Rams defense dominates in win over Beddingfield
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 29, 2004 2:03 AM
SNOW HILL -- Good, hard-nosed defense is the cornerstone of success in any sport. The Greene Central football team certainly proved that point against Wilson Beddingfield.
The Rams defense recorded a school-record eight quarterback sacks and limited the Bruins' multiple-formation offense to a shocking minus-70 yards rushing in their season-opening, 17-8 victory Friday evening.
"I've never seen this team and I don't know where it came from," veteran Beddingfield coach Tom Nelson said of his team. "I don't know if we'd got a voodoo curse or hex over here at Greene Central, but twice we've been here and twice we've played terrible.
"We were terrible offensively and just couldn't get the snap. We didn't block a soul."
Jinxed or not, the Bruins (1-1) couldn't sustain a drive all evening against a Rams defense that bent but did not break. The visitors ran 10 more plays and owned a significant advantage in time of possession.
However, Nelson's team couldn't overcome the eight sacks and 11 costly penalties -- infractions which nearly equaled the Bruins' offensive output for the 48-minute contest.
Greene Central defensive coordinator Andre Quinerly had never seen such a defensive performance, even when he played for former coach Spence Grantham. Of the Bruins' 54 plays, one third resulted in lost yardage.
"This was a surprise because Beddingfield is a great football team," Quinerly said. "Our defense just stepped up and they were quick. We used our speed tonight.
"We're a small team and only one player on defense is over 200 pounds, so we're very fast."
Senior outside linebacker Rodney Wilkes spearheaded the Rams with 11 stops, including 3 1/2 sacks against Bruin signal caller Bennett Johnson. Junior outside linebacker Devyn Brewington, senior end Dashon Bynum, senior tackle Matt Whitley and sophomore inside linebacker J.J. Thompson each collected six tackles. Overall, 17 players recorded at least one tackle.
Junior Mike Sims and sophomore Steven Phillips, a pair of defensive backs, each intercepted Johnson once.
"All of them played well," a grinning Quinerly said.
Beddingfield led 8-7 at halftime on the strength of Johnson's 11-yard touchdown strike to Jerry Atkinson as time expired in the second quarter. The Bruins scratched for a meager three first downs after that play and crossed the midfield stripe just twice on five second-half possessions.
Phillips' pick against Johnson set up the Rams' go-ahead score inside the Beddingfield five-yard line. Three running plays netted two yards and second-year Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant opted for the field goal.
Tino Fernandez easily split the uprights from 19 yards out, pushing Greene Central in front 10-8. The fourth-down call upset the players and some fans in attendance, but Bryant wasn't about to let the Bruins regain the upper hand with a big defensive stop.
"We're down one point and you have a chance to go up two points with the defense like ours playing the way they were, you can't mess around with that," Bryant said.
The Rams forced the Bruins to punt on their next possession and set up shop at their own 19-yard line. Senior quarterback Travis Rouse directed a 10-play scoring drive which gave the defense a much-needed break.
Facing a third-and-7 at the Beddingfield 31, Rouse dropped back and hung in the pocket against a blitzing defense. Just as defensive end Everette Brown broke through the line, Rouse slung a sidearm pass downfield.
Curtis Wright never gave up on the play and hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass. Fernandez's PAT provided the nine-point finale.
"We changed up our pass-blocking schemes a little bit," Bryant said. "On the touchdown pass, we faked a screen and everybody bit on it. Travis usually throws it and tries to beat the pass rush.
"He read the defense well and Curtis made an outstanding catch. The offensive line did a great job and deserves credit for that touchdown. Then we put it in our defense's hand and they responded."
Greene Central prevailed in a season opener for just the eighth time since 1978 and defeated the Bruins for just the second time in 11 meetings. The Rams claimed their 17th consecutive home win, a streak which began Oct. 26, 2001 against SouthWest Edgecombe.
Wil. Beddingfield 2 6 0 0 -- 8
Greene Central 0 7 10 0 -- 17
B -- Safety, Bullock block punt through end zone, 11:15
GC -- Hodges 3 run (Fernandez kick), 5:51
B -- Atkinson 11 pass from Johnson (run failed), 0:00
GC -- Fernandez 19 FG, 8:50
GC -- Wright 31 pass from Rouse (Fernandez kick), 2:50
First downs 7 6
Rushes-yds 35-(-70) 29-40
Passing yds 143 71
Total yards 73 111
Att.-Comp.-Int. 19-8-2 15-8-0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-3
Punts-avg 7-31.7 4-31.8
Penalties-yds 11-71 9-90
RUSHING -- Greene Central -- Chris Hodges 19-29; Travis Rouse 7-6; Kyle Judd 2-3; Dreyan Willis 1-2. Beddingfield -- Glynorris King 15-26; Jerry Atkinson 4-11; Drako Butler 2-6; Izel Jenkins 1-(-1); Bennett Johnson 13-(-112).
PASSING -- Greene Central -- Travis Rouse 8-15-0 71, TD. Beddingfield -- Bennett Johnson 8-19-2 143, TD.
RECEIVING -- Greene Central -- Curtis Wright 1-31, TD; Kyle Judd 4-24; Dreyan Willis 1-10; Dashon Bynum 1-4. Beddingfield -- Everette Brown 3-74; Jerry Atkinson 3-42, TD; Doug Barron 2-27.
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