By Mike London
SALISBURY – Salisbury second-year quarterback Mike Geter is Rowan County’s offensive player of the year.
The competition for the honor was even more intense and tougher than usual, but Geter scored 45 touchdowns in a 12-game season. The southpaw was a dominant offensive player on a team that was by far the best in the county.
In the final MaxPreps rankings for the state, Salisbury was 38th; West Rowan finished 100th and North Rowan 156th. Carson (212), East Rowan (326) and South Rowan (328) finished the list.
“I think at the start of this season people knew who Mike Geter was, but they didn’t really know him,” said Salisbury head coach Brian Hinson. “They knew him as a guy who made big plays in the freshman rushing, receiving and returning, but they didn’t know him as a quarterback. Now they know him as a quarterback.
No one questioned Geter’s racing skills. At 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, he’s quick and elusive. He averaged 10 yards per touch in his first year.
But his arm surprised people. He can throw it from a distance and with precision. Equally important, he knew when to throw it and where to throw it.
Eight Outstanding Athletes – Geter and JyMikaah Wells of Salisbury; North Rowan’s Jae’mias Morrow, Jeremiah Alford and Amari McArthur, and West Rowan’s Noah Loeblein, Peter Williams-Simpson and Akin Robinson – pitched numbers that would have been good enough to be County Offensive Player of the Year. Rowan for many seasons.
There was also Carson’s Hunter Burris, who set a rushing record for Carson’s quarterbacks, and giant full-back Carter Dowd, who set Carson’s unofficial records for stacking moves and top yards. longer after contact. And then there was Marcus Cook of Salisbury, who set several program reception records for the Hornets.
What made all of these awesome stats really exciting was that it was a shorter season than we’ve grown used to.
For starters, the schedules have been reduced from 11 to 10 games.
Then the scheduled matches of West Rowan-Salisbury, East Rowan-North Rowan and Carson-Mount Pleasant could not be played. That meant regular nine-game seasons. South Rowan were the only team in the county capable of tackling the 10-game schedule they had come to expect.
Salisbury (11-1) and North (8-4) managed to play a dozen times reaching the third round of the playoffs. West (7-4) won an exciting game in the first round and played 11. Carson (4-6) made a comeback in the playoffs and was able to play 10.
West was an offensive machine. No doubt about it.
Robinson rushed 125 times for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns. You don’t have to be a math expert to realize he rushed almost 10 yards per run.
Williams-Simpson had 48 catches for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns. These 1,000-yard receiving seasons are quite rare. There had only been 13 in Rowan County’s history before 2021.
Loeblein has had a monster air season – 119 of 221 for 2,334 yards and 25 touchdowns. There have been a few interceptions along the way, but it’s still one of the 10 greatest seasons to pass in county history. It included a record-breaking six TD night in the county. Loeblein’s net rushing yards were barely positive, but he scored six rushing touchdowns and he even caught a touchdown pass.
North Rowan unleashed a productive trio of talented guys.
Morrow had the most rushing yards in the county with 166 carries for 1,301 yards and 21 touchdowns.
McArthur established academic scores for receiving yards and TD catches. He had 54 catches for 1,191 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Freshman QB Alford has had an all-time season in the top 10 in the county in total attacking yards. He ran for 899 yards and pitched for 1,885, while counting 38 touchdowns. The youngster’s 2,784 total yards of attack actually edged out Northern legend Mario Sturdivant’s best season (1999).
Workhorse Wells crushed people, rushing 139 times for 1,209 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Hornets.
But then there was Geter. His season was to be among the best in Rowan County history.
Not in terms of distance, as Salisbury’s offense has conceded multiple times on short fields created by their defense and special teams. The Hornets haven’t had to run 80 yards very often.
Geter’s distance stats were also deflated by a season filled with kicks. Salisbury averaged 53 points and rarely gave up anything in the regular season, so games were usually over at halftime, with a clock ready to start. It’s not like Geter needs to throw him in the second half.
Geter ran for 663 yards and pitched for 1,517 yards.
But it was his touchdown numbers that caused a stir.
His 91 runs produced 28 trips into the end zone, meaning he’s scored one touchdown on 31% of his rushing attempts. Even with Morrow and Wells consistently finding the end zone, Geter roamed the county on rushing touchdowns.
Geter only attempted 115 passes, about half that of Loeblein and Alford, but 17 had touchdowns, and his interception rate was extremely low. His quarterback rating was through the roof.
“We were asking Mike to replace a very good quarterback (Vance Honeycutt), who led us to a state championship,” said Salisbury quarterback coach Carson Herndon. “We knew Mike was talented, but there was no way to anticipate that he would be as good as he turned out. He was really, really good. We didn’t miss a thing.
When Salisbury headed to Polk County, a perennial playoff team, on opening night everyone knew the Hornets defense would be a handful and everyone knew Wells would get his rushing yards, even behind a reconstructed offensive line. But Geter turned out to be the story. He was 6-for-7 for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for three touchdowns.
Geter was on his way. He never really looked back.
“We thought he could do the job as a quarterback, but we honestly thought he would have more of a learning curve than there was,” Hinson said. “His learning curve was pretty tiny.”
Geter quickly understood the nuances of the quarterback. Besides the quick feet and strong arm, it turned out to be a quick study when it comes to the mental part of the game.
“He’s a kid to a rep,” Herndon said. “Tell him what you want him to do, and he goes over there and does it.” For a coach, this is huge.
Salisbury’s two biggest challenges in the regular season included Geter’s knockout performances against Thomasville and North Rowan.
The Thomasville game was close for a while, and Geter responded with 228 passing yards and two touchdowns, plus three rushing touchdowns.
Against North Rowan, in one game, Salisbury finally broke and won 60-0, he had four rushing touchdowns and had 6 assists in 8 for 102 yards and one score.
Geter was voted Central Carolina Conference Offensive Player of the Year by league coaches.
“His athletic ability speaks for itself and on top of that he’s a great competitor,” Hinson said.
Geter is calm by nature, but he has developed into a capable leader on the offense.
“He’s kind of a calming influence on everyone around him,” Herndon said. ” It is good. The scary thing is that it will only get better.
Geter is currently one of the stars of the Salisbury basketball team. Herndon hopes to recruit him to join the baseball team in the spring.
Rowan County Offensive Player of the Year
1968 – Derrick Anderson RB, Boyden
1969 – Johnny Yarbrough WR, East
1970 – Johnny Yarbrough WR, East
1971 – Johnny Stratton QB, Salisbury; Kenny Sifford RB, East
1972 – Johnny Stratton QB, Salisbury
1973 ‚- Jimmy Heggins RB, North
1974 – Randy Fowler RB, East
1975 – Mark Sturgis RB, North
1976 – Derry Steedley QB, East; Mark Sturgis RB, North
1977 – Greg Poole RB, South
1978 – Bobby Myers QB, North
1979 – Bobby Myers QB, North
1980 – Tommy Barnhardt QB, South
1981 – Michael Ramseur RB, South
1982 – Ernie Peace RB, West; Jeff Holshouser QB, North
1983 – Donald Gray WR, West
1984 – Bryan Overcash QB, South
1985 – Darryl Jackson RB, North
1986 – Darryl Jackson RB, North
1987 – Warren Alexander RB, Salisbury
1988 – Jeff Park RB, East
1989 – Jonathan Partee QB, Salisbury
1990 – Shannon Myers WR, North
1991 – Carvie Kepley QB, North
1992 – Carvie Kepley QB, North
1993 – Mitch Ellis QB, North
1994 – Mitch Ellis QB, North
1995 – Andre Turner RB, Salisbury
1996 – Craig Powers QB, North
1997 – Nick Heard WR, East
1998 – Mario Sturdivant QB, North
1999 – Mario Sturdivant QB, North
2000 – Alfonzo Miller QB, North
2001 – Alfonzo Miller QB, North
2002 – William Van Wieren OL, South
2003 – Joe Jackson RB, West
2004 – Bryan Aycoth QB, West
2005 – Wade Moore RB, West
2006 – Daniel Griffith QB, North
2007 – KP Parks RB, West
2008 – KP Parks RB, West
2009 – KP Parks RB, West
2010 – Shaun Warren RB, Carson; BJ Sherrill QB, West
2011 – Dinkin Miller RB, West
2012 – Justin Ruffin RB, Salisbury
2013 – JaReke Chambers RB, North
2014 – Samuel Wyrick QB, East
2015 – Kacey Otto QB, West
2016 – Kortez Weeks WR, West
2017 – Jaleel Webster RB, North
2018 – Malcolm Wilson RB, North
2019 – Malcolm Wilson RB, North; Jalen Houston, RB, West
2021SP – Sammy Pinckney RB, East; Vance Honeycutt, QB, Salisbury
2021 – Mike Geter QB, Salisbury