Wells injured in Salisbury’s 35-7 win at East Rowan
Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2022
By David Shaw
GRANITE QUARRY — Salisbury’s football team lost star running back JyMikaah Wells on the third play from scrimmage Friday night, but that’s about all it lost.
The Hornets recovered nicely, finishing with 418 rushing yards in a methodic 35-7 non-conference win at East Rowan.
“He rolled his (left) ankle early,” first-year coach Clayton Trivett reported after Salisbury (2-1) coasted to its second straight win. “He got over here and said he didn’t feel good, so we just shut him down for the night. I don’t think he needs an x-ray. It’s not that bad. We’re just going to see how he does over the weekend and check him on Monday.”
Wells had already carried the ball twice and gained 24 yards when he was helped off the field just 1:17 into the game. “Basically,” winning quarterback Mike Geter said with a sideways smile, “we had to turn to our backup running back and he fit in very well. Our game plan doesn’t change, with or without (Wells).”
The plug-in who rescued SHS was sophomore Jamal Rule, an elusive 175-pound handful who took 21 handoffs from Geter and bumped and bruised his way for 159 yards and touchdown. Geter did the rest, hop-scotching around the field for 210 yards and a TD in each quarter. In three games he’s rushed for six scores and passed for two others.
“We couldn’t get into sync early, with all the penalties and especially throwing the ball,” Trivett said. “But in the end, Geter showed why he’s so special.”
So did Rule, who seemed to sled behind an inspired offensive line. Listen to 260-pound Salisbury center Bryan Rosado, who helped open holes wide enough to drive the team bus through: “We just get off the line and stay patient in our gaps,” he said. “Most defenses love to try to confuse you, but we didn’t let that happen. Losing Wells made it tough because he always makes us look good. But someone else had to step up — and tonight that was (Rule).”
Geter offered a more-perfumed assessment. “Jumal is really smart and seems to make good decisions,” he explained. “To me, it’s like he has three eyes. He can see the field in multiple ways. He sees everywhere.”
East saw more than enough of Salisbury’s makeshift tandem. The Mustangs (0-3) watched Geter zig-and-zag for touchdown runs of 4, 18, 69 and 40 yards. Rule busted a 46-yard TD romp down the right sideline that provided a 28-0 lead with 8:31 remaining.
“Jamal’s nothing new. He’s a good player who came up to varsity as a freshman,” said East coach John Fitz. “They have good players. They have talent. They wouldn’t be winning football games like this if they weren’t. Offensively, they’re just so explosive.”
East, which has been outscored 99-35 in its three setbacks, showed glimpses of improvement in many areas. The Mustangs had only one turnover — a far cry from the eight it committed on opening night and three in a Week 2 loss to North Stanly — and it came on a poorly disguised trick play. Punter Josh Roman-Soto was intercepted by Salisbury’s Sean Young on a fourth-and-12 fake play midway through the second period.
“Our defensive coach (Mike Herndon) called it out,” said DB Kenyon Hairston. “He yelled, ‘It might be a fake, might be a fake.’ Those were his exact words. When we saw the punter pull out for a pass, we were on it.”
East quarterback Gavin Walker is still cutting his teeth, but he completed 17 of 33 passes for 153 yards and a last-quarter touchdown. “He’s getting more and more comfortable and trusting the receivers more,” said ER wideout AJ Goodman. “The offensive line is blocking better and (Walker) is starting to throw the deep ball. It feels like we’re all growing together.”
Goodman was another bright spot. The junior made seven receptions for 99 yards and hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Walker with 6:49 to play. It was his second TD catch in as many weeks.
Finally, there was Roman-Soto, who boomed six punts for a 40.3 average. Included was a 51-yarder in the first quarter.
“I like that my kids are improving,” Fitz said in the subdued East locker room. “I like the direction we’re going in. But I don’t like losing. I wouldn’t be in this profession if I did.”
NOTES: Salisbury finished with 460 total yards and East with 189. The Mustangs managed only 36 yards on the ground and were limited to eight first downs. … East defensive end Gaven Trexler recovered a fumble early in the second half. … Salisbury punter Hank Webb averaged 47.3 yards on three kicks. He was also perfect on five PAT attempts and snared a 22-yard pass from Geter late in the second period. … A member of East Rowan’s chain gang was ejected by the referee following a flareup with two seconds left in the first half. … Both teams play their final non-leaguer next Friday. Salisbury visits South Rowan and East travels to face North Davidson.
Salisbury 7 7 7 14 — 35
East Rowan 0 0 0 0 — 7
Sal — Geter 4 run (Webb kick), 1:43 1st
Sal — Geter 18 run (Webb kick), 0:49 2nd
Sal — Geter 69 run (Webb kick), 9:23 3rd
Sal — Rule 46 run (Webb kick), 8:31 4th
ER — Goodman 25 pass from Walker (Honeycutt kick), 6:49 4th
Sal — Geter 40 run (Webb kick), 3:42 4th
First downs 16 8
Rushes-yards 47-418 21-36
Passes 5-11-0 17-34-1
Passing yards 42 153
Penalties 11-84 4-46
Punts 3-47.3 6-40.3
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Rushing — SHS: Geter 20-210; Rule 21-159; Wells 2-24; Walker 1-16; Asare 3-9. ER: Chesney 9-21; Roman-Soto 5-20; Walker 7-(minus 5).
Passing — SHS: Geter 5-11-0, 42. ER: Walker 17-33-0, 153; Roman-Soto 0-1-1.
Receiving — SHS: Walker 3-16; Webb 1-22; Rule 1-4.