Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 13, 2013

GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan’s Max Wall is in a rare spot as a freshman.
Wall has filled in for the injured Calvin Edwards, starting every game in the backfield, and performed admirably.
East Rowan took a blow when Edwards, the leading rusher in the county last year, was injured to start the season. It was figured he would return in due time to aid a sagging East offense. Last month, it was announced Edwards wouldn’t play this year.
If there’s been a positive from that, it’s that Wall has emerged as the Mustangs’ future workhorse. He was instrumental in a 61-26 win last week at South Rowan that made East (4-7, 3-5) playoff eligible. Wall ran for over half of ER’s 340 rushing yards, carrying it 15 times for 189 yards, his first 100-yard game. Wall ran for two touchdowns and caught one from Sam Wyrick. He’s had to adjust to the high school level this year. Wall boasts a good work ethic and has the quickness to succeed at the prep level.
“The speed is faster than I thought it was,” Wall said. “But I’ve gotten used to it. The size of the kids doesn’t really intimidate me.”
Wall’s had a mentor along the way. Edwards is still going to games and hanging out on the sidelines. Wall has been a benefactor, listening to the senior’s teachings.
“Calvin told me whenever I see the pylon, sprint,” Wall said of Friday’s 40-yard touchdown run.
Simple enough advice, but reassuring for a freshman still looking for his place in the offense. Wall put that to good use on the 40-yard TD sprint early in the game to put East on the board.
“I got the ball and cut to the outside like coach told me to,” Wall said.
Wall, 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, was a quarterback at Erwin Middle and threw a touchdown pass in the Salisbury game.
Wall has secured a role this year, amassing 535 yards on the ground, second to Jake Boltz on the team.
East coach Danny Misenheimer believes Wall will benefit mightily from playing on varsity as a freshman.
“I think he grew up this year pretty fast,” Misenheimer said. “He was put in a situation where he was asked to start as a freshman and that’s hard to do.”
After an 8-win season last year that included a playoff run through the third round, East hasn’t lived up to last year’s billing
The Mustangs will face Morganton Freedom Friday. Freedom is the No. 1 seed in the 3A west. East’s win Friday night allowed them to sneak in as the No. 16 seed. Had East beaten Concord in the third round last season, Freedom would have been its opponent in the West final.
“Freedom’s going to be really tough,” Misenheimer said. “Defensively, they’ve got linebackers and DB’s that swarm to the ball.”