Auten kicks rare field goal for Cavaliers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Prep Football Notebook …
At North Rowan, field goals are viewed as rare and strange events, sort of like solar eclipses.
North went 99 games without kicking a field goal, but the 100th proved the charm.
Coach Joe Nixon called on Dylan Auten to perform the feat late in the second quarter of the Cavaliers’ first-round playoff game with Surry Central, and Auten’s kick was true from 25 yards out for a 28-0 lead.
North went on to win 42-0.
“Dylan looked good kicking it,” Nixon said cheerfully. “It’s a confidence-booster for him, for the team and for the coaching staff. If we need a field goal in a future game, we know we can kick one.”
North’s most recent successful field goal had come on a boot by Nick Alfieri in a 2005 game with Central Davidson. That kick also was a 25-yarder. It was North’s only field goal that season, and the drought lasted until Auten finally ended it on Friday.
Kevin McMillan, the North kicker who preceded Alfieri, was a veritable field-goal kicking machine in 2004. He kicked two that season.
McMillan also kicked a pair in 2003, including one as time expired to beat Salisbury. That clutch field goal marked the last time North had beaten Salisbury on the field until this season.
North has some pretty good history regarding field-goal kickers. Tracy Maynor kicked the longest one in county history for North in 1988 — 53 yards.
That North’s field goal drought ended in such a timely manner, in the 100th game, is reminiscent of the ending of Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry’s home-run drought.
Perry was a great hurler but a lousy hitter, so lousy that his manager on the San Francisco Giants, Alvin Dark, watched him take a batting-practice swing in 1964, and said, “They’ll put a man on the moon before that guy hits a home run.”
True story — Perry hit his first (and last) big-league homer on July 20, 1969, just minutes after Apollo 11’s lunar module touched down on the moon.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Auten has kicked 21 PATS, while Trae Clark has kicked 15. Clark also has done a good job with directional kickoffs. North return man Kasaun Coney and punt-blocker extraordinaire Mike Robinson have given North the kicking-game advantage most Friday nights.

RAE-RAE: Raekwon Wynruit has been a bigger part of North’s ground game in recent weeks, as Andra Cowan recovers from a separated shoulder.
Wynruit got 13 carries against Surry Central and produced 87 yards. He has 207 yards for the season.
“Jareke (Chambers) wasn’t feeling that well,” Nixon said. “So Raekwon carried on. He had a big night.”

TRAE’S DAY: Clark, a hybrid “walk” player in North’s 4-2-5 defense, had a huge game, blocking a punt, scoring a touchdown on offense, and making nine tackles.

SAKIL THE THRILL: Sakil Harrison had three catches for 86 yards on Friday and scored his seventh TD.
It was his biggest game since Statesville in Week 3, and he moved into second place in county receiving yards behind East’s Seth Wyrick. He has an even 600 yards for the season.
“Sakil had a great game blocking as well as catching the football,” Nixon said.

CLOSING IN: Despite missing four games with injury. Alexis Archie is closing in on a 1,000-yard passing season. His 188 yards on Friday was his second-highest total of the season.

CHAMBERS UPDATE: Chambers has 1,837 rushing yards on 190 carries and is North’s record-holder for a single season.
He has 29 touchdowns and 176 points (he has one 2-point conversion) for another school record.

East’s 4-8 season ended with a 33-13 loss to Morganton Freedom in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
A bright spot for East in the finale was Max Wall, who rushed for 84 yards and caught a touchdown pass.
Wall finished with 619 rushing yards, right behind Jake Boltz, who had 648 yards. Wall averaged 5.3 yards per carry this season.

CRUNCHING NUMBERS: East scored 70 fewer points and allowed 93 more than it did in its 8-5 2012 season.
East out-rushed opponents by almost 1,000 yards in 2012, but the numbers were almost reversed this season, with the Mustangs being out-rushed by nearly 1,000.

SETH UPDATE: Seth Wyrick has one of the top receiving seasons in county history, finishing with 66 catches for 924 yards and 12 TDs.
The junior’s career numbers are 87 catches for 1.326 yards and 17 TDs. Johnny Yarbrough’s 136 catches has stood as the career record at East since 1970, but Wyrick will have a shot at it next season.
Wyrick’s 924 yards this season were the fourth-highest total in East history behind two of Yarbrough’s seasons and Nick Heard’s 1997 season.
Wyrick’s reception total was the third-highest ever in the county for a season. West’s Jon Crucitti had 79 in 2009, while North’s Tony Walker had 68 in 2002.

SAMUEL UPDATE: Samuel Wyrick finished with 1,766 passing yards for 20 touchdowns and he ran for another 410 yards.
That’s 2,176 yards of total offense. Wyrick broke the school record for total offense in one season that was set by Shawn Eagles (2,056 yards) in 2007.
The junior has 3,214 career passing yards. He’ll enter his senior season second on East’s all-time list. The school record was set by C.M. Yates, who threw for 3,910 yards from 1968-70.

It goes without saying that Carson’s 63-48 loss to Forestview in the first round of the 3A playoffs was the wildest game ever played by the Cougars, and Carson’s 21-0 rampage in the last 100 seconds of the first half will be remembered for a long time.
“We came out for the second half with all the momentum in the world and we really felt comfortable about winning the ballgame,” Carson QB Austin McNeill said. “They just outplayed us in the second half. We fought as hard as we could. Sometimes you just get outplayed.”
Carson had a season-low 95 rushing yards in the rain, but the Cougars scored in all sorts of opportunistic ways — blocked punt, fumble scoop and hook-and-ladder play — to make it a ballgame.

DEJA VU: The year before Joe Pinyan came to Salisbury the Hornets went 4-8. Their first year under Pinyan the Hornets went 7-5, and you know what happened from there.
Carson was 4-8 prior to Pinyan’s arrival, and, oddly enough, went 7-5 in his first season in China Grove. Maybe it’s going to happen all over again.
“I don’t think a lot of people had us beating West, East or Hickory Ridge before the season, but maybe we gave one back when we lost to Northwest Cabarrus,” Pinyan said. “We did do better anyone predicted we would do, and even though we lose some great seniors (including Shrine Bowler MyQuon Stout), we have a chance to be pretty good next season.”
Carson’s jayvees went 8-0 in the SPC.

OUT WITH A BANG: McNeill had the best game of his senior year in the last one. He accounted for five touchdowns, scoring on runs of 12 and 5 yards, throwing a 30-yard scoring pass to Brandon Huneycutt and a 22-yard TD to Darren Isom, and then triggering the McNeill-to Huneycutt-to Isom hook-and-ladder that went 70 yards and stunned Forestview on the last play of the first half.
McNeill’s three TD passes gave him 12 for the season and 43 in his career. That ranks among the highest totals in county history.
McNeill finished his career with 3,706 passing yards. He ranks ninth in county history.

OUT WITH A BANG II: Senior Max Lear’s effort on Friday defied belief. He was responsible for two Carson touchdowns, blocking a punt that Tre Williams returned for a score, and blocking another punt that set up a Carson TD.
Carson just couldn’t make Forestview punt often enough. Lear would’ve blocked them.
With Carson leading 42-41 in the third quarter, it was Lear who stormed in and blocked Forestview’s PAT to keep the Cougars ahead a little longer.
In a perfect world, Carson would’ve won and Lear would’ve been the Friday Night Hero. It was not to be.
“I don’t know what you even say about a kid that blocks three kicks in one game,” Pinyan said. “He just played his butt off out there.”

TO SCOOP OR NOT TO SCOOP: Carson linebacker Anthony McCurry wasn’t sure what do when he saw a fumble lying on the ground in front of him.
“There were so many people there that I started to just dive on it,” McCurry said. “I just looked at the ball for a second, but it seemed like it was 10 seconds. Then I decided to pick it up and try to run with it.”
He ran like a fullback and a smart fullback at that. He heard a locomotive racing behind him and turned to see the powerful Stout come into view.
“I let MyQuon get in front of me and then I just followed him down the sideline,” McCurry said.
McCurry finished a 58-yard jaunt to the end zone with a nice cutback move. Pinyan may have to think about playing him both ways next season.

West played a terrific first half but lost 28-7 to South Point to finish a 6-6 season.
Statistically, West probably was the best 6-6 team in county history, outscoring opponents 361-259 and out-rushing opponents by more than 600 yards.

BAUCOM’S NIGHT: Harrison Baucom reached 1,000 passing yards for the season in the South Point game and he pushed his rushing total for the season to 559 yards and 13 TDs,
Baucom boomed his four punts against South Point for an average of 44.8 yards and finished with a 40.3 average for the season, one of the best efforts in recent county history.

REDDICK UPDATE: Daisean Reddick rushed for 110 yards against South Point for his seventh 100-yard game of the season and the 13th of his career.
Reddick finished with 1,161 yards this season and 2,446 for his career. He’s fifth all-time at West behind K.P. Parks, Dinkin Miller, Wade Moore and Joe Jackson.

LEADERS: West’s Nick Collins and Darius Williams lead the county with four fumble recoveries apiece.
Najee Tucker had four interceptions, two behind North’s Kasaun Coney.