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Whitaker a key in Lenoir-Rhyne’s 10th straight victory

Area athletes update …
Lenoir-Rhyne fullback Isaiah “Ike” Whitaker had 11 carries by the end of the first quarter in Saturday’s 48-15 win at Catawba and he went on to pound out a typical 18-carry, 84-yard day for the surging Bears, who have won their last 10 games.
Whitaker carried six times on the Lenoir-Rhyne scoring drive that opened the game.
With L-R in charge, Whitaker was able to take the fourth quarter off, but he rolled while he was in there.
“Ike is Ike,” L-R coach Mike Houston said. “He always plays with some fire, but when he comes home to Salisbury, he’s got a little extra.”
The Bears like to establish Whitaker inside for 4 and 5 yards at a time as the dive aspect of their triple-option attack, and then they start going outside with their speed guys.
Whitaker is a rare player in that he’s been even more of an impact player in college than he was in high school. Not that he’s wasn’t very good at Salisbury High, often playing both linebacker and fullback for a program where two-way players are rare.
Twice All-SAC, Whitaker was named first team on the Don Hansen All-America squad in 2012 after rushing for 874 yards. He topped 100 yards in both L-R playoff games last fall.
The junior figures to have even bigger numbers before this season is done. He has 157 carries for 713 yards and eight TDs, and the Bears could keep playing for a while in the playoffs.
Whitaker is listed at 5-foot-10, 225 pounds, although, he looks smaller than that.
“My goal last offseason was to gain weight, but I worked out so much and ran so much that I actually lost a little bit,” Whitaker said. “But my endurance did improve and I’m a little quicker.”
Catawba drew a sizable crowd of 3,374 on Saturday, including a happy host of L-R fans. Roughly 74 of those 3,374 came to cheer on Whitaker. That group included Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder and Carson coach Joe Pinyan, guys who coached Whitaker in high school.
“I got bombarded by people after the game,” Whitaker said with a grin. “My parents came up from Florida today, and it was great to see my high school coaches because I might go into coaching myself. I felt really loved today by a lot of people.”
Houston indicated that Whitaker has been a big plus for the Bears off the field as well as on it.
“Salisbury couldn’t have a better guy representing the school and the city,” he said. “He’s one of the most outstanding citizens we’ve got.”
• L-R’s Zach Long (Davie) was credited with a forced fumble on a kickoff on Saturday.
• Mark McDaniel (South Rowan) had three tackles for Catawba, including a big hit for a 4-yard loss. Trey Mashore (West Rowan) had two tackles on special teams.
• Zachary Grkman (Carson) was one of the seniors honored at Averett on Saturday, and his last game was a good one. He made seven tackles, one for a loss of 6 yards, and he forced a fumble in a loss to LaGrange.
A three-year starter, Grkman is a team captain and has been a regular on the USA South All-Academic team.
Dante Pinkston (A.L. Brown) had two catches for 51 yards for Averett, and Hobie Proctor (West) kicked a 35-yard field goal.
• John Knox provided the offense for Charleston in a 24-21 loss to Urbana. Knox rushed 31 times for 117 yards and a touchdown and was 12-for-20 passing for 104 yards and two TDs.
• West Virginia linebacker Jared Barber (Davie) tore an ACL in his right knee in overtime in the Mountaineers’ game with Texas.
• West Liberty’s Quentin Sifford (West) made five tackles in a 30-13 loss to Notre Dame College.
• Adam Smith (Davie) caught the game-winning, 42-yard TD pass for Guilford in a 35-31 comeback against Emory & Henry. Smith had six catches for 100 yards and two scores.
• In UNC Pembroke’s 63-0 rout of Virginia-Lynchburg, Ben DeCelle (East Rowan) and T.J. Johnson (A.L. Brown) had TD catches. DeCelle’s 16-yard scoring reception was part of a five-catch day. Johnson’s TD was 30 yards.
Cadarreus Mason (South) made two tackles for UNCP, one for loss. Backup QB Jonathan Efird (A.L. Brown) completed two passes for 28 yards.
• In UNC’s 34-27 win at Pitt. Romar Morris (Salisbury) carried twice for 6 yards, Darien Rankin (Salisbury) and Damien Washington (A.L. Brown) made tackles for the Tar Heels.
• Navy’s Brantley Horton (West) played in a 42-14 win against South Alabama on Senior Day.
Averett setter Nicole Barringer (South) was named to the All-USA South first team. Barringer led the conference in assists per set and was player of the week twice.
• Kayla Morrow (South) had 10 kills and three blocks as Lenoir-Rhyne beat Carson-Newman 3-1, and she had six kills and three blocks in a sweep of Lincoln Memorial.
L-R (17-9, 14-8 SAC) is seed third in the SAC tournament, which starts Friday.
Brevard’s Darius Moose (Carson) had 24 points and 10 rebounds in a 94-89 loss to Lees-McRae.
• Mars Hill’s Isaiah Cuthbertson (West) had 20 points and 14 rebounds in an exhibition loss to D-I Longwood.
• Drew Absher (Davie) had four points and four assists for VMI in a 121-80 romp against Bluefield State.
• Alex Weant (Salisbury) had two points and two rebounds in a Roanoke’s 74-71 win against Gordon.
• Tevin Stark (A.L. Brown) scored 14 points as Sandhills Community College beat Shooting 4 Greatness Academy 112-82.
Ayanna Avery (West) scored 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had five assists as Radford routed Lynchburg. Avery had 14 points and six boards in a loss to Norfolk State.
• Shay Steele (West) scored three points in Morehead State’s 64-56 overtime loss to Ohio.
• Ayanna Holmes (Salisbury) scored four points for Charlotte in a loss at Minnesota.
In a meet at Hampden-Sydney, Greensboro College’s Zach Lemmon (North Rowan) placed second in the 100 backstroke.

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