High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Published 12:02 am Saturday, April 10, 2021

Staff report

LANDIS — South Rowan scored first in Friday’s Central Carolina Conference football game at Donnell Stadium, but Salisbury scored second, third, fourth, fifth and so on.

The Hornets, who haven’t lost on the field to the Raiders since 2009, led 48-3 at halftime and rolled 62-3. The second half was played with a running clock.

Salisbury (5-2, 4-2) appears to be peaking at the right time and will go into the playoffs riding a four-game winning streak.

“We did a lot of good things,” Salisbury head coach Brian Hinson said, after the Hornets secured a berth in the 2AA state playoffs with a third-place finish in the CCC. “We executed on offense and our defense settled in and played very well after South’s first drive.”

That first drive provided the bulk of the highlights for the Raiders (2-5, 2-4), who wrapped up their season on a night when seniors were honored and a homecoming queen and king were crowned.

South had runs of 9 and 12 yards early.

When South faced a fourth-and-8 near midfield, Salisbury jumped offsides to make it fourth-and-3.  Then South faked a punt and got a first down. After a 27-yard pass completion from Nathan Chrismon to Wisdom Simms, the Rangers were in range for a field goal by Alex Fike for a 3-0 lead.

“We were flat at the start and South does a good job of using different formations to get favorable numbers,” Hinson said. “They showed us five different formations on that opening drive, and Chrismon is a really good athlete. He made some plays.”

It was all Hornets after that.

“We wanted to make Chrismon pitch it or hand it off,” Hinson said. “That was the game plan. We wanted the ball out of his hands.”

Salisbury’s 220-pound sophomore back JyMikaah Wells didn’t start for undisclosed reasons, but freshman Mike Geter, who is normally a receiver, shined when he got an opportunity to carry the ball. Geter broke a long run that led to the Hornets’ first TD. Then he put the ball in the end zone on the next snap.

“I’d been teasing Geter about not scoring this season, so it was good to see him get that first one,” Hinson said. “He was special tonight. Running the ball, he’s smooth and effortless.”

Geter made his eight carries count with 102 yards and two TDs.

Wells entered the game in the second half and trucked some would-be tacklers on two scoring runs.

Wells got 65 yards on five carries.

“Geter and Wells could be a thunder-and-lightning combination,” Hinson said. “Wells ran the ball with a vengeance once he got in there.”

Salisbury rushed for 311 yards. Jeremiah Booker had 14 carries for 51 yards.

Kicker Wade Robins was a big factor, putting kickoffs in the end zone and forcing South to start constantly from the 20. It’s hard to go 80 yards against Salisbury’s defense.

“Wade had one of those nights where it reminded me of Salisbury’s kicking game in the Frankie Cardelle days,” Hinson said. “We kept South in poor field position. The one time Wade didn’t kick it in the end zone, we covered it and tackled them on the 15.”

QB Vance Honeycutt had another solid night, throwing TD passes to Marcus Cook and Jackson Murphy.

Honeycutt rushed four times for 46 yards and a TD. He was 10-for-13 passing for 137 yards. Cook had seven catches for 103 yards.

“Our offensive line gave Vance a lot of time, and he threw it well,” Hinson said.

Defensively, the Hornets got scores from Zae Clay on a strip and fumble return and from Deuce Walker, who had a pick-six.

South had 99 rushing yards and 76 passing yards. Freshman Landon Richards rushed 13 times for 48 yards to lead the running attack. Jackson Deal caught a 45-yard pass from Chrismon.

Salisbury will travel to Maiden on Friday.