Jjshaun Pinkston jogged onto the field to play tailback for Mooresville High School in his first varsity game four years ago because the regular starter was injured. At the time, Pinkston, then 14, was barely ready to start in his first junior varsity game.
“We really threw him into the fire his first game, his freshman season,” Mooresville football coach Barclay Marsh said.
“It was a little unfair to put him in that situation. But at the time, he was our best option. We really didn't have anyone else.”
Four years later, things have changed completely. Now, a senior all-conference running back, Pinkston is on the verge of having one of the best seasons in school history.
He has rushed for 873 yards and 14 touchdowns in only four games.
Pinkston, who has three 200-yard-plus performances this year, was held under the 200-yard mark only when he led the Blue Devils to a 23-21 upset win over A.L. Brown, rushing for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
“(Jjshaun) is the hardest-working player on our team and probably also the most popular with his teammates,” Marsh said.
“I think all (the kids) looking up to him and try to play as hard as he plays.”
While Pinkston garners most of the headlines, he is quick to point out how much help he has in doing what he does on Friday night.
“My offensive line is playing great this year,” he said.
“A lot of us have been together most of the time we've been here (at Mooresville). I think things are really coming together at the right time.”
Three senior offensive linemen, Jordan Marsh (Barclay Marsh's son), Jordan Champion and Taylor Henley, have started along with Pinkston since their sophomore years.
Meanwhile, senior John Bergener and junior Anthony Hill are first-year starters with the veteran group. Senior quarterback Nathan Abraham also has started the past two seasons.
“You don't hear a lot about our offensive line,” said Marsh, who starts nine seniors on his offensive unit this year. “But as good as Pinkston is, this group (offensive line) is also probably as good as we've had here (at Mooresville).”
Pinkston, who rushed for 1,600 yards in 2007, is on pace to rush for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns this year. But he isn't taking anything for granted.
“Every team is going to expect me to get the ball most of the time,” said Pinkston, who is being recruited by Appalachian State and Western Carolina.
“So I have to be ready for every play (as it comes), because they're going to be ready for me.”
The Mooresville soccer team (10-0-2) remains the only team in the North Piedmont without a loss this season as the Blue Devils shut out West Iredell (5-0).
Senior Carson Smith, who also is the kicker on the football team, leads Mooresville, No .4 in the state (3A), in scoring.
After losing to Mooresville two weeks ago – for the first time in 2 1/2 years – the Lake Norman boys' soccer team has responded strong.
The Wildcats (7-1), No. 5 in the state (3A) have outscored their last three opponents 27-3. Junior forward Parker Cromie has led the way with 12 goals and five assists (this year).
South Iredell (8-1) moved up to No. 12 in the state (2A) with a 3-2 win over East Lincoln last week. The Vikings also beat Lincolnton 5-1 on Tuesday.
East Lincoln (8-1) is right behind South Iredell at No. 13 in the state.
The Lake Norman tennis team continued its perfect march through the 2008 season, beating East Rowan 6-3 on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (11-0, 6-0 in the North Piedmont) beat Mooresville (6-2, 3-1) last week to put themselves in the driver's seat to winning an NPC title.
Three individual players, including No. 1 Kathryn Talbert, No. 2 Shruthi Rajan and No. 3 Hayley Hammond, are still unbeaten on the season in singles.
Meanwhile, the doubles team of Talbert and Hammond is unbeaten this year. The doubles duo of Rajan and Britta Huibers lost for the first time against East Rowan.