• 45°

Hornets looking ahead

SALISBURY — Even in state championship seasons, not everything’s come easy for the Salisbury football team. The Hornets have never shyed away from making it hard on themselves.
You might forget, but in 2010 SHS lost to Carson, West Rowan and Davie County in a 3-3 start. Of course, West won its third consecutive state 3A title that year, Davie was a 4A finalist and Carson finished 10-3 beyond a Division I signee in Shaun Warren. The Hornets won their first state championship this year, so that gets lost.
But the hard fall Salisbury took at the beginning of last season was something it wasn’t prepared for.
A tough schedule and inexperience at key positions left SHS out of the state 2A playoffs for the first time since 2001. Replacing college athletes like Brian Bauk, Justin Ruffin and Keion Adams hit the Hornets hard.
Unfortunately, that tough list of non-conference opponents is back and the conference slate includes a season finale against North Rowan, who’s ranked fourth in 2A to start the year. Carson, East Rowan, West, Lake Norman and 2012 state champion South Iredell are again the first five games and they equaled an 0-5 start last year.
It wasn’t the way Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder envisioned his first season as head coach after being defensive coordinator for eight years. But he’s kept his sense of humor.
“I can promise you the schedule’s already different next year,” Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder said with a laugh.
“The big thing is, we never played a schedule like that even when we were winning state championships. It doesn’t start easy and it doesn’t end easy.”
However, SHS was competitive in Central Carolina Conference play, beating Lexington and West Davidson and holding the lead late against Thomasville and East Davidson. Salisbury appeared to be at least a competitive 2A squad who’s confidence was shaken.
“In that East Davidson game, we didn’t have the confidence we should have,”Crowder said. “We’re not going to let a East Davidson game get away from us this time.”
Senior quarterback Riley Myers suffered a significant elbow injury during baseball season, but he played throughout legion season and is okay to lead the offense again. Myers backed up Bauk for a couple years before taking over last season. Myers was just short of 1,000 yards passing despite missing the South Iredell game due to a concussion.
“We’re still young, but we’ve got those seniors in the backfield,” Crowder said. “The young guys got to play a lot and some there’s experience there.”
At the start of his second season, Crowder feels his team is ahead of where it was at the starting point last year. SHS has had a little under 80 show up for the first few days of workouts if you include jayvee guys. A few more will show up after vacations are over.
Willie Clark is the leading returning rusher and is backed up by Antwond Glenn and Dae’Shaude White. Cameron Horne and Marcus Corey will get handoffs as well in the run-heavy SHS offense.
Senior Ryan Jones is one of the better athletes at SHS and will come back to play receiver. Damann Millsaps and Will Steinman are suitable backups at WR.
Defensively, there’s seven returning starters to bolster the loss of County Athlete of the Year Clint Comadoll, a four-year varsity linebacker, and defensive back Antwuan Payne.
Cornerback Dante Gaston returns for his senior season and linebackers Jordan Oglesby, D.J. Alexander and wrestling stud J.C. Burton all come back after significant time in 2013. Darius Jackson plays the Hornet position, sort of a jack-of-all trades, and Desmond Millsaps and Cameron McLendon are back on the defensive front.
“We’ve got a lot of guys with varsity experience so we feel good about that,” Crowder said.
Stephen Mazur is in his third year as the varsity kicker. Mazur nailed a field goal in the final seconds of a 2012 playoff win against High Point Andrews.
A few new coaches are on staff. Greg Derrick, who played at N.C. State and briefly with the New York Giants, is an offensive line coach. J.J. Gwyn, who played at SHS in the 2000s, is a new defensive line coach and former Catawba wideout Terrance King will help the receivers. Familiar faces like Scott Eagle and Ryan Ochier are back to assist as well.
The Hornets have scrimmaged against Albemarle, Northwest Cabarrus and Piedmont.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras