Prep Football Notebook:
By Mike London
Prep Football Notebook …
West Rowan assistant coach Tim Dixon calls running back Jovon Quarles “lightning in a bottle.” After being bottled up in West’s first two games, the junior exploded for 141 rushing yards against Robinson.
It was the fourth 100-yard rushing game for Quarles who topped 100 against Central Cabarrus, Hickory Ridge and North Buncombe last season. West is 4-0 when Quarles reaches the 100-yard plateau.
West Rowan (2-1, 1-0 SPC) managed to beat Robinson, 28-21, in Friday’s SPC opener on the strength of two defensive touchdowns — an interception return by free safety Malcolm Ingram (one of his two picks) and strong safety Theo Fisher’s fumble return.
The last time West’s defense accounted for two touchdowns in a game was the 34-17 win at East Rowan in 2013 that featured pick-sixes by defensive backs Anthony Pharr and Najee Tucker.
Dearius Phillips, a 235-pound senior linebacker, had a key fumble recovery for the Falcons in Friday’s win.
Juwan Houston caught the game-deciding TD for the Falcons. West is 4-0 in games in which Houston has caught a touchdown pass.
West QB Kacey Otto didn’t have a particularly good game until his clutch connection with Houston with 1:52 remaining. That TD pass was Otto’s third of the season and 16th of his career.
While fans call it the hook-and-ladder and football purists refer to it as the hook-and-lateral, Carson coach Joe Pinyan likes to call his favorite trick play the hitch-and-pitch.
The play involves a short pass to a receiver who attracts multiple tacklers and then laterals to a sprinting teammate parallel to him. The play has been in Pinyan’s bag of tricks for years and he used it to pull it out several games for Salisbury.
The play has remained part of Pinyan’s offensive arsenal since his move to Carson, and the Cougars will try it when time is short and a quick-strike score is needed.
The Cougars (2-1, 0-1) executed the play for touchdown 34 seconds before halftime against East Rowan last season. Brandon Huneycutt was the middle man, accepting a pass from QB Andy Lear, and then pitching the ball to Darren Isom. Isom’s flying legs finished a 46-yard scoring play.
Statistically, it’s considered a pass play, with the quarterback credited with a completion and passing yards for all the ground covered. The middleman is credited with a reception and receiving yardage to the point of his catch. The finisher doesn’t get a reception, but he does get the remaining receiving yards.
That scoring explains why you’ll occasionally see an NFL summary where a player has zero catches for 30 receiving yards. That means he was involved in a hitch-and-pitch.
The play requires Swiss-watch timing — it’s an illegal forward lateral if the finisher gets ahead of the middleman — but the Cougars executed the play to perfection for a 90-yard TD in Friday’s 27-20 loss at Central Cabarrus. Owen White fired a pass to Huneycutt at the 20-yard line, and Austin Lear hauled Huneycutt’s lateral 80 yards to score.
The hitch-and-pitch made it a banner statistical night for White, Carson’s sophomore QB. He also struck for big-play TDs to Huneycutt and Andy Lear and finished with 225 passing yards.
Huneycutt was Carson’s offensive player of the week, while cornerback Armoni Hogue earned defensive honors and punter/kicker Cole Howard stood out on special teams. Free safety Andy Jerman was in on 15 tackles, while spur Garrett Pell was in on 12.
Junior Wesley Porter, who picked off four passes last season, got his first pick of the year in the Mustangs’ 34-21 loss to Cox Mill.
Junior Max Wall scored the 25th and 26th touchdowns of his career in the loss to Cox Mill, but the Mustangs (1-3, 0-2 SPC) were down 31-6 when Wall scored on a pass from Tate Houpe and also broke a 38-yard scoring run.
Houpe returned to action after missing two weeks with a shoulder injury.
As painful as South’s 35-34 loss to Northwest Cabarrus was, the Raiders played with passion and energy. They just couldn’t overcome a mountain of mistakes and penalties.
“I know it sounds like a broken record, but we’re just so young and inexperienced,” South coach Daniel Yow said. “Watch out for South Rowan in the future.”
Teams probably shouldn’t take South for granted this year, either. South’s kicking game is so good that it might give the Raiders (0-3, 0-1 SPC) a chance to upset someone.
Marshall Long’s four punts were soaring field-flippers — 41, 55, 40 and 51 yards.
Brennan Lambert kicked off for touchbacks after all six South scores and was 4-for-4 on PATs and 2-for-2 on field goals, including a 51-yarder that split the uprights with room to spare.
“Brennan tweaked his hamstring this week and he told me he didn’t know how well he’d be able to kick,” Yow said. “But I guess he did pretty well.”
Down 35-34 late in the game, South wasn’t far from giving Lambert a chance to boot another long field goal for the victory, but they lost a fumble.
“We knew all we needed was a first down or two and he was going to win it for us,” said South QB Heath Barringer, who scored two rushing touchdowns.
Austin Chrismon was South’s most impressive running back, but he took several big losses on pitches that hurt his stats. He was credited with 13 carries for 31 yards.
Backs Bailey Purcell and Sayquan Anthony scored their first TDs for the Raiders. Mike Parks had a great block that keyed a Barringer TD run.
South rushed for a season-high 127 yards. Yow had praise for a sophomore-heavy offensive line.
Safety Eric Gibson had a strong game for the Cavaliers (1-3) in a 21-6 loss to Davie. He was in on 12 tackles, three for loss. He was credited with a sack and blocked a punt.
DB Jaylen Brown forced a Davie fumble and also made the recovery.
The six points scored by the Cavaliers marked their lowest offensive output since a 51-0 loss to Albemarle in 2011.
North’s running game was stifled for the second straight game, but QBs Josh Ellis and Corbin Smith combined for 13 completions and 183 passing yards.
Junior Desmond Gray leads the county with 20 receptions, while 6-2 junior Alonzo Sirleaf has emerged as a big-play threat with 11 catches for 279 yards. Sirleaf has hauled in TD bombs of 76 and 79 yards from Ellis.
Junior linebacker Tywun Rivers had a fumble recovery, but there were few positives for the Hornets (1-3) in a 55-8 home loss to 4A Lake Norman.
The Hornets have been outscored 115-21 during a three-game skid.
Daeshaude White produced a scoring run against Lake Norman with the Hornets down 48-0, and Antwond Glenn added a two-point conversion.
Salisbury has 184 passing yards and no TD passes in four games and has struggled to get receiver Will Steinman involved in the offense.
Steinman had 10 catches for 145 yards in a playoff win against Surry Central last season, but he’s been limited to five catches in Salisbury’s first four games.
In a 21-6 win in Spencer, Davie held North Rowan to 13 rushing yards. The last time Davie shut down a running game like that was when it limited Parkland to 12 yards in 2013. North rushed for 271 yards against Davie in 2014.
Senior receiver Ben Ellis had a touchdown catch against North, his sixth of the season.
Ellis had made at least one TD grab in nine of Davie’s last 10 games.
The win against North snapped a five-game skid for the War Eagles (1-3). Davie hadn’t tasted victory since beating R.J. Reynolds on Halloween last year.
While Jayln Cagle was the Wonders’ offensive player of the week in a 23-9 victory against Mooresville, kicker Nate Williams was the special teams player of the week. Williams kicked three field goals and two PATs. He and Cagle accounted for all the Wonders’ points.
Junior linebacker Sherrod Sutton was named the Wonders’ defensive player of the week.
“Mooresville ran the ball well to the outside in the first half,” A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome said. “But our defensive guys were lights-out in the second half. Sutton was a key to it. He started turning those outside runs into no-gains.”
The Mooresville win was big. Brown (4-0) was a slight favorite at home.
“People were saying we beat a Concord team that’s down and that we beat two teams (South Rowan and Northwest Cabarrus) that aren’t very strong,” Newsome said. “People said Mooresville would be a big test for us. Mooresville is good, but I believe our guys passed the test.”
By Mike London email@example.com KANNAPOLIS — For A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome, last November’s 50-42, playoff loss to Reagan was... read more