Steele honored by Cavs
Robert Steele is one of the most important figures in Rowan County athletics and was honored at North Rowan’s halftime on Friday after again being named coach of the year for track and field by the National High School Coaches Association.
An East Rowan and Livingstone graduate who is a member of the NCHSAA, Livingstone and Salisbury-Rowan halls of fame, Steele coached 15 state-championship teams at North and impacted a number of other North championship teams. He coached dozens of individual state champions and was named one of the 100 coaches to remember during the NCHSAA’s centennial ceremonies.
Among others, Steele coached LaTasha Pharr, Gatorade female track and field athlete of the year for North Carolina in 2000 and 2001; Greg Yeldell, the N.C. Gatorade winner for 1997 and 1998; Brian Ellis, the Gatorade winner for 1991, and Andre Tillman, the Gatorade honoree for 2004.
Steele is credited with coaching 90 T&F athletes who received a total of $6 million in athletic grants from 24 different colleges.
“Coach Steele has had a tremendous positive impact on young people at North Rowan,” North head football coach Joe Nixon said. “He’s taught a lot of life lessons through sports, and he’s been one of the guys that’s been behind us since I got here. He’s very important to this school and this community, and this honor is well-deserved.”
PASS THE SYRUP: North’s 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman Nick Leverett has 19 pancake blocks in the last two weeks.
UNDER THE WEATHER: Jareke Chambers was sick, throwing up on the sideline, during North’s 46-7 win against East Davidson last Friday. That explains why Chambers had only eight carries. He made them count for 165-yards.
Chambers, a junior, now has 2,457 rushing yards, including 41 he accumulated in cameos as a varsity freshman. The school record set by Mark Sturgis, 3,257 rushing yards from 1974-76, has stood in Spencer for a long time.
DB TERROR: Besides intercepting three passes and turning in a pick-6 on Friday, Mike Robinson is doing some things that aren’t on the traditional stat sheet. He’s blocked two punts and he’s caused four fumbles. The second (partially) blocked punt and the fourth forced fumble came Friday against East Davidson.
STEPPING UP: A banged-up Andra Cowan sat out the East Davidson game, but North Rowan (9-0, 3-0 CCC) still rushed for 297 yards, its third-best total of the season. Defensive stars Xavier Robinson and Kasaun Coney helped out the offense, and Raekwon Wynruit did a nice job with five carries for 19 yards. QB Alexis Archie also chipped in with the biggest rushing night of his career — nine carries for 63 yards and three TDs. Archie’s previous best was 53 yards against South Stanly last season.
DB TERROR II: Coney had six picks in 2012 but didn’t have one this year until CCC play started.
Suddenly, he has four in three weeks. Two came on Friday night.
“The first one was pretty lucky because I never saw the ball until I caught it,” Coney said. “But the second one, I saw that one coming all the way.”
Coney is a threat to go all the way any time he touches the ball, whether it’s on a pick, a run or a kick return.
Coney’s six picks last season all came against YVC opponents, including a playoff pick against West Montgomery. Tuesday’s effort marked the first time he’s had two in the same game.
YOUNG GUY: Nixon praised sophomore strong safety Xavier Partee for a solid game on Friday. Partee made five tackles against the Golden Eagles and has 38 for the season.
While East Rowan (3-6, 2-4) was mashed 41-14 in a surprisingly lopsided non-conference loss at Ledford, the Wyrick brothers didn’t miss a beat.
Samuel threw for 151 yards and two TDs and rushed for 48. Seth had seven more catches for 55 yards and a TD.
Seth’s season totals are now 60 catches for 829 yards and 10 TDs, and he’s had TD catches in seven different games.
The Wyricks are threatening a bunch of school pass-catch records, and Seth broke the school record for receptions in a season on Friday.
The previous record was held by Johnny Yarbrough, who had 58 catches — quite a few of them in the postseason — in 1969.
Samuel has 1,412 passing yards. The school record for a season of 1,588 yards was set by C.M. Yates, Yarbrough’s QB.
BRIGHT FUTURE: Erwin’s seventh-graders won the conference championship this week. The Eagles are coached by former East linebacker Eddie Guessford, who was a teammmate of current East coach Danny Misenheimer.
It’s hard to lose when you out-rush an opponent 326 yards to 80, but that’s what happened to Carson’s Cougars (5-4, 3-3) Friday in a 25-22 loss to Northwest Cabarrus.
Darren Isom posted the first career 100-yard game for the Cougars Friday, rushing 15 times for 106 yards and three TDs.
Junior Brandon Sloop rushed 24 times for 173 yards for the 14th 100-yard game of his career.
Sloop moved into 10th place on the county’s all-time rushing list with 3,143 career yards.
Ground-oriented Carson has five of the county’s top 23 rushers. Besides Sloop (807 yards) and Isom (418), halfback Tyler Reynolds (340), fullback Tommy Dang (209) and quarterback Austin McNeill (126) have contributed major rushing yards. Carson has out-rushed opponents 1,979 yards to 1,361.
STRANGE SEASON: Carson has been outscored 206-201 by opponents, but the Cougars have managed a winning record.
It once looked like Carson was in the driver’s seat for third place in the league, but now the bronze medal is a dogfight among at least four teams. That melee includes surging Hickory Ridge, Carson’s opponent on Friday.
West (5-4, 3-3 SPC) held Concord’s explosive back Rocky Reid in check until the final minute of a 24-13 loss in Mount Ulla that ended a long streak of home success. West hadn’t lost to an in-state team at home since it fell to North Gaston in the second round of the 2007 3A playoffs.
A.J. Blue, the UNC running back, was North Gaston’s QB in that 35-22 win against the Falcons.
While the Falcons have sustained losses to Mooresville, Carson, Central Cabarrus and Concord this season, West is still doing the basics right.
“Run the ball and stop the run” is the Falcons’ mantra, and that’s still happening most of the time. West has out-rushed foes 1,906-1,452.
Daisean Reddick picked up 76 yards Friday. He has 710 for the season and is just 5 yards short of 2,000 for his career.
PASS IT ON: Where West has had issues lately is in the passing game. The laugher against South Rowan was the only game in its last six outings in which West has managed 100 passing yards.
The positive news Friday on that front was a big day by Devin Parks. His three catches accounted for 72 of Harrison Baucom’s 96 passing yards.
Parks made his first TD catch since opening night.
Salisbury’s defensive numbers are improving weekly after a pretty horrendous start against some powerful teams.
In their three CCC games, the Hornets (1-8, 1-2 CCC) are allowing just 90 rushing yards per game.
Salisbury’s defense also has been excellent as far as coming up with turnovers. The Hornets have produced 16 fumble recoveries and six interceptions.
GROUND ATTACK: While the Hornets are doing better stopping the run lately, they’re also doing better moving the ball on the ground. Willie Clark (75 carries, 321 yards) has been steady all year, and Tim Rhodes (73 carries, 353 yards) has pounded out 268 yards in the three CCC contests.
CATCHING ON: Jon Mark Petty has caught a TD pass from Riley Myers each of the last two weeks. He has 205 receiving yards for the season.
South Rowan’s defensive struggles continued in Friday’s 64-20 setback against Hickory Ridge.
It’s hard to believe but South’s finest defensive hours this year came against unbeaten Concord in a 34-13 loss.
South (0-9, 0-7) has allowed 40-plus points seven times and 60-plus three times.
DEATON NOT BEATEN: The good news for South Friday was provided mostly by Bryson Deaton, who intercepted a pass and rushed for 151 yards and two TDs.
HOW MANY? When Deaton threw a pass Friday, he became the seventh Raider to make an aerial attempt this season. The others; Aaron Kennerly, Payton Penninger, Heath Barringer, punter Marshall Long and Matt Honeycutt.
FULL PLATE: Tyler Fuller also had a good night for the Raiders Friday with two catches for 77 yards — plus an interception.
Burke Fulcher had his second pick of the season for the Raiders, who will play a non-conference game at Central Davidson Friday.
Central Davidson, piloted by former East coach Chad Tedder, is 3-6.
Jonn Young continued his fine kicking Friday. He has five field goals and 26 PATs for 41 points.
ODD NUMBER: Davie (3-6, 1-3 CPC) has to be the only 3-6 team in the state that has outscored its opponents by 70 points.
Davie’s three wins against Lexington, Thomasville and Parkland were by a combined 146-17.
Davie thumped Parkland 50-0 Friday even with star Cade Carney sitting out with ankle injuries. Cameron Coleman handled the bulk of the ball-carrying duties with Carney unavailable and produced 135 rushing yards.
NEXT: Davie has a great chance for another lopsided win this week. The War Eagles will play R.J. Reynolds at Deaton-Thompson Stadium. Davie has buried the Demons three straight years.
In a 49-7 loss to top-ranked Mallard Creek, Andrew Ramirez went over 1,000 passing yards. Ramirez threw for 107 yards and has 1,101 for the season.
Ramirez has completed almost 54 percent of his passes.
Speaking of Wonder QBs, Coastal Carolina’s Michael Church was named Big South Offensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.
In Church’s first college start, he threw three TD passes. He was 7-for-7 passing on Coastal’s first two drives.
SHARED WEALTH: The Wonders don’t have the luxury of a Kalif Phillips-type back this season, but they’ve piled up 1,851 rushing yards by committee.
Six different Wonders have at least 100 rushing yards. Sandon McCoy (115 carries, 518 yards, 8 TDs) has been chairman of the committee.
NEXT: The Wonders (6-3, 3-2 MECKA) have survived the toughest part of their schedule the last two weeks against Hough and Mallard Creek and are still in the driver’s seat to finish third in a 4A league. That would be a pretty good year. Brown hosts West Charlotte this Friday.
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