High school football: Salisbury roughs up North behind Wells
Published 11:47 pm Friday, October 28, 2022
By David Shaw
For the Salisbury Post
SPENCER — Salisbury threw out a big bowl of JyMikaah Wells and everyone clad in white-and-gold wanted some.
The record-setting running back was off the charts Friday night, rushing for 249 yards and five touchdowns in a 53-21 Central Carolina Conference victory at North Rowan. He added an 85-yard kick return for a TD as the Hornets (9-1, 6-0) tied a festive ribbon around an unblemished conference season.
“We wanted to change it up a little bit on offense and go with a two-back set,” rookie head coach Clayton Trivett said after SHS won its ninth straight game. “But we had a couple guys get banged up, so we had to go away from that real quick. My guys adjusted well, but when you have JyMikaah it makes everything easier.”
Wells made everyone in the sizable crowd stand up and take notice. He made four end zone appearances in the first half as Salisbury mounted a 33-7 advantage, then scored on a pair of short TD runs in the second. Along the way he became the third Rowan County back to surpass 5,000 career yards rushing, a milestone he reached on a 2-yard touchdown burst with 7:12 remaining in the second quarter.
“They tried to keep me from going inside,” Wells said with a post-game grin. “But they couldn’t. I just stayed north and south and kept flying.”
Salisbury will host a 2A state playoff game on Friday after collecting 21 first downs and racking up 407 yards total offense. Seeded sixth, Salisbury faces Brevard in the first round.
The Hornets forced three turnovers, including DB Deuce Walker’s 35-yard pick-six TD that made it 26-0 in the second period.
“The receiver ran a short route and the quarterback threw a high ball,” Walker said after recording his seventh TD. “All I did was tip it, then caught it like a punt return. I had to beat three of our guys and their quarterback to make it into the end zone.”
North (6-4, 3-3 CCC) had its modest, two-game winning streak halted, but will likely host a 1A playoff game next Friday. The Cavs were paced by running back Jaemias Morrow, the rugged junior who weaved for 120 yards and two touchdowns — one of them on a 98-yard kick return that electrified the crowd early in the fourth period. But quarterback Jeremiah Alford completed only five of 16 passes for 40 yards and the Salisbury defense forced three first-half turnovers.
“We turned the ball over early on and got behind a little bit,” said North coach Nygel Pearson. “They ran the ball hard and controlled the clock. And JyMikaah, he just had a field day.”
Wells has scored a school-record 77 career touchdowns, including 28 this season. He was quick to credit an offensive line that routinely created apertures in North’s defensive front. “Those guys on the OL,” he said. “They’re getting better every day. They stay focused and never give up on plays.”
Pearson said Wells was simply difficult to put on the ground.
“He’s a good football player,” North’s third-year coach offered. “And we knew that coming in. We knew they were going to feed him the ball. He’s big, he’s powerful and he runs behind the shoulder pads. Whenever you tackle him, he always falls forward. That’s the sign of a good running back.”
Salisbury led by 32 points on three occasions, the last when quarterback Mike Geter spiraled an 18-yard touchdown pass to Hank Webb that closed the scoring. Geter completed four of nine attempts for 108 yards. The SHS defense limited North to 11 first downs and 229 yards total offense.
“It was just a matter of keeping everything in front of us,” said Walker, who also recovered a fumble late in the opening quarter. “Everything short. Nothing behind us.”
Now the true test begins for the Hornets, who captured a state title following the abbreviated spring, 2021 season. Salisbury has a weakened RPI rating, based on strength-of-schedule, but expects to survive deep into November.
“If we keep playing this way,” Wells suggested, “we can make the state championship game. We’re a special team, with special individuals. We’ve got a lot of fight in us.”
North is seeded 13th in 1A and will host Carver in the first round of the playoffs.
NOTES: North recognized 13 seniors in a pre-game ceremony. … Alford got the Cavs on the scoreboard with a 16-yard TD run in the second quarter. It was his 11th rushing touchdown. … Morrow’s third-period TD was his 24th. He’s rushed for 1,251 yards this season. … Webb, Salisbury’s sophomore kicker, booted five extra points. Three other attempts were blocked — each by North’s Tsion Kelly. … Tyree Brown had an interception for the Hornets and Amari McArthur picked off a pass for the Cavs.
Salisbury 7 26 6 14 — 53
North Rowan 0 7 7 7 — 21
SAL — Wells 10 run (Webb kick), 3:45 1st
SAL — Wells 1 run (kick failed), 9:50 2nd
SAL — Wells 28 run (Webb kick), 5:59 2nd
SAL — Walker 35 interception return (kick failed), 4:45 2nd
NR — Alford 16 run (Montes Medrano kick), 2:07 2nd
SAL — Wells 85 kick return (Webb kick), 1:55 2nd
SAL — Wells 2 run (kick failed), 6:41 3rd
NR — Morrow 10 run (Montes Medrano kick), 3:34 3rd
SAL — Wells 1 run ((Webb kick), 11:20 4th
NR — Morrow 98 kick return (Montes Medrano kick), 11:02 4th
SAL — Webb 18 pass from Geter (Webb kick), 6:17 4th
Team Stats SAL NR
First downs 21 11
Rushes-yards 51-299 33-189
Passing 4-9-1 5-16-2
Passing yards 108 40
Penalties 6-50 3-20
Punts 2-32 3-32.3
Fumbles-lost 3-0 2-1
Rushing — SAL: Wells 33-249; Geter 12-37; Asare 2-4; Moore 1-3; Walker 1-3; Webb 1-2; Johnson 1-1. NR: Morrow 20-120; Alford 12-72; Oglesby 1-(minus 3).
Passing — SAL: Geter 4-9-1, 108. NR: Alford 5-16-2, 40.
Receiving — SAL: Webb 2-32; Walker 1-52; Rule 1-24. NR: Suber 2-29; McArthur 2-3; Cantres 1-8.
See photo gallery here https://www.salisburypost.com/2022/10/28/photo-gallery-salisbury-upends-north-53-21/