Prep Football Notebook: Week 10
From staff reports
Romar Morris’ quartet of touchdowns in a 57-6 win against Lexington last week matched a Salisbury school record held by many.
Others who have tallied four TDs include Roger Jackson (1969 vs. A.L. Brown, Jackson (1970 vs. East Rowan), Powell Adkins (1973 vs. Lexington), Tony Gillespie (1980 vs. Asheboro), Warren Alexander (1987 vs. Ledford), Anthony Arnold (1989 vs. North Rowan), Andre Turner (1995 vs. Randleman) and Tyris Davidson (2004 vs. Central Davidson).
IRON IKE: Morris wasn’t the only 100-yard rusher against Lexington. Senior Ike Whitaker was Mr. Inside to Morris’ Mr. Outside.
Whitaker made the most of his 10 carries, churning for 103 yards.
“We established the fullback more,” coach Joe Pinyan said. “Ike was great running the football.”
DEFENSIVE STAR: Tre Jackson had to play linebacker due to a discipline issue and won the team’s defensive award.
The converted defensive back finished with eight tackles.
“He gave us a lot of good minutes,” Pinyan said.
IT’S DARIEN, AGAIN: Pinyan tries to spread his weekly awards around, but he knows Darien Rankin could win the defensive honor every week. The athletic, 6-foot-2 Rankin, who plays the Hornet position (part linebacker, part DB), continues to amaze.
“He has made plays the last four to five weeks that are unbelievable,” Pinyan said.
Rankin showed his athleticism on an interception against Lexington. He reached back over his head and took the ball away from the receiver.
“It was just a phenomenal catch,” Pinyan said. “I looked at the other coaches and said, ‘What else can he do?’ The guy’s amazing.”
LITTLE BIG MAN: Salisbury’s other interception was described as a “leaping interception” by Joseph Figueroa.
Figueroa stands just 5-4.
“I don’t know if he leaped,” Pinyan joked. “I think he climbed up the receiver and pulled it down. But it was down around the end zone, so it was a good play on his part.”
WHAT’S HIS NAME: Another defensive stalwart was 6-4, 390-pound nose guard Kiontae Rankin, Darien’s brother.
“They couldn’t say his name on the P.A.,” Pinyan laughed. “We were trying to figure out who they were talking about. But as big as he is, we knew who it was making plays.”
In a 41-7 romp against East Rowan, West’s defense did exactly what it wanted to do.
“East is good and physical, but we were able to take them out of their comfort zone,” West coach Scott Young said. “First down was key. If they get their 31/2 yards on first down, then you know you’re gonna get the same thing again ó and again.”
East’s first offensive snap resulted in a loss of 1 yard as Mackel Gaither and Will Holloway crashed through to pound Chris Moore. After a 4-yard gain on second down and an incomplete pass, East called on Andrew May to punt ó and so it went.
East never broke that pattern, even after it started throwing on first down. The Mustangs not only didn’t move the chains in the first half, they didn’t come close.
The best situation the Mustangs had on third down was third-and-4 at the East 37. A run by Quentin Sifford was stuffed for no gain.
HOLLY WHO? Holloway, No. 17, has made a lot of impact plays the past two weeks, but who is he and where did he come from?
“We figured we were going to start Will at the beginning of the season, but then he got hurt,” defensive coordinator David Hunt said. “We were going to start him after he came back from that injury, but then he got the flu for two weeks.”
Now Holloway is healthy. While he weighs only 165 pounds, he’s one more Falcon someone had better account for.
ON TARGET: Junior quarterback B.J. Sherrill’s tremendous season continues. He surpassed 3,000 passing yards for his career Friday and tossed his 27th and 28th TD passes.
Sherrill is the 14th Rowan QB to reach the 3,000-yard milestone and the third Falcon. Sherrill (3,050 yards) trails Bryan Aycoth (3,769) and Timmy Hogue (4,967), who set the school record in 1995.
“With K.P. (Parks) on our team, my job is super-easy,” Sherrill said. “Every fake handoff, teams have to respect K.P.”
JONNY HUSTLE: Jon Crucitti has caught 48 passes this season despite sitting out opening night.
Crucitti missed the first game due to a state rule. He hadn’t practiced enough with the Falcons following his American Legion baseball adventures that took him to the World Series in North Dakota.
Even without the benefit of that game, Crucitti is in position to set a school record for regular-season receptions. Lamont Savage holds the mark with 55 in 2005.
West is open this week, then finishes at North Iredell. With two catches, Crucitti will become the seventh county player to total 50 receptions in a regular season.
PARKS UPDATE: Kudos to Davie and South Rowan, the only two defenses to hold Parks under 200 yards this season. Parks’ season low is 167 yards rushing, which may be the most eye-popping of all the stats he’s accumulated.
Parks racked up 263 rushing yards against East, plus 40 yards on two receptions.
Young always checks on Parks’ numbers right after a game. Every Friday night, he performs a juggling act.
It’s a delicate job allowing Parks a legitimate chance to break the state career rushing record without embarrassing opponents by keeping Parks in games too long.
“We wanted K.P. to stay on pace, and he did that,” Young said after the East game. “At the same time, you never want to rub anybody’s nose in it.”
Parks now has 9,529 yards for his career and 134 TDs.
He had four TDs against the Mustangs, the 12th time he’s scored four or more touchdowns in a game.
“I hope to see K.P. in the NFL one day,” guard Charles Holloway said. “That would be something to be able to tell everybody that I blocked for that guy.”
BLIND SIDED: As usual, on Friday, Crucitti was a wicked blocker for Parks as he turned corners.
“K.P. sets it all up so well,” Crucitti said. “Most of the time they never see me coming.”
Despite the loss to West Rowan that was more onesided than it sounds, the Mustangs will be favored to secure their eighth win on Friday at North Iredell.
If the Mustangs can do it, they’ll own the best season by an East team since the Mustangs posted a 10-3 slate in 1997 with such standouts as Nick Heard, Danny Misenheimer, Adam Horton and Eddie Guessford.
East won eight times in 1991 and 1996, took nine games in 1959, 1968 and 1970 and won all 13 in 1969.
NOSE FOR THE BALL: Nose guard Jeffrey Haltom joined Chris Demitraszek in recovering fumbles for the Mustangs against West.
TOUGH TO RUN ON: East has topped 200 yards rushing five times this season, with a high of 409 against Statesville, but it hit a stone wall against West with a season-low 34.
TROUT FISHING: Appalachian State baseball commitment Preston Troutman tackled well at safety, returned West’s frequent kickoffs aggressively and caught a long pass for the Mustangs’ only touchdown.
One appreciative observer in the bleachers was Trey Holmes, East’s home-run receiver in 2007 and Troutman’s teammate on the regional championship American Legion baseball team.
“It’s for other people to decide, I guess, but if you ask me, Preston’s a lot better football player than I ever was,” Holmes said.
Jesse Rudisell suffered a concussion against Albemarle two weeks ago, but he is expected to be back this week when the Cavaliers face West Montgomery.
Cameron Mallett didn’t carry the ball for North in a 34-7 win against Chatham Central because he was nursing a shot to the head from the Albemarle game. He should return this week, too.
PASS OR CATCH: North has used Rudisell at quarterback, but freshman T.J. Allen made a good first impression last Friday.
“T.J.’s blessed with a good, strong arm and quick feet,” quarterbacks coach Bobby Myers said. “We just have to get him a little stronger.
“The thing with Jesse is, he’s a heck of a receiver. He’s got great hands and runs good routes.”
RUN-STOPPERS: After the season opener, a 7-0 loss to East Rowan, Mustangs coach Brian Hinson said the North defensive line would be as good as anyone until they faced West Rowan.
That statement has held true. Rodney Goodine’s defense held Chatham Central to minus-9 yards rushing.
The Cavs have held four of five 1A opponents to 30 yards or less. East Montgomery finished with minus-55. North Moore had 13.
East Rowan (3A) ran for just 67. Lexington (2A) had just 82.
Wishbone-crazy Salisbury, which had 374 yards last week, was held to a meager ó by its standards ó 146 by the Cavs.
The hamstring injury to running back D’Andre Harris isn’t considered serious, but South’s coaches will be careful not to rush him back too quickly. The knee injury sustained by backup running back Josh Suber is more serious.
Versatile senior Quan Glaspy could have an expanded offensive role when the Raiders face Statesville on Friday.
“Games in the past, he’d grab me and say, ‘Coach, I’m ready to go in if you need me on offense,’ ” South coach Jason Rollins said. “We didn’t always need him, but he just keeps plugging away.”
Glaspy returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and picked off a pass in the second half of South’s 46-21 win against Carson. He also had two carries for 36 yards and made two catches for 23 yards.
He gained 25 yards on an end-around to the right.
“He probably had one of his best ballgames by far on both sides of the ball,” Rollins said.
BACKS TO THE WALL: Standout linebacker Cadarreus Mason (appendicitis) shouldn’t be out long, either. Rollins praised linebackers Jacob Nance, John Davis and Jacob Baker for how they performed against Carson.
“They made mistakes, but there’s some things they had to kind of jump in and hang on,” Rollins said.
Nance, who took Mason’s spot, and defensive lineman Justin Hall handled the responsibility of calling out defensive signals with Mason out of the lineup.
WILD RAIDERS: The Raiders’ first drive was a nine-play, 50-yard march in which they used the Wildcat formation five times.
Harris handled four of the Wildcat snaps, and Thomas Lowe took one. They combined for 22 yards from that alignment.
“Kids get that gleam in their eyes when we say to line up in that because they all think they can do like they see on TV,” offensive coordinator Steve London said.
First-year receiver Cody Clanton had another productive Friday night, catching five passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in Carson’s loss to South.
Clanton used nice footwork to stay in bounds on Zack Gragg’s 19-yard TD pass in the third quarter.
Gragg scrambled to his left to buy time, fired a pass down the left sideline and connected with Clanton for an 80-yard score in the fourth quarter. He showed surprising speed at the tail end of the play.
“We felt like we could score, but we just had a hard time stopping them,” Carson coach Mark Woody said.
AIR UP THERE: Clanton has stormed onto the scene with 33 catches for 781 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has three 100-yard outings.
Gragg has 12 touchdown passes, and he’s thrown for at least 125 yards in five games.
No Carson player had more than four TD catches in a season during the school’s first three years of existence, and the Cougars totaled 18 touchdowns through the air in that time.
Carson’s best mark for TD passes in a season before this year was eight in 2007.
STREAK ENDS: Running back Shaun Warren finished with 90 yards on 22 carries against the Raiders. His longest gain was 15 yards.
Warren’s streak of consecutive 100-yard games ended at six. South stopped him for no gain or a loss eight times.
With one regular-season game remaining, Warren has 1,648 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground.
Davie is 3-6 after a 14-11 loss to Mount Tabor, but the celebrated Ken Massey Ratings system still tabs the War Eagles as the 70th best team in the state, counting all classifications.
That’s strength of schedule speaking. The War Eagles have taken on four squads that are still unbeaten. They’ve battled eight teams that will enter Friday night with a winning record.
Davie will finally be favored by a healthy margin when it takes on Reagan this Friday. Reagan has won once.
Friday is senior night at War Eagle Stadium.
BARBER UPDATE: Davie linebacker Jared Barber continues to amaze. He had 21 tackles against Tabor.
Zach Long picked off his fourth pass, and Matt Speer added 15 tackles.
JAYVEE POWER: Davie did play well last Thursday night. The jayvee team beat Mount Tabor 22-12, snapping the Spartans’ 19-game winning streak.
After experiencing shaky moments defensively in their first four outings, the Wonders tightened up. They’ve allowed six touchdowns in five SPC games.
“We had pieces missing with injuries and sickness, but the last three weeks guys are starting to understand things more,” coach Ron Massey said. “It’s just a matter of getting experience. There’s no substitute for being out there on Friday nights.”
IN THE NAVY: Massey’s son, Zach, is a freshman on the Wake Forest squad and had an opportunity to make the trip to Annapolis to play Navy last Saturday.
“Zach appreciated the history up there and it was a great experience, but he said it was cold standing in the rain,” Massey said.
SPRING IN THEIR STEP: Massey says the Wonders usually focus and practice efficiently when a big game looms, and they’ve got another one Friday at Northwest Cabarrus.
“Practice is a little peppier when guys are looking forward to a game,” Massey said. “We need to be excited. Northwest has a very good football team.”
A win would secure a share of the SPC title for the Wonders.
Brown can drop one non-conference game (the loss to South), so it still can enter the 3AA playoffs seeded as a 10-0 team. That would mean a lot of home games at Memorial Stadium.
Ronnie Gallagher, Mike London, Bret Strelow and Brian Pitts contributed to the notebook.