Prep Football: Wrapping up East, South, Carson
By Mike London
Salisbury, North Rowan and West Rowan, A.L. Brown and Davie County are in the first round of the state playoffs tonight, but first a few words about the three Rowan teams that finished up last week.
East Rowan, South Rowan and Carson went 3-8.
East Rowan ended a struggling season with a positive, snapping a seven-game losing skid by outscoring North Iredell, 37-28.
Not many seniors get to win their last game, but East’s did. East also beat South Rowan and Central Davidson early in the season.
East junior Sam Wall was one of the county’s most explosive players, with 1,200 rushing yards. Wall had 12 receiving touchdowns, four receiving TDs and two kickoff return TDs.
Noah Green, a running back/DB, accounted for nine touchdowns, including a pick-six and a blocked punt return.
Receiver/kicker Gabe Hinceman accumulated an unusual 51 points with four touchdowns, two field goals and 21 PATs.
Sophomore quarterback Logan Forbis, who moved up from the jayvees in the middle of the season, threw five touchdown passes and offered hope for the future. East also has a good stable of young running backs.
East’s problems were mostly when it didn’t have the ball. The Mustangs allowed 28 or more points in each of their last eight games, allowed 50-plus three times, and allowed 37 points per game for the season. East threatened the school record for most points allowed, but the 2000 team that allowed 38.1 points per game still holds it.
While East had to be disappointed with a 3-8 season after starting out 2-1, South Rowan’s 3-8 in its first year after dropping down to the 2A ranks caused more smiles than frowns.
South had gone 2-20 the previous two seasons under coach Daniel Yow, with one of those wins by forfeit, so the seniors felt good about taking a step forward.
South allowed 359 points this season (32.6 ppg), still way too many, but serious improvement from 456 points allowed in 2015 and 466 allowed in 2016.
South scored 171 points this season, a nice jump from 115 in 2015 and the meager 93 the Raiders managed in 2016.
Obviously, it helped that South didn’t have to take the field against Robinson, Hickory Ridge and A.L. Brown, but South did have to deal with North Davidson and Ledford.
The bottom line was the Raiders were better at moving the ball and better at stopping people then they had been in previous seasons.
“We got better week after week,” Yow said. “My only regret is that I don’t think we ever played a game to our full potential.”
South’s big-play guy Kory Sellers was held to two catches by Salisbury DB Tyvion Wood in a season-ending, 28-6 loss, but Sellers still accounted for more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving this season, plus a game-winning punt return against Thomasville.
Quarterback Brett Amburn threw for 1,300 yards, while workhorse back Demarcus Blackwell carried for more than 600 yards. Defensively, safety Christian Reynolds had four interceptions to tie for the county lead and returned one of them 100 yards.
Carson’s 3-8 was a rough season by head coach Joe Pinyan’s normal standard, but it was a 3-8 he can live with. Going into the season it appeared Carson might not win a game, and several key players got hurt on a depth-shy team that couldn’t afford injuries.
“Our whole backfield was hurt at different times this year,” Pinyan said. “But I thought we grinded. We competed as good as we could have.”
Pinyan told his coaching staff after the season-ending, 51-14 loss to South Iredell, that it had turned in as good a coaching job as he’d seen in his 33 years in the profession.
He also had praise for the players who managed to win against Carson, East Rowan and North Iredell.
“We’re down 44-0 at the half at South Iredell, and they’ve got a great team,” Pinyan said. “Our kids didn’t quit. They decided they were going to go out and win the second half, and they did that. I don’t won’t to say I’m pleased because we were 3-8, but I’m somewhat pleased. I’m as proud of 3-8 as I can be.”
Because of injuries, linebacker Jacob Taylor was in the offensive backfield at South Iredell. He played every snap of the first quarter.
Carson went deep into Pinyan’s playbook to get its first touchdown. Punter Teolyn Woodruff swung his foot at the ball on what looked like a punt attempt, but then Woodruff threw the ball underhand downfield 15 yards to Jailen Williams.
“The South Iredell guys thought it was a really bad punt, and they were yelling to get away from the ball,”Pinyan said. “Meanwhile, Williams is running with it down the sideline.
Williams was knocked down inside the South Iredell 5, and the Cougars went on to score.
Ben Coulter had a rushing TD against South Iredell to go with his receiving TD against North Iredell.
Jamarius Hairston, a senior who was making his varsity football debut, had a terrific season with 34 catches for 529 yards and eight TDs.
Cole Sifford missed two games with injury, but the QB had over 1,000 yards, combining rushing and passing.
Cameron Prugh, another senior making his football debut, had an interesting season. Prugh caught a touchdown pass, threw a touchdown pass and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Against South Iredell, he kicked a PAT.
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