Hometown Lowdown: Salisbury
It’s almost exactly 100 miles west on I-85 from Chapel Hill to the city of Salisbury, NC. The county seat of Rowan County is the hometown of two Tar Heels: Romar Morris and Darien Rankin. The redshirt freshmen have been playing football together since fourth grade. This week, Romar and Darien introduce us to their hometown.
“The whole city just follows sports,” Morris says of the hometown support. “Salisbury is a great city. I love being a part of it.”
Where do you hang out after a Friday night football game?
Morris: “All eight schools in the county go up to Cookout. Everybody talks about what they did, and it’s a great time, win or lose. I get a big double burger, side of fries, chicken nuggets and a huge tea. In-season, out of season, it’s all the same thing.”
Rankin: “Normally we go to Cookout. I get a big double burger tray, side fries, nuggets and a huge tea.”
What’s a good place to eat that’s specific to Salisbury?
Rankin: “Have you been to Hap’s? I think you should take a trip to Hap’s. It’s downtown, and it’s pretty good. They have burgers and hot dogs.”
Who are the big rivals for Salisbury High School?
Morris: “West Rowan and North Rowan. West Rowan won three back to back to back state championships, and every time we go up against them it’s a big matchup. Everybody in the whole county is basically at that game.
Rankin: “I would have to say there’s two. West Rowan and North Rowan. North Rowan has always been our rival, and West Rowan because I never had the chance to beat them.
What moment from that rivalry sticks out to you?
Morris: “My junior year, the first play of the game, I had an 80-yard touchdown against West Rowan. They had just come off of a state championship, so that was the greatest feeling.”
Rankin: “Senior year, we played against K.P. Parks (Virginia sophomore tailback). We were on the verge of winning but they snuck in a late touchdown.”
Who was your most influential coach?
Morris: “Coach Christopher McNeil was the most influential person. He always told me to be humble and he kept me up. He was my principal my senior year but he was my AAU coach, my middle school basketball coach since I was little.
Rankin: “I would say Christopher Wayne McNeil. He’s been there since I was in sixth grade. He’s been a father figure, a mentor, a brother, a dad, all of the above. He was trying to make us better men, overall. I think he instilled it in us.”