Kicking and grinning
Every time West Rowan’s Harrison Baucom gets in punt formation, defensive coaches get a nervous feeling in the pit of their stomachs.
That nervousness stems from the fact that Baucom is West’s quarterback as well as the punter, and there’s always some suspicion that the junior might be passing or running instead of punting.
Baucom has had a pretty good year at quarterback (12 rushing TDs, 7 passing TDs), but it’s as a punter that he’s been stellar. His average going into the playoffs is 39.8 yards on 37 attempts, so with a couple of good ones at South Point tonight, he’ll be one of those rare prep guys who averages 40 yards.
The Post sports pages are filled with mentions of record-holders in rushing, receiving and passing, but we’re also tried to maintain quieter records for punters and kickers over the years.
The best Rowan County punting average we’ve recorded was East’s Kim Arey’s extraordinary 42.4 average in 1978.
The best punting average we’ve ever booked for a Falcon was Brent Patterson’s 41.6 in 2003, and that’s also the highest punting average we’ve logged in this century for any Rowan punter.
Not surprisingly, we have Tommy Barnhardt as South’s record-holder with a 41.5 average in 1980. Barnhardt went on to punt for many years in the NFL.
Other top-shelf punters have been Salisbury’s Rob Linder (41.0 in 1984) and South’s Anthony Bare (40.6 in 1986).
As far as long field goals, it’s been a little while, but we’ve had some 50-plus efforts in Rowan County.
The longest in our records was the 53-yarder that North’s Tracy Maynor boomed against East Davidson in 1988.
East’s Kenny Barnes sent a 52-yarder through the uprights in 2007, and East’s Lee Greene knocked one through against West Rowan from 51 yards out in 1998.
South’s Lucas Soares drilled a 51-yarder against A.L. Brown in 2007.
There are a trio of successful 48-yard efforts on the books, including one by Salisbury’s Ashley Graham against Concord in 1987, one by South’s Robby Basinger against Mooresville in 2000, and one by South’s Patrick Edwards against West Forsyth in 2003.
The Rowan placekickers in this year’s playoffs are pretty good and could make a difference in tonight’s games.
West kicker Zack Russell in seventh in the county in scoring with 58 points on four field goals and 46 PATs.
East’s Salvador Sanchez has 46 points on 37 PATs and three field goals.
Carson’s Fox Correll has two field goals and 24 PATs. North’s Dylan Auten recently added PATs to his punting chores, and while North hasn’t needed a field goal lately, he has converted 18 PATs.
As far as teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs, Salisbury kickr Stephen Mazur tied for the county lead in field goals with four. South’s Brennan Lambert stood out for distance. South didn’t get to kick off often enough, but he put some boots in the end zone.
There’s also one more “Rowan” kicker who deserves a shoutout. Logan Wagner lives near Carson, but he attends Northwest Cabarrus because his mother teaches in the Cabarrus school system.
Wagner has had a busy fall. Like several of the Rowan kickers, he’s a soccer standout (captain and center mid), but he’s also found time to basically be the kicking game for Northwest’s football team. The junior is the punter, the placekicker and the kickoff guy.
“Logan is able to practice with the football team some on Wednesdays and Thursdays,” NWC football coach Rich Williams said. “He’s been really important to us. He hasn’t had a miss on a PAT and he made the only field goal we’ve tried. He’d like for us to try a lot more field goals, but in our league (SPC), there weren’t many situations that called for a field goal. You needed to score touchdowns, so we’d always go for it.”
Williams’ fear during the regular season was a football rainout that would have to be made up on a soccer nigth.
“I think we could’ve found someone to punt,” he said. “But without Logan, a PAT would’ve been tough.”
Wagner tried out at Northwest last season when the Trojans were searching for a kicker. He did well in kicking camps last sumer and placed fourth out of 40 campers at Appalachian State in field-goal competition.
Rowan baseball fans are also likely to see Wagner this spring in the SPC. He’s worked with Northwest alum Kyle Seager for several years and is a lefty pitcher and first baseman.
The Common Sense picks were 12-2 last week, with both misses in the MECKA. The picks finished the regular season with a shaky 103-22 record.
Hoping for some upsets, but North may be the only local team standing after tonight’s action:
North 49, Surry Central 7: The only suspense is whether Surry will score or not. Looks like 1985 was the last time the Cavaliers had three straight shutouts.
South Point 21, West 14: Coach Young believes the Falcons have a chance, and they do.
Freedom 35, East 14: Mustangs will need their best game of the season to have any shot. If East and Carson both win, they’ll play each other, but that’s a longshot.
Forestview 27, Carson 21: This one is the toughest local game to call.
Charlotte Catholic 28, A.L. Brown 10: Wonders probably would rather play Mallard Creek again. This is getting old.
4AA: West Forsyth 42, Vance 14; Hough 28, Independence 21
4A: Southeast Guilford 28, Mount Tabor 21; Rocky River 35, Reagan 21; North Davidson 20, Roberson 7
3AA: Crest 49, Hickory Ridge 21; Central Cabarrus 42, Asheboro 20
3A: Concord 35, NW Cabarrus 14
2AA: West Stokes 42, East Davidson 17
2A: Lincolnton 21, Thomasville 7