Rams bring a Gator-mover
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 29, 2004 1:57 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Tailback left.
Any direction 347-pound guard Melvin Rogers pulled or trapped a Spring Creek lineman, tailbacks DeMontae Lassiter and Chris Price bounced through the lanes with ease as Northamp-ton County-East dealt the Gators a 30-9 loss before a sparse Senior Night crowd Thursday evening.
The duo combined for 231 yards rushing as the Rams (5-5) captured their third consecutive victory heading into next week's regular-season finale against at Franklinton. The Gators (1-9) suffered their fifth straight loss and conclude play next Friday at North Duplin.
"(Rogers) is a hoss, son," said Spring Creek coach Roy Whitfield. "We didn't know a whole lot about them, but we did hear about 76 (Rogers). They've got good athletes and the defensive backs play the ball."
Rogers, along with interior linemen Adam Shoulars and Terrance Mitchell, pushed the smaller Gators off the ball all evening. Lassiter averaged 7.6 yards per carry and eclipsed the 100-yard mark by halftime. Price gobbled up 5.4 yards per rush in the Rams' I-formation offense.
East coach H.B. Harris Jr. called it a simple scheme.
"It's not complicated what we do," a grinning Harris said. "We're going to trap ... inside and outside, plain and simple. Rogers is a couple biscuits short of 350 pounds and it's obvious we're going to follow him. We'll get as far as he's able to take us.
"The kids have played hard the last three weeks."
The Rams seized the early momentum on the third play from scrimmage.
Gator quarterback Josh Wright scrambled from the pocket and lofted a pass off his back foot toward Lelo Burt near the right sideline. East defensive back Keon Shoulars picked off the throw and returned it 60-plus yards for a touchdown before the fans could get settled into their seats.
"The turnover put us in a hole," Whitfield said.
Spring Creek played catch up the rest of the way.
The Gators punted on their next three possessions and fell further behind at 16-0 midway through the second quarter. Rogers, Adam Shoulars and Mitchell opened gaping holes for Lassiter and Price, who combined for 65 yards on the drive.
Rams quarterback Travis Mason capped the 11-play march with a one-yard quarterback sneak.
"They've done a great responding to our coaching staff and our coaching staff has done a great job preparing them," Harris said. "We've made progress as the season has gone along and we've matured."
Freshman Alex Dunmire woke up a silent crowd with a 66-yard kickoff return after Mason's score. Starting at the Rams' 19-yard line, the Gators needed just three plays to get a three-yard touchdown dive from Ricky Mason.
Mason finished with a season-best 140 yards on 29 carries.
"I thought Ricky ran the ball good," Whitfield said. "We're glad Alex is going to be back with us the next three years. The boys battled back and I thought our defense played pretty darn good."
East led 24-6 at halftime and boosted its advantage to 30-6.
Senior David Estrada provided the Gators' final points -- a 25-yard field with 9.1 seconds remaining. Estrada played his final home game along with Jason Buchtman, Robbie Gardner, Jimmy Ward, Eric Stoner, Blake Thompson, Bradley Jones and Mychael King.
NH-East 8 16 6 0 -- 30
Spring Creek 0 6 0 3 -- 9
NHE -- K. Shoulars 62 interception return (Goffington pass from Mason), 10:13
NHE -- Mason 1 run (Mason run), 7:27
SC -- R. Mason 3 run (pass failed), 6:14
NHE -- Mason run (Mason run), 2:49
NHE -- Price 3 run (pass failed), 3:09
SC -- Estrada 25 FG, :09.1
First downs 12 10
Rushes-yds 46-250 37-170
Passing yds 0 36
Total yards 250 206
Att.-Comp.-Int. 2-0-0 18-2-3
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-0
Punts-avg. 3-33.0 5-34.4
Penalties-yds 7-45 8-40
RUSHING -- Spring Creek -- Ricky Mason 29-140, TD; Josh Wright 4-25; David Estrada 2-9; Mychael King 2-(-4). Northampton-East -- DeMontae Lassiter 19-145; Chris Price 16-86, TD; Travis Mason 5-31, 2 TDs; Darryell Anderson 3-3; Tim Gubitz 3-(-15).
PASSING -- Spring Creek -- Josh Wright 2-16-2 36; Mychael King 0-2-1 0. Northampton-East -- Travis Mason 0-2-0 0.
RECEIVING -- Spring Creek -- Blake Thompson 1-19; Jason Buchtman 1-17.
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