High School Sports

High School Football Preview: Rowan County

Riding with recruits: Drake Maye of Myers Park High

Myers Park High's Drake Maye, the brother of UNC All-American Luke Maye, recently got a football offer from Alabama. He is also a Division I basketball recruit. Recorded on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
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Myers Park High's Drake Maye, the brother of UNC All-American Luke Maye, recently got a football offer from Alabama. He is also a Division I basketball recruit. Recorded on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Preseason All Rowan County team

Offense

QB – Logan Forbis, East Rowan, 5-10, 170, Sr.

RB – Malcolm Wilson (Jr.), North Rowan, 5-10, 185, Sr.

RB – Sammy Pinckney, East Rowan, 5-8, 175, Jr.

WR – Jalen Houston, West Rowan, 5-8, 160, Sr.

WR – Denerio Robinson, North Rowan, 6-5, 190, Sr.

OL – Chad van der Poel, Salisbury, 5-11, 240, Sr.

OL – Justin Hughes, North Rowan, 6-3, 315, Sr.

OL – Johnny Hassard, West Rowan, 6-5, 285, Sr.

OL – Robert Barringer, Carson, 5-10, 215, Sr.

OL – Dylan Goodnight, East Rowan, 6-2, 290, Sr.

Specialists

ATH – Mike McLean, South Rowan, 5-9, 175, Jr.

SPEC – Hunter Courtney, Carson, 5-8, 175, Sr.

K/P – Federico Cruz, West Rowan, 5-8, 155, Sr.

Defense

DL – Zeek Biggers, West Rowan, 6-5, 310, Sr.

DL – Remington Steele, South Rowan, 6-1, 260, Sr.

DL – Zae Clay, Salisbury, 5-11, 200, Jr.

LB – Andrew Furr, South Rowan, 6-2, 185, Sr.

LB – Baiden Suddarth, West Rowan, 6-1, 195, Sr.

LB – Jordan Goodine, North Rowan, 6-0, 225, Sr.

LB – Jabril Norman, Salisbury, 6-0, 190, Sr.

DB – Reggie Everheart, West Rowan, 5-10, 180, Sr.

DB – Zay Davis, North Rowan, 5-9, 180, Jr.

DB – Jaharion Graham, North Rowan, 5-9, 180, Jr.

DB – T.K. Lark, West Rowan, 6-0, 175, Sr.

Rowan County Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Malcolm Wilson (Jr.), North Rowan, RB, Sr.

Rowan County Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Baiden Suddarth, West Rowan, LB, Sr.

Rowan County Preseason Coach of the Year: Ben Hampton, North Rowan.

Rowan County team previews

CARSON

Head Coach: Daniel Crosby (1st year as Carson head coach; former Central Cabarrus and Cox Mill assistant).

2018 Record: 3-8 (1-4 in the North Piedmont conference (NPC)).

2019 Conference: NPC/3A.

Returning Starters: 8 (3 offense; 5 defense).

Returning Letterman: 18

Key Returning Starters: Hunter Courtney, Sr., RB (5-8, 175); Robert Barringer, Sr., OL (5-10, 215); C.P. Pyle, Jr., Slot/DB (5-7, 165); Juan Espanoza, Sr., DB (5-10, 170); Mikhail Gomez, Sr., C (5-9, 160); Jake Nichols, Sr., LB (5-9, 185); Chase Drinkard, Sr., DL (5-7, 225).

Key Newcomers: Alex London, Jr., QB (5-11, 190); Javon Smith, Jr., RB (6-0, 190); Michael Altman, Jr., WR (6-3, 180).

Outlook: Carson is 10-24 in the last three years, including back-to-back 3-8 campaigns in 2017 and 2018. To change that, the Cougars will need senior RB Hunter Courtney, junior slot C.P. Pyle and an experienced offensive line -- with seniors Robert Barringer and Mikhail Gomez -- to lead a young team.

EAST ROWAN

Head Coach: John Fitz (3rd Year as East Rowan head coach; 19-20 overall).

2018 Record: 6-6 (3-2 in the North Piedmont conference (NPC)).

2019 Conference: NPC/3A.

Returning Starters: 14 (8 offense; 6 defense).

Returning Letterman: 21

Key Returning Starters: Logan Forbis, Sr., QB (5-10, 170); Sammy Pinckney, Jr., RB (5-8, 175); Isa’ah Cauthen, Sr., LB (5-10, 180); Cooper Wright, Sr., WR (6-1, 175); Tahj Young, Jr., CB (5-8, 170).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: After enduring three straight losing seasons -- with just 10 wins combined -- East Rowan was 6-6 last year. The Mustangs will look to build on that momentum in 2019 with 14 starters returning. Senior QB Logan Forbis, junior RB Sammy Pinckney will play behind an experienced offensive line. The Mustangs have the experience to return to the playoffs for a second straight season.

NORTH ROWAN

Head Coach: Ben Hampton (5th year as North Rowan head coach; 33-17 at North Rowan).

2018 Record: 9-3 (6-1 in the Yadkin Valley 1A Conference).

2019 Conference: Yadkin Valley 1A Conference/1AA.

Returning Starters: 9 (4 offense; 5 defense).

Returning Letterman: 32

Key Returning Starters: Malcolm Wilson (Jr.), Sr., RB (5-10, 185); Denerio Robinson, Sr., WR (6-5, 190); Jordan Goodine, Sr., LB (6-0, 225); Zay Davis, Jr., SS (5-9, 180); Jaharion Graham, Jr., FS (5-9, 180).

Key Newcomers: Kyrie Simms, So., QB (5-10, 175); James Gladden, Jr., WR (5-9, 165); Tyshon Sifford, Jr., WR (5-10, 170); Amari McArthur, Fr., WR (6-2, 185).

Outlook: The Cavaliers have been consistent in the last three season, when they have 28 wins. This year, North Rowan has a younger team, but will give senior RB Malcolm Wilson, Jr. (1,723 yards rushing 25 touchdowns last year) plenty of touches and feature senior WR Denerio Robinson, Jr. (five touchdown catches last year) in the passing game. North returns five starters on defense. Last seasn, it allowed only eight points per game last season. The Cavaliers’ defense is led by senior LB Jordan Goodine (109 tackles), junior SS Zay Davis (86 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions) and junior FS Jaharion Graham (50 tackles, two interceptions).

SALISBURY

Head Coach: Brian Hinson (3rd year as Salisbury head coach; 14-9 at Salisbury; 31-28 overall).

2018 Record: 7-5 (7-2 in the Central Carolinas’ Conference).

2019 Conference: Central Carolinas’ Conference/2AA.

Returning Starters: 15 (6 offense; 9 defense).

Returning Letterman: 24

Key Returning Starters: Jabril Norman, Sr., LB (6-0, 190); Jaden Hiligh, Sr., LB/TE (5-11, 215); Blaine Shellhorn, Sr., LB (6-1, 205); Jalon Walker, So., LB (6-1, 190); Mike McLean, Jr., RB (5-9, 175); Lawon Blackwell, Sr., WR/DB (6-2, 170); Chad Van der Poel, Sr., OL (5-11, 240).

Key Newcomers: Vance Honeycutt, Jr., QB (6-1, 175); Marcus Cook, So., WR/DB (5-9, 160); Savion Freeman, So., LB/RB (6-0, 175).

Outlook: Salisbury suffered through four straight losing seasons from 2013-2016, before winning seven games in each of the past two years. This year with 15 starters back the Hornets should stay in the upper echelon of the Central Carolinas’ conference. The Hornets’ defense should be the team’s strength with nine starters back, headlined by senior LB Jabril Norman.

SOUTH ROWAN

Head Coach: Daniel Yow (5th year as South Rowan head coach/8-36 overall).

2018 Record: 3-8 (3-6 in the Central Carolinas’ Conference).

2019 Conference: Central Carolinas’ Conference/2A.

Returning Starters: 13

Returning Letterman: 25

Key Returning Starters: Drew Huffman, Sr., QB (6-0, 180); Remington Steele, Sr., DL (6-1, 260); Austin Barnes, Sr., DE (6-3, 240); Austin Peacock, Sr., WR (6-2, 175); Andrew Furr, Sr., OLB (6-2, 185); Kyle Jochno, Jr., LB (6-0, 205); Jackson Deal, Jr., WR/P (6-1, 185).

Key Newcomers: Luke Hiskey, Jr., OLB (5-10, 165); Gabe Pozyck, So., S (6-2, 180); Kameron Wallace, So., LB (5-10, 210); Nathan Chrismon, So., QB/Slot (5-8, 175);

Outlook: South Rowan has struggled in last decade going 25-84, with their last winning record coming in 2009. However, the Raiders return 13 starters this season with senior QB Drew Huffman back to lead the triple option attack. On defense, South returns playmakers in DL Remington Steele and LB Andrew Furr.

WEST ROWAN

Head Coach: Joe Nixon (5th year as West Rowan head coach; 63-28 at West Rowan).

2018 Record: 6-6 (3-2 in the North Piedmont Conference (NPC)).

2019 Conference: NPC/3A.

Returning Starters: 16 (9 offense; 7 defense).

Returning Letterman: 27

Key Returning Starters: Jalen Houston, Sr., RB/WR (5-8, 160); Zeek Biggers, Jr., OL/DL (6-5, 310); Johnny Hassard, Sr., OL (6-5, 285); Baiden Suddarth, Sr., LB (6-1, 195); Reggie Everheart, Sr., DB (5-10, 180); Quay Weeks, Sr., WR (5-6, 155); Federico Cruz, Sr., K (5-8, 155); Levontae Jacobs, Sr., DL (6-3, 250); T.K. Lark, Sr., DB (6-0, 175)

Key Newcomers: Mike Gosalves, Jr., RB (6-0, 222); Chaz McCombs, Sr., DL (6-5, 225); Josh Noble, Sr., OL/DL (6-4, 250).

Outlook: West Rowan averaged 12 wins per season for a decade (2007-16), but is 12-12 in the last two years. But with 16 starters back, including NPC offensive player of the year Jalen Houston (1,300 total yards, 17 touchdowns last year), the Falcons should be ready to make a jump. On defense, senior LB Baiden Suddarth (152 tackles, four sacks), senior DBs Reggie Everheart (83 tackles, four intercpetions) and T.K. Lark (82 tackles) hope for big seasons.

Rowan County Conference Predictions

Central Carolinas’ Conference

  1. North Davidson; 2. Ledford; 3. Salisbury; 4. Thomasville; 5. Oak Grove; 6. South Rowan; 7. Lexington; 8. East Davidson; 9. West Davidson; 10. Central Davidson.

South Piedmont Conference

  1. Statesville; 2. South Iredell; 3. West Rowan; 4. East Rowan; 5. North Iredell; 6. Carson.

Yadkin Valley 1A Conference

  1. North Rowan; 2. South Stanly; 3. North Stanly; 4. Albemarle; 5. Chatham Central; 6. South Davidson; 7. North Moore.

--JAY EDWARDS

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