Excessive Faculty Soccer: The offensive line got here collectively for Hornets taking part in for the nationwide championship tonight – Salisbury Submit
Posted by Mike London
SALISBURY – Monday was wet enough for the Salisbury soccer team to be forced into the house, but the Hornets were happily running sprints and exercises at the First Baptist Church’s Family Ministry Center, the old YMCA gym.
There was a lot to celebrate.
On Friday there was the regional 24:21 final win against North Davidson as well as today’s duel with the undefeated St. Pauls in Raleigh, a matchup at 7 p.m. that will decide the 2AA state championship.
Nobody felt better than the offensive linemen when it came to going back to some other state championship scrap.
That 0-line group, which includes tackles Tkaii Gaither and Jacquez Peele, guards Sam Evans and Jacoby Heggins, and center Bryan Rosado, opened holes for 354 rushing yards against a stingy defense on Friday. The Hornets (8-2) produced three 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time this season, with JyMikaah Wells beating the 100 plateau for the ninth time, newcomer Mike Geter for the second and QB Vance Honeycutt for the ninth fourth time.
“We know we have some good people to run the ball,” said Salisbury head coach Brian Hinson. “But these guys up front had a lot to do with all the roaring courtyards.”
Salisbury have accumulated at least 300 rushing yards in four of their last five games, with only Burns (a 10-7 win) able to slow the Hornets’ ground play.
Hinson was hired as the head coach of Salisbury in 2017. He was previously the offensive coach at Catawba. Taylor Fender, one of the Catawba linemen at all of Hinson’s conferences, was a keen undergraduate athlete who graduated from Catawba with two majors in accounting and information systems. Fender is part of the local business community now, but his part-time passion is coaching Salisbury’s offensive line. It was Hinson’s first job. He has not regretted it.
The offensive line that key people completed was seen as a potential weak link for the Hornets for the 2021 season.
“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks,” said Fender. “We moved people. They always try to find the best combination. “
There were some initial hits for the rebuilt O-Line against West Rowan on an adrenaline-pumping opening night (270 rushing yards), but the Hornets didn’t have an overwhelming success on the ground for the next three weeks. By March they had reached a modest 141 rushing yards in the ugly loss to Oak Grove and 131 yards in the loss to North Davidson.
“There was a lot of O-Line mix-ups in the two losses,” said Evans, one of the veterans who played Shelby in the 2019 State Championship game. “But it wasn’t anything we couldn’t overcome. The best way to get over the mistakes was to keep working. “
The hornets searched for the correct five and made both staff and position switches.
“Jacoby Heggins missed out with COVID some time earlier and it helped when we got it back,” Evans said. “It helped when Bryan Rosado moved from the station to the center. But I think the biggest part of our improvement was the voice of Tkaii Gaither. That’s the voice I always hear out there, always encouraging us, always talking and always reminding us to get off the ball. “
Evans was home schooled, so he had to make a lot of adjustments to high school football.
“The CCC is a little different from the league Sam played in,” Hinson said with a chuckle. “But he’s come a long way. He got better. He’s very solid. He comes from a soccer family. (Former North Rowan and Catawba quarterback) Bobby Myers is his uncle. “
Wells has 212 carry for 1,328 yards, 6.3 yards per carry. He was the workhorse. He had more than 20 carrier bags seven times.
Honeycutt is occasionally fired, but he still has 779 net rushing yards on 124 carry, also 6.3 yards per carry.
Geter has become a major ball-carrying factor in the playoffs. He had 107 rushing yards on 14 runs on Friday. It’s electrifying pace and could be a big part of the state championship schedule.
Wells and Honeycutt each have 15 roaring TDs, a statistic that shows how much the offensive line has come together over the course of the season.
“We grew as a unit, as a brotherhood,” said Evans.
Its a lot to do. St. Pauls will provide a tough line of defense. Like Burns, St. Pauls has unusually athletic and active defense goals.
The hornets are unlikely to come up with large numbers tonight, but they believe they can do enough.
“We have people who run the ball and make our offensive line look good,” said Fender. “Hopefully there will be times when our O-line makes our backs look good too.”