High School Sports

September 1, 2014

Prep notebook: Middle Creek back to work despite 2-0 start

Middle Creek fell behind by two touchdowns on the road Friday night but stormed back to take an impressive 35-21 over Fayetteville E.E. Smith.

Middle Creek fell behind by two touchdowns on the road Friday night but stormed back to take an impressive 35-21 win against Fayetteville E.E. Smith.

Quarterback Brant Grisel passed for 153 yards and tailback Isaiah Perry ran for 173 yards, but coach Mike Castellano wasn’t pleased with some things. He’s happy that the club is 2-0, but sees a lot of work that needs to be done.

“We have a Division I quarterback and a Division I running back, but for three quarters we were outcoached and outplayed by E.E. Smith,” Castellano said. “In the first, second and fourth quarters, they did a better job than we did.

“That’s on me. We are going to work at getting better.”

Reserve comes through: Backup quarterback Jacob Fowler came in for injured starter Ti Pinnix late in the fourth quarter last week to lead Pittsboro Northwood on a game-winning drive in a 14-8 win against Southern Lee.

Northwood had romped in a season-opening 65-0 win against East Chapel Hill, but could get little going against Southern Lee.

Fowler completed three of five passes for 90 yards, most of the yardage coming on a 76-yard touchdown pass to Montel Good with less than two minutes left.

“It was great to see him make that throw,” said Pinnix, who left the game with a possible concussion. “I was excited for him.”

Coach Bill Hall said the play of four-year defensive tackle starter Elijah Washington was huge. Washington had 21 tackles, including 10 for loss, and three sacks. Washington also played more than half the game on offense.

Tough times: Two weeks into the season, no team in the PAC-Six has won a game. Every team in the league is 0-2 for an overall 0-12 mark and none of the conference teams are favorites this week.

Hillside, which has lost to New Bern and Southern Durham, is open this week. Durham Riverside plays at Orange; Greensboro Dudley is at Person; East Chapel Hill at Cedar Ridge; Northern Durham at home against Wakefield and Durham Jordan at Green Hope.

Orange getting better: Orange coach Pat Moser said the coaching staff wasn’t pleased with the Panthers’ offense in an 18-0 victory against Northern Durham on Friday, but he stressed the Panthers are now 2-0.

“We didn’t play very well on offense,” Moser said, “and the coaches were sitting in the locker room beating ourselves up. I had to remind everybody that we are 2-0 and we’re improving. We aren’t where we want to be, or where we’d thought we’d be at this point, but we haven’t lost.”

Moser said the offense is adjusting to a new offensive line.

“They are good players, big and strong, but they are still learning,” Moser said. “Defensively, we played pretty well at times against Northern. Our offense put our defense in some pretty tough places, but the defense responded.”

Tay Jones, one of the Warriors’ leading rushers in 2013, is expected to play for the first time this season on Friday against Durham Riverside.

Moser said the Northern defense gave his club some problems. “Northern’s line is pretty tough,” he said. “They rushed up and put a lot of pressure on us. They had people in the right positions. They are getting better.”

Lots of positives: East Wake coach John Poulnott saw a lot of positives in the Warriors’ 27-18 loss to Millbrook last week.

“Despite the turnovers, we played a great game against one of the top teams in the state,” Poulnott said. “If our defense continues to improve the next few weeks we should be in a great position to win every week.”

The Warriors held Wake Forest without a touchdown in the first half.

Ending a streak: Western Harnett broke a 10-year losing streak to Harnett Central with its 32-21 victory on Friday night.

“I’m very proud of our players and our coaches,” said Western coach Larry Brock. “I am happy for these seniors to be able to take this memory with them.”

Panthers learning: North Johnston coach Ashley Ennis, a veteran in his first year at North Johnston, said his club is making progress despite its 47-0 loss to Bunn last week.

“We’re not as quick as we need to be,” Ennis said. “And that is something we need to work on.”

He said the Panthers did some good things, but made too many mistakes.

“We went right down the field on the opening drive, made a couple of mistakes, and then we fell apart. But these guys are young, learning a new offense and system. We will get better,” he said.

Still improving: First-year head coach Hunter Jenks of South Johnston said his club needs to continue working on basic fundamentals, especially on defense. West Johnston handled the Trojans 40-20.

“West Johnston executed their game plan offensively very well,” Jenks said.”We have to work on improving the basic fundamentals defensively. I feel like our young players on offense are progressing well.”

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