UCW Football Notes

Cuthbertson offense settling in

Cuthbertson won its first game in three tries last week when it downed Central Academy of Technology & Arts, 28-7. The win was highlighted by freshman quarterback Austin Kendall, who completed 13 of 14 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Kendall took over the starting role from his brother, Ryan, during a loss to Mint Hill Rocky River on Sept. 7. Cavs coach Mike Roark said Austin spent the summer taking snaps at Cuthbertson practices while his brother recovered from a broken hand suffered during the lacrosse season. That helped create a good comfort level, both for the freshman and the coaching staff.
Roark added that the switch had less to do with Austin’s ability at quarterback than Ryan’s explosive athleticism.
“We kind of felt that if Austin was ready, that would allow us to put Ryan at a multitude of other positions that makes us better as an offensive football team,” said Roark.
After a shaky start against Rocky River, the moves are starting to pay off, as Ryan caught a touchdown and added a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown against CATA last week. He also had 218 kick return yards on four tries and an interception.
“We feel like having those two kids on the field at the same time makes us a better football team,” Roark said.
Roark said the team also should begin to benefit from the return of several injured players, including cornerback Ryan Torzsa (ankle) and tight end/defensive end Jeff Swan (shoulder).

Rushing returns to Cardinals’ backfield
The Union Academy football team received a big boost last week from the return of senior running back Rasheed Rushing, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2’s loss to Arden Christ School.
Rushing carried the ball 27 times for 304 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-9 win over West Stanly, which was much more than his father and coach, Robert, was expecting.
“He wasn’t supposed to be going but a couple of plays here and there,” Robert Rushing said. “We were just trying to test it. We noticed the more he stayed out there, the better he looked, so we were like, ‘Let’s roll with it.’”
The Cardinals went 0-2 without Rushing but received some stellar performances from his teammates, especially Antonio James, who ran for 158 yards and a touchdown in a 41-34 loss to Kernersville Bishop McGuinness on Aug. 31. In the same game, quarterback Aaron Mack completed 10 of his 16 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. This week the Cardinals host Monroe. At the same point last year, Union Academy was 4-0 but lost to the Redhawks, 60-24, in the first of four consecutive losses.
“Last year left a bad taste in our mouths,” Robert Rushing said. “They really want to go out and get at those guys.”

Forest Hills making the pieces fit
The Forest Hills football team navigated a tough non-conference schedule to a 2-2 record this year and improved to 3-2 after last week’s 51-0 win over West Stanly to open Rocky River 1A/2A conference play.
Coach John Lowery said his club has benefitted from some shuffling on the roster. He said the offensive linemen have settled into their roles, but the biggest changes were made on defense. Tyler White has moved to safety and has done well, while Phillip Coffey has moved from linebacker to defensive line, and Chase Ruppe has established himself at linebacker.
“We’re settling in and, knock on wood, if we can avoid injuries and stuff like that, I think the kids are starting to gel pretty well on defense,” said Lowery.

Twele helps lead Weddington to another win
While coach Tim Carson said the Weddington football team’s off-week came at a good time to allow players to heal for the start of conference play next week, he added that he was very pleased with the play of backup quarterback Craig Twele in last week’s win over Charlotte Olympic. The first-time starter threw for two touchdowns in the victory (to receivers Cole Bryant and Zach Goins).
“He came in and did a good job playing and competing,” said Carson. “That’s what I expected him to do because he’s a competitor.”
The performance perfectly highlighted why the competition for the Warriors’ starting job was so hotly contested between Twele and eventual winner Jeff Welch, who missed last week with a concussion.
“People asked me this summer who the starter would be, and I honestly didn’t know,” Carson said. “It was a good battle between the two.”

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