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September 15, 1999Salisbury Post; Rowan County, NC

Local News

Blount returns to Hornets

BY STEVE HANF
SALISBURY POST

           
Michael Blount, who transferred from Salisbury to North Rowan prior to the school year, decided to return to Salisbury earlier this week.

Blount has been a solid player for the Cavaliers. He’s started in the defensive secondary, has seen time at wide receiver and is the county’s top punter (12 punts, 38.2 average).

“Michael came to see me this weekend. He and his brother (Boo) were missing their girlfriends and their old buddies (at Salisbury),” North Rowan head coach Roger Secreast said.

“I want the kids to be happy and that (Salisbury) is where they were happy. I told Michael he needed to play football over there and I told coach (Raymond) Daugherty to see him and have him come out. No hard feelings.”

Blount did in fact come out for Salisbury football, running through his first practice with his old teammates Tuesday.

“We welcome him back to Salisbury. He’s a a good athlete, a good football player and I think he’ll help us,” Daugherty said. “He was treated the same way as any other transfer to Salisbury High School.”

Daugherty said the Hornets are looking at Blount at several positions but there is no timetable on the senior’s return. The Hornets, at 0-4, have seven games remaining on the 1999 schedule.

Sophomore quarterback Drew Davis didn’t have a big-yardage game as a passer in his second game as a varsity starter, completing 9 of 20 for 127 yards, but he showed potential with several clutch throws in the second half of East’s 31-28 loss to Central Cabarrus.

Davis is East’s only true quarterback after Raymondo Brady went out, probably for the season, with a knee injury in East’s win over Mount Pleasant on Sept. 3.

East trailed 12-6 at halftime, but Davis hit tight end Mark Misenheimer with a pass that went for a 45-yard gain. Misenheimer dived across the goal line, but was ruled down at the Central 1, setting up a touchdown by fullback Chris Faavesi. Hunter Kepley’s conversion put East up 13-12.

Davis had reason to be down after he had two straight passes intercepted by linebacker Erik Dalton, one of them setting up a touchdown that gave the Vikings a 31-21 lead.

However, the sophomore soon had the Mustangs on the scoreboard again, hitting wide receivers Nick Lefko (31 yards) and Brent Lambert (12 yards) to set up Lambert’s 5-yard TD catch with 2:28 to go.

When East’s Adam Trexler recovered Kepley’s onsides kick, East had the ball again at the Central 35. That possession ended quickly when Jeremy Alsop picked off a Davis pass.

East got the ball back at the Central 12 with just 42 seconds left. His first throw was incomplete, the second went to halfback-wide receiver Cal Hayes Jr., who scrambled and lost 11 yards, then a pass to Lambert in the end zone was broken up by Alsop.

The game ended with Kepley barely missing a 40-yard field goal that would have tied the score.

As for Davis’ effort, coach Jeff Safrit said, “He made a couple of decisions that may not have been the best, but he’s a sophomore. That’s going to come with time. We had a chance to win it; that’s all you can ask.”

Davis, who saw some action as a freshman, has completed 19 of 31 passes for 234 yards in three games.

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CAL, WOW! Cal Hayes Jr. is off to an amazing start in the sophomore’s second varsity season at East. His 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Central was spectacular. Hayes appeared to be stopped at his own 35, made a move to his right to break a couple of tackles, then was gone down the right sideline.

Later, Hayes’ 46-yard punt return set up East’s last touchdown.

“He’s an exceptional athlete,” said Safrit. “I’ve said it over and over: We probably haven’t even started to see everything he can do.”

Hayes was hit with leg cramps on East’s next-to-last play and wasn’t on the field for the last scrimmage play, taking away one of Davis’ passing options.

“That was their (Central’s) best thing that he wasn’t on the field when we needed to score,” said the East coach.

After opening the season with tough games against West Rowan, Albemarle and Concord, the Hornets were relieved to see a team with a similar record. But perhaps Salisbury was too relieved to see 0-3 South. The Raiders pulled away late for a 31-0 win.

“Most people thought we could come down here and run right through them since we had the same record,” Hornet Ken Drye said. “They’re better than most people thought they were. It really seems like we’ve taken a step back.”

The Hornets shouldn’t have to guard against overconfidence this week — undefeated 4A squad Davie County pays a visit Friday.

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no room to run: One of Salisbury’s biggest problems in the first half Friday against South was where the Hornets got the ball.

Daugherty’s offense started on the 10-yard line in its first drive and punted from the end zone, started its second drive from the 2 (after an interception) and punted from the end zone and had first-and-10 from the 3 after a fumble recovery on its fourth drive. That final drive was the only one in which the Hornets got more than one first down.

Getting Salisbury out of trouble on all of those occasions was punter Patrick May, who splits time with Tom Sexton’s soccer squad. May launched six punts for a 38.7-yard average.

Raiders head coach Rick Vanhoy empathized with Daugherty when he looked over and saw about 10 Hornets standing on the sideline in reserve Friday night. But he gladly took advantage of South’s superior depth in the Raiders’ 31-0 win.

“I went through the same thing last year, I think I walked in Raymond’s shoes,” Vanhoy said. “You’ve got a limited number of athletes, you’ve got to get them on the field as much as possible and it gets to be a long night for them.”

South ended its 1998 season with just 28 players left on the roster, so Vanhoy remembered those long fourth quarters in which his weary defenders were getting steam-rolled.

Running backs Ernie Wiggins and Keith Garrett especially enjoyed that last quarter, reeling off big runs as South tacked on two more touchdowns over the final 12 minutes.

“They started getting tired,” Wiggins said. “They have so many players going both ways and we platoon, so we’ve always got fresh legs. We just took it to them.”

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OFFENSIVE: The 31 points South put up against Kannapolis two weeks ago weren’t a fluke, as the Raider offense proved it packs some punch by scoring 31 more against Salisbury.

The last time South scored 30 or more points in back to back games was in 1997, with its only two wins of the season coming 39-28 against Northwest Cabarrus and 38-7 against South Stokes.

Two-way starter Ryan Craft had a terrific game for the Wonders Friday in their 63-13 rout of Sun Valley.

Craft caught a TD pass and also intercepted a pass.

The senior speedster is the younger brother of William Craft, who was the starting quarterback on the Wonders’ 1997 state 3A title team.

William Craft, incidentally, is now a walk-on QB for the East Carolina University team.

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ALIVE AND KICKING: Wonder coach Bruce Hardin was ecstatic over the improvement in the Wonders’ kicking game.

Extra points were an adventure in their first two contests, but soccer player Rush Rollins banged through nine straight PATs against Sun Valley.

The Wonders also got two great punt returns from Blair Hardin, who set up a TD with each return.

“Blair really worked hard on that area,” said coach Hardin. “He’s faster than last year, and his philosophy is not to let anything hit the ground and roll 20 yards on us.”

The Wonders are still concerned about their punting game, but they eliminated that problem area on Friday. Their offense was so effective, they didn’t have to punt a single time against the Spartans.

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PUTTING THE ‘D’ BACK IN WONDERS: After yielding 18 and 31 points in their first two outings, the Wonders played very well defensively against Sun Valley.

The Spartans scored just once against the Wonders’ first-team defense.

“Give us some time,” said Wonder Marcus Rivens. “This is going to be a very good defense.”

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NORTH IS NEXT: The Kannapolis-North Rowan game has become one of the area’s top rivalries. The green teams renew friendships next Friday at Memorial Stadium.

“We always look forward to that game,” said Rivens. “They’re a good team and they’re fun to play the way they throw the football. I know our defensive linemen are licking their chops, getting ready to chase (North QB) Mario (Sturdivant) around.”

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Ed Dupree and Mike London contributed to this notebook.

 

 

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