rowan, Lake Norman, South Iredell and finally SEG. All those schools are 3As or 4As.
Central Carolina Conference play begins this Friday, and Salisbury has a tough opener at home with East Davidson (5-1). However, SHS has new life with a 0-0 conference record, the same mark every other team in the CCC has.
“Our approach has always been that there’s three seasons,” Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder said. “There’s non-conference, conference and playoffs. Everything’s back to 0-0.”
East Davidson hasn’t played the daunting schedule that Salisbury has, but the Golden Eagles have an experienced unit.
“It’s probably the best team they’ve had in the past five years,” Crowder said. “All their skill guys have started since they were sophomores.”
Lexington (0-6) and Thomasville (1-5) could be the Hornets’ best chances for a win in the coming weeks. West Davidson (4-2) has already surpassed its win total from last year.
HEALTHIER: Quarterback Riley Myers, who sat out the South Iredell game with an injury, was back against SEG for three quarters. Myers had a 56-yard run for the Hornets’ longest play from scrimmage. The Hornets were decimated by injuries after the Lake Norman loss, but Crowder says most of the squad is back at it.
“We’ve got about 90 percent of them back at 80 percent health, if that makes sense,” Crowder said.
CREDIT DUE: Crowder credited Tim Rhodes and Michael Dyson with good offensive games. He also was pleased that the defense came up with a goal-line stand on SEG’s first possession, stopping the Falcons inside the 5-yard line.
While quarterback Harrison Baucom didn’t have a good offensive night against Carson, he once again boomed his punts.
Baucom, who made All-NPC in 2012 as a punter, is averaging right at 40 yards per kick and was even better than that on Friday.
And keep in mind some of his best punts have come after he took a hit running or throwing on third down.
RED ALERT: West (4-2, 2-1 SPC) couldn’t move the ball consistently against Carson’s defense, but Daisean Reddick broke runs of 67.45, 19 and 16 yards to provide the bulk of West’s 250 rushing yards.
“You watch Reddick run on film, and you think it must be on fast-forward,” Carson assistant Jason Stanley said. “But the film is at normal speed. Reddick is just that fast.”
Reddick, who missed two full games and part of another, has rushed for 450 yards on only 49 carries.
A disappointing 35-21 SPC loss at Hickory Ridge in which the Mustangs (2-4, 1-3) trailed 29-0 against a team that had been winless in the league was a real setback to East’s playoff chances.
The most obvious positive for East continues to be the play of the Wyrick twins, QB Samuel and receiver Seth. They have a chance to break some of the longest-standing school records on the books.
Samuel threw for 230 yards Friday and has 643 passing yards in East’s last three games. He has 974 passing yards for the season.
Samuel is on pace to break East’s school record for passing yards in a season which C.M. Yates has held since 1970. Yates threw for 1,588 yards in 1970. Wyrick is on pace to throw for 1,744 this year, even if East only plays 11 games.
Seth already has a whopping 43 catches for 559 yards.
Johnny Yarbrough’s school record for catches in a season (58) has stood since 1969, but Seth is on pace to break it. Yarbrough’s 1,117 receiving yards in 1969 also is a school record that has withstood every challenge.
BLOCK PARTY: Shiheem Saunders who famously blocked the PAT that was instrumental in East’s 21-20 win against Cox Mill blocked a Hickory Ridge PAT try.
Like Salisbury, North finally opens CCC play Friday. Coming off their open week, the top-ranked Cavaliers (6-0) host winless Lexington, in what appears to be a serious mismatch.
Lexington always has athletes, however, and has won 15 of 36 meetings over the years with the Cavaliers.
JAREKE UPDATE: Junior quarterback Jareke Chambers has a chance for one of the best total-offense and scoring seasons in county history.
Chambers has accumulated 843 rushing yards, 597 passing yards and 98 points.
A.L. Brown (5-1, 2-0 MECKA) has won three games that looked iffy when this season began — Weddington, Berry and Vance. The Wonders, who won 55-40 at Vance on Friday, take on struggling Robinson next, and it now appears the Wonders, at worst, will go 8-3.
Still ahead are MECKA monsters Mallard Creek and Hough, two of the state’s best.
AWARDS: Because of injuries, Chris Hill had to move from safety to linebacker. All he did was earn defensive player of the week accolades.
“He’s not big, but he held his own,” A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome said. “His stats weren’t necessarily off the charts, but the whole staff agreed he played off the charts.”
Offensive honors for the week went to quarterback Andrew Ramirez for a 10-for-14 passing effort that produced 197 yards and two TDs.
DB Kenon Jones won special-teams honors for a hustle play, a touchdown-saving tackle on a long Vance runback.
Powerful center Caleb Spry earned “Hawg of the Week” honors.
Maliek Patterson, one of the H-backs, earned “Hitman of the Week” accolades for a devastating crackback block.
FEELING GOOD: The A.L. Brown staff was in a good spirits after prevailing in the shootout with Vance.
“But then the Cowboys and Broncos came along on Sunday and stole some of our thunder,” assistant Scott Jordan said with a grin.
Newsome was elated with the victory.
“Our defense played a good second half,” he said. “Our offense played good the whole game. That was the most physical and the biggest Vance team I’ve ever seen (a 280-pound Vance lineman has committed to Charlotte), but our kids just bowed up in the second half.”
Davie (2-5, 0-2) continued to struggle in the tough CPC and lost 41-24 at strong North Davidson, which has won 20 of its last 22, on Friday.
The War Eagles haven’t been 2-5 since 1991.
“We need to get healthy,” Davie coach Devore Holman said. “We’ve got some dings and injuries that we’ve gotta get healthy.”
Even Cade Carney was human last week, but strep throat and a thumb injury were the reason. Davie QB Parker Correll also is nicked up.
Mike London, Ryan Bisesi, Marny Hendrick and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.