High school football: Jamboree turned into two-day adventure, but coaches pleased

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 15, 2021

By Mike London


SALISBURY  — For most football fans, the memorable thing about Friday’s Rowan County Jamboree will be the traffic jam they found themselves in trying to leave it.

Lightning after 8 p.m. created at first a delay and then a postponement of the A.L. Brown-West Rowan and Carson-Salisbury scrimmages. That led to a mass exodus of cars and transformed the Jamboree into an unplanned two-day experience for the Wonders, Falcons, Cougars and Hornets.

The South Rowan-Central Davidson scrimmage started things off in some pretty serious heat at 5 p.m.

“Hottest day of the year,” new South head coach Chris Walsh said. “It was a learning experience. We had a lot of guys out, so we got a lot of young guys experience. We saw some position battles take place.”

The East Rowan-Anson and North Rowan-West Stanly scrimmages also were completed on Friday night before weather brought interruption.

East Rowan head coach John Fitz was delighted with how his team performed defensively against Anson.

“Anson is Anson, not only fast and athletic, but big kids, as well,” Fitz said. “But we were able to run with them and that was a pleasant surprise. We graduated a lot of speed, but we won’t be slow.”

Fitz also said East’s offensive line, which only has one returning starter, held up well in the scrimmage.

“For a lot of those kids, this was the first time they’ve seen live bullets coming from the other side,” Fitz said. “They did well.”

Five of the six Rowan programs will be breaking in new quarterbacks this season, and several teams may not make a decision on a starter until shortly before Friday’s openers.

North Rowan is one of the teams with QB competition and uncertainty.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in a little bit of time,” North head coach Nygel Pearson said. “Our QBs had some bright spots, but these are kids who were playing middle school football in the spring, and now they’re on varsity. They have a lot to learn, but I’m excited about their potential.”

West Rowan traveled to the turf field at A.L. Brown on Saturday to get in its scrimmage work.

“They’re really good,” West head coach Louis Kraft said of the Wonders. “We’re going to be good this year also — I’m just not sure when. I hope it’s in Week 1, but it may be later in the year.”

Offered Carson head Daniel Crosby, “It looked like Kannapolis’ numbers might be down a little, but the guys they do have looked great coming down the hill.”

Carson made a return trip to Salisbury on Saturday. The Cougars put in their scrimmage work against the powerful Hornets, defending state champs.

“They’re big and they’re fast,”  was Crosby’s scouting report on the Hornets. “This was more about getting in reps rather than game situations, but we were pleased with what we saw from our guys. It was a positive for our kids to get a chance to line up against someone like Salisbury.”

Coaches used the word “pleased” more than any other to describe their Jamboree experience.

That wasn’t surprising. Everyone is still optimistic at this point. You have to be.

The Jamboree —the concept of bringing all of Rowan’s football teams together on the same night at the same place — began in 2019.

COVID erased everything from the fall 2020 schedule, the Jamboree included.

It returned on Friday and fans got a sneak preview of what to expect when the real games begin.