High school football: North’s Wilson shining; Rowan on road for playoffs
By Mike London
SPENCER — North Rowan junior Malcolm Wilson only carried seven times last Wednesday in a running-clock win at North Moore, but he made those carries count for 128 yards.
The performance broke the school record for most rushing yards in a regular season. Wilson has 1,723.
The previous North record for a regular season was set by JaReke Chambers in 2013. Chambers had an even 1,700.
North’s Mark Sturgis produced 1,613 rushing yards in the 10-game 1975 regular season, a school record that stood for 38 years before Chambers finally beat it.
Wilson, who has 25 rushing touchdowns, has topped 200 yards in three games this season and has surpassed 100 yards 10 times.
The only game in which Wilson didn’t get 100 was the road game at South Stanly on Sept. 28. He sat down early in a 42-0 win with 97 yards, but even that effort was pretty special. Four of his 11 carries were for touchdowns.
Wilson’s 1,723 rushing yards rank seventh all-time in the county for a regular season.
The county record for rushing yards in a regular season belongs, not surprisingly, to West Rowan’s K.P. Parks, who rumbled for 2,689 yards in 2009.
Sturgis held the Rowan regular season record for 26 years before it was broken by Ben Hampton. Hampton, who now coaches Wilson at North Rowan, charged for 1,628 yards for West Rowan in 2001.
Hampton’s county mark was, in turn, broken by West’s Wade Moore, who romped for 1,826 yards in 2005. Parks shattered that record in 2007 with 2,351 regular season rushing yards, and then pushed the bar higher in 2009 by breaking his own record.
Carson’s Shaun “Bush” Warren challenged Parks’ record in 2010 but fell 100 yards short.
The 1,000-yard plateau for a regular season was once a very difficult milestone.
Regular seasons were 10 games until most schedules were bumped to 11 games in 1996.
Also, competition levels have changed. There’s less parity. There are more weak teams and more blowout games. Even with the running-clock factor, it’s easier to pile up stats. More plays are being run and more points are being scored. The recent A.L. Brown-Concord game was 54-35. Twenty points used to be plenty to win that one.
Sixty-eight 1,000-yard regular season rushing efforts have been recorded in Rowan in the modern era (1969-2018). There was one in 1969 (North’s Kenny Stoner). There were seven in the entire decade of the 1970s, six in the 1980s and seven in the 1990s. There have been 47 since 2000.
Along with Wilson, East’s Sammy Pinckney (1,286) and West’s Jaden Perry (1,112) surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in this regular season.
West senior Payne Stolsworth has 1,898 passing yards, ranking 13th on the county’s all-time list for a regular season.
Stolsworth set the school record for a regular season in 2017 with 2,033 passing yards, the 9th-best total in county history.
His sophomore season (1,581 yards) also ranks in the top 25 in county history.
North Rowan senior Willis Mitchell (1,390) and South Rowan junior Drew Huffman (1,303) also turned in seasons that put them in the top 50 on the all-time county list for regular season passing yards.
Stolsworth threw 20 TD passes in the regular season, tied for fifth-best all-time in the county. East’s Samuel Wyrick threw 30 in the 2014 regular season for the county record.
West’s Jalen Houston had 11 touchdown catches to make the all-time top 10 in the county for a regular season. East’s Nick Heard set the county record in 1996 with 17.
As far as the all-time county record book, counting playoff games, Stolsworth, a three-year starter, has moved up to fourth in career passing yards with 6,033.
Ahead of him are West’s B.J. Sherrill (6,188), East’s Samuel Wyrick (6,525) and North’s Mario Sturdivant (6,556).
Stolsworth is second all-time in the county in TD passes with 68. Wyrick’s county record is 74.
The next reception for Houston, a junior, will be his 100th. There are 12 members of the 100-catch club in county history, led by East’s Seth Wyrick (189).
Houston has topped 2,000 receiving yards for his career, and is only the seventh in county history to accomplish that feat.
West is preparing for a tough playoff matchup at Kings Mountain in the first round of the 3A playoffs on Friday.
Kings Mountain (9-2) is ranked 10th in 3A by MaxPreps and 24th overall in the state.
Kings Mountain ended a 12-game losing streak against Crest this year and has lost only to Shelby and undefeated Hunter Huss.
Salisbury has the same seed as West Rowan (12), but the Hornets appear to have a better chance to win in the first round at Ashe County.
Ashe County (9-2) is largely untested, with nine easy wins and blowout losses to Hibriten and Watauga, two very strong teams. In other words, Ashe County hasn’t been in a close game yet.
Ashe County has put up crazy offensive numbers and has won eight in a row.
QB Luke Hudler has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 34 TDs, while Timothy Peterson has rushed for 1,762 yards and 26 TDs.
MaxPreps ranks Ashe County 123rd in the state and 21st in 2A.
East Rowan got arguably the worst draw in history.
After last Friday’s 53-3 loss to Statesville, the 13th-seeded Mustangs, who played without QB Logan Forbis, probably would prefer to travel anywhere in the world other than Statesville.
But Statesville (8-3) is who they’ve got to try to prepare for.
If you believe in miracles, East Rowan at West Rowan is a potential second-round matchup.
A.L. Brown is only a 15 seed in the 3AA West bracket, but the Wonders are happy to still be playing after a 6-5 regular season.
They are pretty dangerous despite a recent three-game skid.
Jordan Medley has thrown for 2,000 yards and should go over 1,000 rushing yards on Friday when the Wonders play at Asheville A.C. Reynolds. Medley is actually going to top the numbers dual-threat QB Jamill Lott put up in 2008 when he led the Wonders to the 3AA state-title game.
A.C. Reynolds (10-1) is ranked 14th in 3A by MaxPreps and No. 31 overall in the state.
The Rockets have won 10 in a row since losing at Southern Durham opening night.
Like A.L. Brown, A.C. Reynolds has a big QB who does a lot of damage. East Carolina commit Alex Finn (6-2, 215) has thrown for 2,674 yards and 30 touchdowns. Finn has rushed for 500 yards. Jhari Patterson is a 1,000-yard receiver, while Warren Stoterbury has picked off seven passes.
Third-seeded North Rowan has this week off to rest, heal and prepare for a second-round 1AA matchup at home.
A potential opponent is Polk County, the team that eliminated North on the road in a thriller last season.