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High school notebook for Week 1

By Mike London

High school football notebook …

Mooresville had the ball first against West Rowan in a weather-delayed game that was played on Saturday at Coach Joe Popp Stadium.

Prior to making their first snap of the season, all of the Blue Devils took a knee to honor Gavin Sharpe, the teammate they lost in a tragic accident earlier this month.

All 11 West defenders responded by taking a knee as well, as the crowd stood and applauded.

Finally, an official threw a flag for a delay of game penalty.

West declined the 5-yard walk-off.


West lost, 10-0, to the Blue Devils. The Falcons were shut out in their opener for the first time since 1986 when North Rowan battered the Falcons, 28-0.

West has scored only 10 points — total — in losing its last three openers to Mooresville.


West linebacker Baiden Suddarth is expected to be one of the county’s top defensive players and lived up to his reputation with 14 tackles against the Blue Devils.

Safety Jason Artis made West’s first pass interception of the season.


Mooresville’s defense keyed on West star Jalen Houston, who had only one reception and had negative rushing yardage on five carries.

Michael Gonsalves (70 rushing yards), Noah Loeblein (108 passing yards) and Ty’kese Warren (three catches, 59 yards) paced West’s offense. Loeblein, a sophomore, was making his first career start at quarterback.

East Rowan

Back Sammy Pinckney, who topped 100 rushing yards six times in 2018 and surpassed 200 yards twice, carried 33 times for 147 yards in the Mustangs’ 33-12 win against North Stanly on Saturday.

Coach John Fitz said many of Pinckney’s yards came behind Daniel Goodnight, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior lineman.


DB Tahj Young, who had two interceptions last season, provided the county’s first pick-six of the year on Saturday, scoring against the Comets.


East QB Logan Forbis threw the 17th and 18th touchdown passes of his career. Cooper Wright snagged both scoring aerials and leads the county in receiving yards after the first week with 72.


East Rowan hosts an unusual opponent on Friday — East Lincoln, a 2A school in Denver.

Both teams are East. Both teams are Mustangs. That will make it challenging for media reports.

East Rowan has never played East Lincoln in football.  In fact, while East Rowan has played 653 football games since opening 60 years ago, it has played only twice against fellow Easts.

East Rowan is 1-0 against East Chapel Hill and 1-0 against East Montgomery.

East Rowan routed East Chapel Hill in its second game last season.

“East Chapel Hill dropped us from the schedule and we needed a game for this week,” Fitz said. “The opening was posted online, and East Lincoln was also looking for a game and responded. It’s home-and-home. We’ll be going to East Lincoln next year.”

East Lincoln won 2AA state titles in 2012 and 2014, with undefeated clubs.


East freshmen Cole Eagle kicked the county’s first two field goals of the season, including a 44-yarder.

South Rowan

Sophomore Nathan Chrismon caught two touchdown passes and a 2-point conversion for 14 of South’s points in Thursday’s 56-20 loss to Carson.

Chrismon also completed a surprise pass for 31 yards to his cousin Jackson Deal early in the contest. Chrismon and Deal are grandsons of the late Larry Deal, who was the head coach for 70 South victories, including a school-record 11 in 1983.


South’s mobile quarterback Drew Huffman produced the second 100-yard rushing game of his career on Thursday. His first one came against Lexington in 2018.


South allowed 56 points against Carson, the most the Raiders have surrendered on opening night since they lost, 66-31, against Central Cabarrus to start the 2012 season.


Right tackle Robert Barringer is the most experienced Carson offensive lineman, but he’s also the smallest. He’s listed at 6 feet, 190 pounds, although the listed inches appear to be on the generous side.

Barringer is a super student and attended Governor’s School at High Point University back in June.

“My brother (J.P.) was valedictorian and had the highest SAT score anyone’s ever had at Carson,” Barringer said. “So there’s a lot for me to live up to.”


Jake “Target” Harris earned his unusual nickname on the baseball diamond as an unflinching target for opposing pitchers. He was struck by pitches five times during the 2019 baseball season and several more times with the Rowan County American Legion team.

Now the rangy junior is a target on the football field. Carson only threw six times against South, but Harris made two TD catches.


New coach Daniel Crosby was excited about Carson’s kicking game coming into the season, and with good reason. Junior Andrew Beaver was automatic — 8-for-8 — on extra points.


Andrew Rollins, a junior linebacker, had three sacks against South to spark Carson’s defense. Rollins is the son of former South head coach Jason Rollins.


Cameron “CP” Pyle will be an exciting two-way player for the Cougars. He had a huge interception and a rushing TD on opening night.


North Rowan

North opened with a 9-7 loss to Salisbury, with the Cavaliers’ only TD coming when junior DB Zay Davis scored off a fumble on a Salisbury punt return.

It’s the third straight season Davis has scored on special teams. He tallied on a punt return as a sophomore and on a blocked punt as a freshman.


North’s defense stood up well against Salisbury.

“Malachi Turner and Brandon Jefferson had great games for us upfront,” North coach Ben Hampton said. “We really did a good job of attacking the run and pressuring the quarterback.”



Coach Brian Hinson praised his defensive line — all of them — after a 9-7 victory against North Rowan that ended a six-game losing skid in the rivalry.


DB Jadarius Wood exited the game with cramps, but Hinson said he was great while he was in there.


Salisbury’s stiff defense got contributions from freshmen.

Freshman lineman Anthony Dodd, who played in the middle school All-America game in Ohio this summer along with Salisbury freshman back JyMikaah Wells, played 14 snaps and made a fumble recovery.

Freshman CJ Toomer played 20 snaps in the secondary and also made a fumble recovery. Toomer graded out the highest of the Hornets’ DBs.

A.L. Brown

The Wonders open Friday at home on their newly installed turf field.

The unfamiliar opponent for the historic contest is Gastonia’s Ashbrook High. Ashbrook opened in 1971, with the name derived from the two schools that were merged to form it — Ashley High and Holbrook High.

The school’s most famous athletic standout is basketball’s James Worthy, who starred at UNC and for the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers.

A.L. Brown is 0-2 all-time against Ashbrook, losing to the Greenwave (yes, it’s one word) in the first round of the 1987 playoffs and in the second round in 2004.


While it’s just a non-conference game now, Davie plays one of its bigger traditional rivals on Friday when it travels to North Davidson.

The orange-hued teams scrapped for years as members of the 4A Central Piedmont Conference. When Oak Grove opened 6.5 miles away and reduced its student population, North Davidson became a bully in the 2A ranks.


In Davie’s wild, 28-27 win against Page on Saturday, DB Kristian Lyons was the primary tackler 15 times, added two assists, broke up two passes and blocked a punt.

DB Caleb Bowling was in on 15 tackles.

Huge nose guard Ben Norman, who is listed at 6-2, 355 pounds, was credited with three of Davie’s eight sacks.



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