Hibriten running game too much for West Rowan

Published 12:45 am Saturday, December 3, 2016

By Doug Hinson

For the Salisbury Post

LENOIR — McKinley Witherspoon and Chris Scott combined for 285 yards

rushing and six touchdowns as Hibriten High roared past West Rowan, 49-20, in the

third round of the 3A state football playoffs at Hibriten on Friday night.

The West No. 1 Panthers extended their record to 14-0, setting a school record for

wins in a football season. Hibriten will play host to South Point, which defeated Pisgah,

42-0, in the other semifinal game, next Friday for the Western championship and a berth

in the state title game.

West Rowan, which finished 10-4, scored the first and last touchdowns of the

game – both as a result of Panther turnovers – but Hibriten dominated the game between

those scores.

Witherspoon was sensational for the Panthers. The 170-pound sophomore ran for

two touchdowns and 139 yards rushing on only eight carries – and also caught a 20-yard

touchdown pass from Jamar Ferguson — in the first half alone.

His 71-yard run early in the second quarter broke a 7-7 tie, and he added a 45-

yard scoring burst with five minutes remaining in the first half as Hibriten pulled away

for a 35-14 halftime lead.

West Rowan never seriously threatened the Panthers in the second half.

Hibriten finished with 398 yards rushing on 57 attempts and concluded with 466

total yards. Scott bucked and bullied his way to 117 yards rushing and three touchdowns

on 19 carries. Jarius Cotton added 74 yards and one score on nine carries.

Meanwhile, the West Rowan offense was stymied much of the night by a

tenacious Hibriten defensive effort. Jovon Quarles paced the West Rowan ground game

with 84 yards on 19 carries, but the team finished with only 78 yards rushing.

Falcon quarterback Payne Stolsworth completed 13 of 25 passes for 140 yards

and a 30-yard scoring toss to Kortez Meeks.

“This obviously is a great win for us,” said Hibriten coach Clay Lewis. “Our

defense played very well, and we played very hard. We made a few mistakes that we

need to correct, but West Rowan has a very good team.

“I think were a little tight in the beginning,” continued Lewis. “I wasn’t pleased with the way we

started. Our defense really made some big plays, though.”

West Rowan coach Joe Nixon said he was proud of his team’s effort and also praised Hibriten.

“Hibriten is a great team,” said Nixon. “They run a class program here, and they were

simply the better team tonight. But I’m also very proud of my team, especially the seniors. This is a special group to me. We’ve won 20 games in two years and have advanced in the state playoffs.

“Things did not go our way tonight, but we played with class and heart,.” concluded Nixon. “And that’s all you can ask.”