Prep Football: East Rowan notches another shutout

Published 2:29 am Saturday, September 1, 2018

By Mike London

CHAPEL HILL  — As expected, East Rowan’s football team won easily on Friday, crushing the East Chapel Hill Wildcats on the road, 56-0.

East Chapel Hill (0-2) is a large 3A school (almost 1.500 students) but didn’t field a team last season and was ranked 109th out of 111 3A teams coming into the game. East Rowan was about a 25-point favorite.

East Rowan’s swarming defense notched its second straight shutout, something that hasn’t happened since 1971 when the Mustangs blanked North Iredell to finish the regular season, and then shut down North Davidson in the WNCHSAA playoffs.

East, which also won against North Stanly (1-1) and South Rowan (0-2), is 3-0 for the only the fourth time in 60 years of football. East has lost 364 times while winning 263 over the years, so victories, even romps like Friday’s aren’t taken for granted.

Head coach John Fitz wasn’t thrilled with East’s execution in its latest win, but he was satisfied with the intensity.

“Kids watch film so they know how good someone they’re playing is or how not good they are,” he said. “But we didn’t play down. Effort-wise, we played about how we have been playing. Our offensive line has been playing very well and they played well again. We had one holding call.”

Sammy Pinckney had a kickoff return for a touchdown and a rushing TD and led the Mustangs with 89 rushing yards on 12 carries.  Christian Bennett powered for three TDs on just five carries. Stephen Deutsch had 46 rushing yards and two TDs. Sam Wall had a rushing TD. Gabe Hinceman kicked a 38-yard field goal.

The Mustangs  led 21-0 after the first quarter, including a safety by the defense. It was 42-0 at halftime, and the second half was played with a running clock.

“It’s not like we were great,” Fitz said. “We had mess-ups we shouldn’t have had. We weren’t as smooth as we wanted to be and we weren’t as efficient as we have been. We threw a pick in the end zone, we fumbled snaps and we had maybe three penalties.”

Still, 3-0 is a fine start. The Mustangs put a perfect August in the books and are well on their way to a successful season.

“We do believe we can have a good one,” Fitz said. “But it’s all about guys continuing to work on their craft and getting better with each play. The object of this game is to dominate the opponent, and we’ve got to keep working in that direction.”

The next assignment for East Rowan will be a serious one. Central Cabarrus (3-0) comes to Granite Quarry next Friday for a matchup of unbeaten teams. Central, under former East coach Kenneth McClamrock, has been impressive, including a victory over 4A Hickory Ridge.  Central blew out Mount Pleasant on Friday.

“From what I’ve seen of Central, from looking at their scores, that’s going to be a tough challenge,” Fitz said.