Prep Football: Latest notebook

Published 11:18 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

By Mike London

Prep football notebook …

Salisbury’s Trell Baker amassed 104 receiving yards in Friday’s 46-0 win over West Davidson, his second 100-yard game of a season that is still young.

You have to go back to 2008 to find another Hornet pass-catcher with two 100-yard games in the same season. That was A.J. Ford, a running back who turned in huge receiving nights against West Stanly and Lexington.

Baker also had a punt-return touchdown, an interception and a 24-yard run against West Davidson.

“Just another game for Trell,” Salisbury coach Brian Hinson said. “He does it every week.”


Griffin Myers threw for a career-best 210 yards against West Davidson, the biggest passing game for a Hornet since 2014.

Myers went over 1,000 passing yards for his career on Friday. He has 1,137.

“Griffin threw it well , he ran the option well, and he managed the game well,” Hinson said.


Salisbury (3-1) has won three straight and has exciting young players on defense.

Three of sophomore outside linebacker Blaine Shellhorn’s five tackles on Friday were sacks.

Freshman Zae Clay, who can play on the defensive line or at linebacker, was in on 10 tackles against West Davidson and had a tackle for loss.


Time of possession doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

West Davidson ran twice as many plays as Salisbury but managed just 84 total yards. Salisbury had 310 yards on just 26 snaps.


Salisbury’s offensive line is making strides as pass-protectors as well as run-blockers.

“Most people don’t know us, but that just means we have to prove ourselves every week,” 290-pound senior Rondarious Peele said.  “We’ve messed up some plays this year, but we’ve always been able to move on and do better on the next one.”


Salisbury’s staff includes a number of former Catawba College standouts. Besides Hinson, there’s Kory Fisher, Taylor Fender and Pete Kalinowski.


Salisbury  is off to its best start since 2011. The 2011 team began 3-1 and finished 11-3.


North Rowan

North Rowan focused on improving receiver and linebacker play during its open week.

Junior linebacker Tyzai Lyles is really coming on for the Cavaliers, who open Yadkin Valley Conference play against the North Moore Mustangs on Friday.

“Tyzai can play inside or outside, and we’re expecting some big things from him in the weeks ahead,” North Rowan head coach Ben Hampton said. “He’s been coming on.”

Nautica Patterson, another junior, is the other starting linebacker in the Cavaliers’ 4-2-5 defense.


North Rowan has welcomed Dennis Rivers Jr., one of its inside receivers, back from an  injury.  Rivers, who made a transition from cornerback to receiver last season, has missed several weeks of action with a banged-up ankle.

“We hope getting him back helps open up our passing game,” Hampton said.


Punter/kicker Jacob Young has been awesome — averaging 49.9 yards on 14 punts. Young has 15 touchbacks on 23 kickoffs.


Hampton likes where the Cavaliers are. They went 3-1 in the non-conference portion of their campaign. Those non-conference games included marquee county match-ups with Salisbury (the Hornets’ only loss) and West Rowan (the Falcons’ only victory).

“We’d love to be 4-0, but we lost a game to a pretty good team,” Hampton said. “West Rowan is good. They’re 1-3 right now, but that’s because they’ve played the toughest non-conference schedule in the state for a 3A. Mooresville and Davie beat them, but those are solid 4A teams. A.L. Brown beat them, but I think they’ll be a terror in 3A.”


West Rowan

West, a 31-7 loser to A.L. Brown last Friday, hasn’t been 1-3 at the start of a season since 1996, so this is uncharted waters for a lot of people.

“It’s tough and we really do need a win,” West head coach Joe Nixon said. “We’re working. We’re getting better. But there’s no quick fix.”


Baiden Suddarth, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore who plays the rush end for the Falcons, had a strong game against A.L. Brown.

“The effort he plays with is unmatched,” Nixon said.


Jaden Perry,  a junior who transferred to West from North Rowan prior to the season, rushed 14 times for 107 yards against the Wonders in a breakout performance. It’s the first time West has had a 100-yard rusher this season.

“We did some good things in the running game,” Nixon said. “We ran the ball well at times against a great defense. A.L. Brown’s defensive line is as good as advertised.”


Junior Payne Stolsworth threw the 32nd TD pass of his career (to Jalen Houston) for West’s lone TD.


Nixon praised 210-pound junior linebacker Daniel Durham for turning in a solid performance.


It doesn’t get any easier for the Falcons this week — Concord, on the road. West has won four of 20 meetings with the Spiders. Former Salisbury head coach Ryan Crowder is in his first season as Concord’s defensive coordinator.


East Rowan

The Mustangs (2-3) were demolished by Mount Pleasant, 50-8, on Friday and have work to do in all three phases.

“We’ve got to keep our heads up,” junior linebacker Christian Bennett said. “We’re better than that.”


East has been shut out only once in the last six seasons (by Robinson in 2015) and managed to get on the board against the Tigers when Sam Wall scored from 34 yards out late in the third quarter. East trailed 47-0 by that point and a running clock was in effect.

Wall’s TD was the junior’s county-leading eighth of the season. He scored six TDs last year.  He scored a 2-point conversion for the varsity as a freshman, but no touchdowns.


Wall sustained a pretty bad gash on his arm when he was hit out of bounds on Friday, but he should be OK for this week’s game at much-improved Northwest Cabarrus.

East and Northwest have had one of the more even rivalries in the area. In 34 meetings, both schools have won 17 times.


Trevor Scruggs, the baseball catcher, reeled in East’s only pass completion against Mount Pleasant for a 23-yard gain.

Defensive end Zack Simpson scored his second 2-point conversion of the season for the Mustangs.


South Rowan

Marquis Rhyne had his second TD catch of the season for the Raiders in a 37-14 loss to Ledford, while Demarcus Blackwell was a workhorse with 17 carries for 59 yards and his first TD of the season. Brett Amburn threw for 198 yards and had his fifth TD pass.

“Offensively, we were unselfish, we blocked well and we competed well,” South head coach Daniel Yow said. “Seventeen first downs. A lot of sustained drives, but then, unfortunately, we’d get a penalty and not be able to finish the drive. That’s been our focus this week, to turn all those long drives and yards into points.”


Michael Sloop, a junior inside linebacker, made 16 tackles to lead South’s defense in the Ledford game. Sloop stopped a lot of Ledford runs, but Ledford has one of the top QBs in the Central Carolina Conference (Matthew Rogers) and hurt the Raiders with big plays.


South (0-4) has a tough assignment on Friday — North Davidson, one of the top teams in 2A, and probably a top 40 team in the state, regardless of classification.



Carson lost to Davie County, 43-7, on Friday in the first meeting of the schools.

QB Cole Sifford missed the game. He suffered a dislocated kneecap in Carson’s game at North Rowan on Sept. 8, but at least it wasn’t the worse-case scenario. He feared a season-ending ACL injury when he went down.

“The knee is feeling much better now and gets better every day. “Sifford said.

Sifford won’t be playing against Central Cabarrus on Friday, but Carson has an open week after that. Sifford expects to be on the field when Carson plays at North Iredell on Oct, 6 to start North Piedmont Conference play. That North Iredell game is one the Cougars will have a pretty good chance to win.


Carson knew going into the season that it might be overwhelmed by a schedule that included A.L. Brown  and Davie for the first time. Those fears were realized. Those schools outscored Carson, 93-7.

Carson is 1-4. The last time the Cougars got off to such a rough start was in 2012. That 2012 team sank as low as 1-6, but it managed to win three of its last four regular-season contests and made the 3A state playoffs.


Cameron Prugh has thrown a lot of scoreless innings for Carson baseball, and he’s made a lot of 3-pointers for Carson basketball. Now he’s thrown a TD pass. His 44-yard connection with basketball teammate Jamarius Hairston accounted for Carson’s TD against Davie. It was the second TD catch for Hairston, who is also a first-time football player. Hairston leads Carson receivers with 109 yards on eight catches.



Jalen Redmond, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior defensive end, has been a terror for the War Eagles, accounting for fumble recoveries and two touchdowns.


Davie’s home game with A.L. Brown on Friday will be a rematch of a second-round game in last season’s 4A state playoffs.


Cooper Wall is likely to make his season debut Friday for Davie after coming back from a basketball injury and ACL surgery. Wall is a difference-maker and a probable D-I player. He had 60 catches as a junior for 937 yards and 15 touchdowns.


Davie (3-2) is winning turnover battles. The War Eagles own seven fumble recoveries and three of their eight interceptions have gone for pick-sixes.


Davie’s defense has allowed only four rushing TDs in five games, while A.L. Brown has pounded for 18 rushing TDs. That’s going to be interesting confrontation.


A.L. Brown

West Rowan did a decent job  of limiting A.L. Brown’s running game between the tackles, but the Wonders (4-1) were able to make big plays in the running game on the perimeter. Jalen Neal, a 175-pound junior, came to Mount Ulla with one rushing TD for the season but left with four.


Senior defensive tackle C.C. Huntley has a modest two sacks, but he also has 18 QB hurries.


The Wonders got tight end/long snapper Justin Rodgers back from injury last week. He helps their special teams and is a field-stretching receiving threat who helps loosen run defenses. Rodgers had three receptions for 31 yards against West.


A.L. Brown fans will be traveling to Davie’s new high school. It’ll be a somewhat longer drive from Kannapolis than it was to the old one, about 40 miles.


West Rowan played Davie and A.L. Brown the last two weeks, but Coach Nixon declined to make a prediction. “Two very good teams that are especially good on defense,” Nixon said. “That should be a great game. I have no idea who wins it.”