High school football: Salisbury back in the running for records

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

By Mike London


SALISBURY —  Individual records don’t always happen in team wins.

On a Friday night when just about everything went wrong for the Salisbury football team in a 31-7 loss against West Rowan, senior JyMikaah Wells kept on trucking for the Hornets.

He did what he does. A lot of power, plus some shake, and surprising 225-pound speed when he gets to daylight. The TD he scored was his 50th.

West found the best way to stop Wells was to keep the ball out of his hands, so that’s what the Falcons did. They clinched victory with a punishing, 10-minute drive bridging the third and fourth quarters.

Then the last seven minutes of the game never got to be played, so no one, including Wells, added any more rushing yards.

When watching film of the game, Salisbury head coach Clayton Trivett  officially credited Wells with 205 yards on 11 eventful carries.

That was a bit more than the 10 for 198 the Post credited Wells with on Friday, and the upward adjustment has been made in the record book. The difference apparently was a 7-yard run into the line someone else got credit for, but all the activity that takes place on the far side of the field at Salisbury’s Ludwig Stadium, 60 yards or so from where the press box is situated down on the scoreboard end, has never been a piece of cake to handle statistically. Not even by young men armed with binoculars.

Sometimes you just have to wait for the film.

At any rate, Wells easily breezed past the school career rushing record that had been held for more than a decade by Dario Hamilton, one of the many productive backs during Joe Pinyan’s coaching era.

Usually when Salisbury has been good, three or four backs have been sharing the load, so no individual has ever put up astounding rushing numbers.

Jamal Rule looks like a solid second back for the Hornets, but mostly it’s going to be Wells and more Wells. He may put up astounding rushing numbers.

Wells now has 3,647 yards to his credit. With continued good health, he’ll get a lot more. He may become Rowan’s third 5,000-yard back. With the help of Salisbury’s coaches, we’ll keep track of his progress.

Wells began this season 13th on the all-time county rushing chart. One game into his senior season, he’s moved up to 10th. Besides storming past Hamilton (3,553), he surpassed the career rushing totals of  West’s Joe Jackson (3,491) and Thomas Lowe (3,471), who lugged the rock in powerful fashion in a career that included carries for East Rowan and South Rowan.

The nine players still ahead of Wells all totaled more than 4,000 rushing yards, so he’s not likely to catch anyone this week.

South Rowan is the only one of the six Rowan schools that doesn’t have running back in the top 10 career rushers. South’s all-time leader Darius Beaty had 3,037 yards from 2003-05.

North Rowan’s all-time rusher JaReke Chambers (2011-14) had 4,769 yards. East Rowan’s leader Sammy Pinckney rushed for 4,878 in a recent career that concluded with the spring 2021 season.  Shaun “Bush” Warren — 6,136 yards from 2007-10 — is No. 1 at Carson and No. 2 on the county list.

At the top, West Rowan’s K.P. Parks had a career of mythical proportions. He rushed for 10,915 yards from 2006-09 and may hold that record for another 50 years.

Think about it. To get to 10,000 yards, a back has to average 200 yards per game for a 50-game varsity career … and that would still leave him short of K.P.

Wells obviously is the county rushing leader after Week 1.

The running back who has the best chance to challenge him this season is North Rowan’s Jaemias Morrow, who had 13 carries for 169 yards against East.

The county’s other 100-yard back in the opening week was West Rowan bruiser Landon Jacobs. As coach Louis Kraft promised in the preseason, he’s going to run over and through some defenders.

East Rowan’s TiJon Everhart rushed for 97 yards.

South Rowan has made some strides with its running game. Landon Richards had 18 for 97 in Friday’s win, while Trae Rucker had 10 for 82.

Friday’s games:

Salisbury (0-1) at Green Level (0-1), 7 p.m.

Salisbury got thoroughly outplayed in the 31-7 loss to West Rowan, so there are a lot of areas to get better in. It wasn’t any one thing that went sour.

A long trip to Cary to play Green Level is a good opportunity for the Hornets to bond and turn things around.

Green Level is an almost new school (founded in 2019) that hasn’t found its football legs yet. The Gators were 2-8 last season and got creamed by Raleigh Sanderson 49-29 last week.

Green Level is a 4A school (almost 1,400 students), but the  school’s best sport is volleyball.

Wells should have a good night. Mike Geter should have a good night.

Trivett said the unusual matchup came about because both schools needed a Week 2 game.

Green Level needed a home game desperately and was willing to pay for charter buses for the Hornets. After that, it was a done deal.

West Rowan (1-0) at Davie (0-1), 7 p.m.

The win over Salisbury has created some serious momentum for the Falcons.

West saw it coming, but basically no one else did. With direct messages on Twitter coming in every two minutes or so on Friday, people were wondering what the heck was going on at Ludwig Stadium.

A win at 4A rival Davie would be almost as big for the Falcons.

But Davie is rarely a routine outing for West. The War Eagles lead the long-running series 31-20-2.

Davie has won the last two meetings, including a 56-30 pounding last year. West’s last win in the series was 24-21 in 2019.

Davie always seems to have explosive skill people. QB Ty Miller put it in the air 34 times in a 44-28 loss to Mooresville and connected for 215 yards. Markel Summers ran for 94 yards and two TDs. Brodie Smith had 80 yards in receptions.

Davie trailed Mooresville 31-7, but got back as close as 31-21 and 38-28 before the Blue Devils put them away.

West’s defense pitched an aerial shutout in the 31-7 win against Salisbury. West got mashed some on the ground by Wells, but the Hornets had zero completions.

West’s new QB Lucas Graham turned in a solid opening effort, throwing for 126 yards and two TDs and managing the game with no major mistakes.

WSAT is broadcasting the game.

North Rowan (1-0) at South Rowan (1-0), 7 p.m.

Three Rowan teams made it through opening night undefeated. Two of those three will square off in Friday’s only county matchup.

The teams battled into overtime in Spencer early last season, with the Cavaliers pulling it out 36-28.

Morrow did what he was expected to do on opening night, breaking explosive plays and scoring three touchdowns, but North’s feared passing combination of Jeremiah Alford-to-Amari McArthur (an invitee to the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl) didn’t get untracked.

North’s defense allowed a passel of passing yards and first downs, but got plenty of stops with eight turnovers — six picks (one for a TD) and two fumbles.

In the 9-6 win against Parkland, South looked to be better on offense on opening night than it was at any point last season. South ran the ball for steady gains and quarterback Brooks Overcash mixed in a few passes, including a touchdown toss.

North leads the series 16-10. The last time South beat the Cavaliers was 26-6 in 2004.

“North has skill people as talented as any you’re going to find in 1A,” South coach Chris Walsh said. “They were very good last year and now they’re older.”

North Stanly (0-1) at East Rowan (0-1), 7:30 p.m.

East displayed a potentially dangerous offense in Friday’s 34-14 loss to North Rowan and certainly looked more potent with the ball than it did last season.

New QB Gavin Walker completed 20 passes and threw for 247 yards, while TiJon Everhart rushed for two touchdowns.

Now the Mustangs, who moved the ball well between the 20s, have to cut down the turnovers and cash in on scoring drives.

North Stanly only threw for 40 yards in a 41-14 loss to Ledford. Cameron Smith was the most effective North Stanly offensive player with 20 carries for 123 yards.

East leads the series with the Comets 18-8.

North Stanly won the meeting last fall 28-6.

The Mustangs’ most recent victory was 33-12 in 2019.

Mount Pleasant (1-0) at Carson (0-1), 7 p.m.

It will be emotional for just about everyone in China Grove, as coach Daniel Crosby leads his new team — the MP Tigers — against the Carson squad he coached in recent seasons.

New Carson head coach Jonathan Lowe was part of Crosby’s staff last season.

Crosby has installed the split-back veer at Mount Pleasant, so expect a quick game with a lot of runs.

Mount Pleasant has a lot of excitement going with a new turf field and a 35-14 opening win against Central Cabarrus that earned Crosby a Gatorade bath.

Carson opened with  a 30-0 loss at Statesville, but figures to be fired up for its first home game against a familiar face.

New Carson QB Michael Guiton threw for 94 yards in the opener, but was picked off three times by the Greyhounds. Carson was limited to 81 rushing yards by a fast defense.

Carson’s defense played better than it sounds. It was 10-0 at halftime.

Mount Pleasant jumped ahead early and won 27-21 vs. the Cougars last fall.

Carson is 1-2 all-time against Mount Pleasant. That Carson win was in 2013.

A.L. Brown (1-0) at Sun Valley (0-1), 7:30 p.m.

The Wonders, who demolished North Meck 41-7 on opening night, should be 2-0 when this one is over.

Xavier Chambers scored on both sides of the ball against North Meck and should have another big night.

Sun Valley struggled in its opener and was pummeled 49-14 by Olympic.

The Wonders whipped Sun Valley 41-13 last fall.

Sun Valley beat the Wonders in 2006, but that’s the Spartans’ only win in 19 outings against A.L. Brown.