Lear jets to glory in debut for Carson
Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 17, 2013
The prep football notebook …
Austin Lear, usually a standout on Thursdays for Carson’s strong jayvee team, had a pretty incredible game Friday for the varsity in a 48-6 cruise past South Rowan.
The sophomore had a touchdown on offense and an interception on defense and was seriously considered by the Carson staff for “Friday Night Hero” status.
“There can’t be many guys who ever have had a better debut when they were called up,” Carson coach Joe Pinyan said.
There’s a story behind the interception.
“We were looking around for another DB to send in, and someone said, ‘Hey, you can put in Austin,’” Pinyan said. “At first, I thought they were talking about (quarterback) Austin McNeill, and there’s no way I was putting McNeill in on defense. But then I realized they were talking about Austin Lear.”
Austin and his brother, Andy, have been terrors on the jayvee team, sort of Carson’s version of East Rowan’s Wyrick twins.
DANGEROUS DANG: Carson nose tackle Tonny Dang is starting to get so many shoutouts for being unsung, that’s he’s on the verge of being sung.
“He’s playing well,” Pinyan said. “With Tonny, Ryan Bearden and Alex Lyles upfront, it’s been hard to find a place to run the ball against us.”
HE’S GOT HIS SHRINE ON: Middle linebacker Myquon Stout, the first Cougar tabbed for the Shrine Bowl, blocked a PAT against South and had two sacks.
“When I coached in the Shrine game, we wanted to take good players who were also good human beings,” Pinyan said. “You want players that work hard, are good kids, and players you can take to the hospital to visit the children. Myquon is that guy.”
BIG MAC: As expected, QB Austin McNeill has thrown a lot less with Pinyan coaching, but he can still make things happen.
McNeill threw only nine passes against South, but he accounted for 196 aerial yards and three TDs. He raised his season TD pass total to eight and his career total to a school-record 39.
“My brother had been kidding me about the video interview I did with the Post, where I was talking about how risky it was to throw the ball,” Pinyan said.
Carson showed it can it throw it some.
TOWER OF HOWER: One of McNeill’s TD tosses went to Andrew Hower. Pinyan was thrilled for Hower.
“Hower does a great job blocking every week, and I was glad we were able to get him in the end zone,” Pinyan said. “Hower also had a good catch on a bootleg pass for a first down.”
Brandon Huneycutt caught another TD pass. Five of his nine catches have produced TDs.
AWARDS: McNeill was Carson’s offensive player of the week, while tackle Ryan Bearden was honored on defense.
Darren Isom, who scored three TDs, was honored as special teams player of the week.
“Darren likes to be that guy who gets down the field first and makes the hit on kickoffs,” Pinyan said.
When you’re ranked No. 1 in 2A, and North has held that position for over a month now, expectations are high.
North (7-0) played a solid game in a 33-13 homecoming victory against Lexington, but some expected 53-0.
“Going back and watching the film, Lexington was good and had athletes very similar to the ones we faced at Forest Hills,” North coach Joe Nixon said. “We played hard and played pretty good, but we had also three turnovers. That’s something we’ve got to work on.”
BEST FOOT FORWARD: Nixon is as aware as anyone that when North gets into the playoffs, it’s going to have to execute on PATS.
Trae Clark was 3-for-4 on PAT kicks Friday. Another PAT attempt failed before Clark got a chance to kick.
“He’s getting better and better, and we’re working hard on it,” Nixon said.
Nixon had praise for punter Dylan Auten. North’s offense has been so productive that it’s punted fewer times than anyone in the county, but Auten had two good ones on Friday.
PICKING AND GRINNING: Mike Robinson’s sliding interception against Lexington was his second of the season and might have inspired Kasaun Coney to make the amazing diving interception that was his first of the year.
“Well, Mike has two now and I’ve got two,” linebacker Xavier Robinson said. “So Kasaun really wanted to get one.”
DEFENSE: North piled up tackles for loss at an alarming rate against Lexington. Lexington’s first half was an offensive nightmare with every other play going backwards. Only three Lexington plays lost yardage in the second half, but North had backed off its blitzes some at that point.
Cecil McCauley had two sacks. Clark had a sack. Xavier Robinson had two hits for loss, Kenyaun Coney also had two, and Malik McGee and Omar Lipscomb had one each.
HE’S BACK: The biggest news for North Friday was the return of Alexis Archie, who played several series at quarterback and scored a rushing TD.
After an outstanding opening night, Archie was hurt in the second game of the season against Carson.
That’s when North’s devastating running back Jareke Chambers showed he also could be a devastating quarterback.
“I think everyone’s been waiting to see Jareke and me in the same backfield again,” Archie said. “I’ve got to thank my doctors and trainers for getting me back on the field as soon as they did. And I want to thank a lot of people for their prayers.”
Calvin Edwards, the county’s leading returning rusher, will not play this year according to East Rowan coach Dany Misenheimer.
Edwards, East’s representative on the cover of the “Fast and Furious” football preview section, ran for 1,501 yards last year and scored 21 touchdowns. The senior hurt his back in the spring but was expected to hit the field at some point this fall.
“We’re trying to get him to where can at least work out for some colleges in the spring,” Misenheimer said.
The Mustangs (3-4) have slowly built their passing game without Edwards as they’ve thrown for 224, 230 and 266 yards the past three games.
SHOUTOUTS: Misenheimer credited left guard Daniel Jones with his best game so far and kicker Salvador Sanchez hit all six of his extra point attempts.
Post Athlete of the Week Seth Wyrick caught a touchdown pass from three different throwers in Samuel Wyrick, Max Wall and Noah Drye.
Drye also had some big catches.
HISTORY: Last year, East became the first county team to beat West Rowan since 2001 on a game-saving tackle by Dustin Mowery at the 1-yard line. No doubt Friday’s game has been circled on quite a few calenders. Not only is it a county rivalry, it’s important as far as conference seeding and East’s playoff hopes at 3-4.
“This is our playoffs,” Misenheimer said. “We lose here in this stretch, that could keep us out. If we want to make it to the postseason, we’ve got to win these games here.”
Back-to-back losses, including a 28-16 setback against Central Cabarrus last Friday, have sent the Falcons, who have two SPC losses, spiraling out of the conference championship picture.
Concord has no SPC losses, while Carson and Central have one each, A Carson upset of Concord would help get the Falcons back in the chase.
STOUT DEFENSE: Central Cabarrus’ Kenny Purvis had been running wild, but West limited him to 72 yards in 20 carries.
“Our defense was great against the run,” West coach Scott Young said.
Teoz Mauney, Derrick Fortson, Nick Collins, Dearius Phillips, Najee Tucker and Zek Blackwood paced the roll call of West defensive standouts.
On the flip side, though, Central’s defense stopped West’s running game in general and tailback Daisean Reddick, in particular.
West had a season-low 116 rushing yards. West (4-3) is 0-2 when it’s held under 200 rushing yards.
ABOUT TIME: West went three games without picking off a pass, but J.T. Sanders got one Friday.
West has only four picks this season, two by Charlotte commitment Tucker.
Winless Salisbury surprised many by taking an upstart East Davidson team (6-1) down to the wire last Friday in a 33-32 loss in the Central Carolina Conference opener.
“There’s 10 plays in every game that determine the outcome,” Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder said. “We had more go against us than for us.”
The Hornets (0-7) now face Lexington, another 0-7 team — on the road.
LIFE OF RILEY: Riley Myers had 253 passing yards, not far off the school record of 267. Myers completed 17 of 23 passes with no interceptions.
Last Friday’s summary of the Salisbury-East Davidon credited Myers with 273 yards, which would have broken Brian Pollard’s record set in 1991,
Salisbury broke down film of the game to figure out exactly where Myers stood, and the official was 253.
OFFENSIVE PUNCH: Tony Krider and Jon Mark Petty were prominent in the passing game with Krider having 53 and 57-yard receptions and Petty converting two fourth downs with catches. The Hornets have an interesting scoring arc, having been shut out four times. They’ve also scored 30 points against Lake Norman and had a season-high last week. On the ground, Tim Rhodes had a good game with 94 yards rushing on 10 carries.
SHOUTOUTS: Crowder complimented Damek Bratcher and Michael Dyson’s play Friday on the offensive line. Defensively Levoid Stratton and Jordan Oglesby played stout on the line.
Not much went right for South Rowan (0-7) in a 48-6 loss to surging Carson.
With QB Aaron Kennerly out, South’s offense generated a season-low 125 yards, while South’s defense allowed a season-high 511 yards to the Cougars.
TOUGH TIMES: South has allowed 119 points in the first quarter alone, including 30 each by South Iredell and West Rowan. North Rowan has allowed 104 all season.
South set a school record by allowing 45 points per game in 2012. South is allowing 44.6 this season. South hasn’t allowed fewer than 34 and has allowed 40-plus five times.
Still, linebacker Burke Fulcher has been a standout for South’s defense.
Damon Johnson, who does a little of everything for the Wonders (6-1), was named the team’s offensive player of the week for his effort in a 61-6 pounding of Robinson. Johnson ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass on a gadget-play toss by Casey Walker.
Johnson also has thrown TD passes this season.
Defensive Player of the Week honors went to lineman Christian Carter. Carter had three more sacks and has to be one of the leaders in the state in that department.
He had two additional tackles for loss on running plays.
Daveon Perry ran the opening kickoff back 99 yards for a TD, and that made him an easy choice as the Wonders’ special teams player of the week.
Perry also had an electrifying punt return.
Christian Neal was named the Wonders’ “Hitman of the Week” for a bruising tackle he made on a kickoff. Like Perry, Neal is a former South Rowan player.
Kendall Holmes anchored the defensive line to claim “Hawg of the Week” honors.
MIRROR, MIRROR: Rumor has it that coaches will draw up plays on napkins while they’re sitting in restaurants.
A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome and assistant Scott Jordan resorted to drawing up new wrinkles for Friday’s game with Hough on the huge mirror in the coach’s office.
Pointing at the relatively tiny dry-erase board where the team’s practice schedule is posted to the left of the mirror, Newsome proposed some changes in the decor.
“I’m not really happy with looking at myself in a mirror that big,” Newsome quipped. “What we need here is a dry-erase board the size of that mirror and a mirror the size of the dry-erase board.”
Or maybe some napkins.
SCHEDULE BLUES: Brown’s schedule probably will be the state’s toughest the next two Fridays, with Hough this week and Mallard Creek on deck.
HERO: Offensive left tackle is the Wonders’ hero this week. His story will be in Friday’s edition.
Last week’s open week came at a good time for Davie, which was reeling after CPC losses to Reagan and North Davidson.
“I feel good about the off week,” Davie coach Devore Holman said. “We made gains by leaps and bounds. I’m really encouraged.”
NEXT GOAL: The 0-2 league start basically eliminates Davie (2-5) from the conference-title picture. Now the War Eagles have to think about qualifying for the playoffs.
Davie should be able to handle R.J. Reynolds and Parkland, the team at the bottom of the league, but the War Eagles will be an underdog again this week against West Forsyth, which is ranked in 4A. West’s Forsyth’s only loss is to powerful East Forsyth.
Mike London, Ryan Bisesi, Marny Hendrick and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.