Coney a force for Cavs’ defense
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 7, 2013
SPENCER — Ask the North Rowan coaches about Kenyaun Coney and they’ll respond quickly.
“He can hit,” North assistant Jeff Chapman said.
Coney makes contact powerfully, whether it’s in coverage or in the backfield as the entire Cavalier defense has whacked around Central Carolina Conference opponents in their first year in the league. The Cavaliers have outscored their conference opponents 172-32 after surviving a tough early-season slate that included Statesville and Davie County.
North shut out Thomasville 40-0 Friday, essentially crowning itself Central Carolina Conference champions. In the meeting between the pair with 3-0 league records, the Cavs allowed just two first downs and 67 yards of total offense. North, which has been the top-ranked team in the 2A AP poll for much of the season, has never won a state championship in football. Entering the season the Cavs knew they’d be good, but No. 1 in the state, undefeated good?
“We still have work to do,” Coney said. “We’re in great shape. We just got to keep working hard and staying humble.”
North reached 10-0 twice in ’80s and once in 1994 but the Cavs have never been 11-0. With all the excitement in Spencer, it’s not hard to look ahead to see what lies in the postseason, which starts next week.
“We’ve just got to focus on the next game because you can’t take anyone lightly,” Coney said.
Coney is a tireless worker, so it was ironic he scored maybe the easiest touchdown in North history, scooping up a fumble on a failed punt attempt in the end zone. It wouldn’t have happened had Mike Robinson not been flagged for roughing the punter the play earlier.
“The play before, me and Mike ran in to block the punt and he fell into the punter’s leg,” Coney said. “If that play didn’t happen, the next one doesn’t happen.”
The next one included a snap over the punter’s head and into the end zone before chaos ensued.
“I started chasing the punter to make sure he didn’t run out,” Coney said. “I got good reflexes and I caught the ball in the end zone.”
Coney stands 5-foot-10 and a stout 185 pounds as a junior.
“He’s one of our most physical players and one of our most intelligent players,” North coach Joe Nixon said.
Off the field Coney hits the books as he carries a 4.2 GPA. He prides himself in academics, with math being his favorite subject.
“He works hard in the classroom and practice,” Nixon said. “He’s easy to coach.”
Coney plays the rover position, a hybrid between a linebacker and defensive back. He also plays on special teams.
“There’s multiple responsibilities,” Coney said. “You’ve got to play physical and play smart.”
Including the 46-7 win against East Davidson a week earlier, North hasn’t allowed any points in the last six quarters.
“I was proud of the defense for getting our first shutout,” said Coney, the cousin of teammates Kasaun Coney and Raekwon Wynruit. It’s a family that’s familiar with defensive prowess, Kasaun has a team-high five interceptions.
The Cavs are looking to snap a four-game losing skid to Salisbury on Friday. A win would officially clinch the CCC. North may be venturing into uncharted territory, but Coney says they’re not hesitant.
“If you’re scared, you’ve already messed up,” Coney said.