High school football: big present and big future for North’s Alford – Salisbury Post

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By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SPENCER – Not many people know, but the best one-game statistical performance ever for a Rowan County High School quarterback came six years ago.

It was West Rowan’s Kacey Otto, who hit a plateau – 500 total attack yards – that had never been seriously challenged.

It was a playoff game with overtime, so Otto was there from start to finish.

He was playing for a good team in 2015. West (10-4) had big blockers and some quick guys were passing passes. Otto was competing on that special night against an opponent motivated enough and good enough to hold onto the Falcons, but not strong enough to contain Otto. In other words, a perfect storm for statistics.

When the smoke cleared, West had edged Carson 28-27. Otto, who counted for the West’s four touchdowns, had 337 passing yards and 167 rushing yards. That’s 504 yards of offense.

Kacey Otto

Otto had only one other game in his high school career in which he exceeded 300 yards of attack – 300-yard games were somewhat rare in the county – so the 504-yard game was a real outlier.

It’s relevant to talk about Otto and his freakish playing, as two young quarterbacks have hit the stage this year in Rowan County and may have a “500” in their future.

Salisbury sophomore Mike Geter, in his first year as a starting quarterback, has yet to play full games because the talented Hornets have roasted people, but he has the speed and the arm to do extraordinary things. Geter has only had one 200-yard passing play so far, but he has come against Thomasville, the best opponent Salisbury has seen, and it happened on a night he only threw that six assists. Yes, six.

Otto threw 26 assists in his decisive game against Carson. What if Geter threw 26 times when the Hornets faced someone who could push them?

Salisbury quarterback Mike Geter. JON C LAKEY / FOR THE SALISBURY POST. 9/3/21, Salisbury, North Carolina.

Geter also has a 100 yard running game, and if you want to put in 500 you have to be a serious double threat guy. Geter is as double as it gets.

North Rowan’s freshman Jeremiah Alford also makes believers. In the 33-32 double overtime victory over East Davidson last week, Alford combined 202 passing yards with 113 rushing yards. It’s a revealing mix and an indicator of what could happen to us.

It was only his sixth college game, so he will be much better. He also has special guys around him – sophomore Jae’mias Morrow (657 yards rushing) and junior Amari McArthur (29 catches, 748 yards receiving). There might be a night he flaunts crazy numbers.

“I said in the preseason that I didn’t know who our quarterback would be, but that was the language of the coaches,” North head coach Nygel Pearson said with a laugh. “We had another freshman quarterback (Will Klingler) who had a good preseason, but we pretty much knew after our first practice that Jeremiah was the guy. We were going to put the ball in his hands.

The North did. Alford (5ft 8in, 180lb) delivered. The Cavaliers have been involved in many exciting games, including two winning overtime thrillers. He threw for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns, which is exceptional, but it’s his rushing yards that are improving quickly. He had negative rushing yards in Week 2 against North Stanly, but he’s gone over 100 rushing yards in each of the past two weeks. He’s rushed for nine touchdowns this season, including three last week.

“Great kid, and I couldn’t ask for a better situation than having a freshman quarterback like this,” Pearson said. “He’s going to do his best to do whatever you ask him to do.” He understands that he’s blessed to have the guys we have around him. At the same time, they know they are blessed because he can give them the ball.

Alford is the son of Brian Alford, North star in the late 1990s. He has been well educated as an athlete, student and leader.

For a freshman, he is exceptionally mature.

“I’ve been playing quarterback since I was 6,” said Alford. “The best thing about playing as a quarterback is that you have a great chance to bond with all of your teammates. I think I have already grown a lot this season. I now know that if I am in trouble on the pitch, I have teammates I can count on.

Alford grew up dominating the football fields, from elementary school to Knox Middle School.

He had the arm, but he didn’t have to use it often. Above all, he ran.

“The biggest difference between middle school and high school is the number of successes,” Alford said. “In college you could throw it on the third and down, but in high school the teams will throw it on the first and the second down.”

Pearson has seen him make great strides in the past month. He learned to manage the size and speed of college defenses.

“In college, he could just hit the sideline and disappear,” Pearson said. “He must have learned that in high school you’re not going to take every game to the end. But every week he gets better at learning to take what the defense gives him, to take what is there, even if it’s only 3 or 4 yards. He became more patient. He is now comfortable as a runner and he will be able to beat some people with his feet as well as with his arm.

Alford took a few hits in the opening games, but those are harder lessons to learn.

“I have become wiser about when to use my legs and I don’t take that many big hits now,” he said.

Last week’s game with East Davidson turned out to be a grinder. East Davidson played ball control and kept the ball clear of North’s attack.

Pearson said East Davidson “sucked the life out of the ball.”

“But we always held on and got the win,” he said. “And there are no bad victories on the road.”

Alford put North (4-2) on the board with his first touchdown. His touchdown connection to McArthur, the eighth touchdown of the season for the 6-foot-3 gap, energized their teammates. Alford’s second rushing touchdown, with just 33 seconds left in the half, helped the Cavaliers get revenge for the first time at 20.

It was still 20-20 before overtime.

Alford’s third touchdown came in second overtime.

“It was just a game where the pocket collapsed and I had to take off,” Alford said. “Then I saw a race track open up. “

Daniel Montes-Medrano kicked PAT after Alford’s touchdown. This point turned out to be decisive.

With four touchdowns and assists touching Amir Alexander and Kemon O’Kelly, as well as McArthur, the young QB already has a good grasp of the team concept.

It was not long before he spread the credit around him.

“We don’t win without Daniel taking that kick and we don’t win without our defense making some amazing saves in the second half and overtime,” said Alford.


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