Class 3-A -- C.B. Aycock 18, NE Guilford 17
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on November 14, 2004 2:04 AM
PIKEVILLE -- A rain-soaked Hardy Talton Stadium in northern Wayne County seemed more like a Hollywood set Friday night.
Charles B. Aycock's football team put together the kind of game-winning drive in the postseason that most coaches and players usually only dream about, or would more likely be scripted for a feature film.
Trailing 17-15 late in the fourth quarter to Northeast Guilford in the first round of the Class 3-A (small school) N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, Falcon senior quarterback Wesley Whitley engineered an 11-play drive that put his team all the way down to the two-yard line with just seconds left.
The Aycock field-goal unit rushed on the field in the waning seconds as senior kicker Jon Burke drilled a 19-yarder as time expired to give the Falcons a 18-17 win over the Rams.
On a night where Aycock made two mistakes in the punting game in the wet conditions and the Rams had one bad snap, the Falcons' special teams executed with the game on the line.
The final minute was frantic.
A pass interference penalty on Northeast moved Aycock to the Ram 32. After an incomplete pass on first down, Spruce Lee, who finished with 95 yards on seven catches, hauled in two straight grabs totaling 23 yards to set up first-and-goal at the nine with 42 seconds left.
With no timeouts, Falcon coach Randy Pinkowski elected to run Shonte Barnes twice -- on first and third down -- with less than a minute left. Barnes' final run set up fourth-and-goal at the two as the clock ticked toward zero.
It didn't appear as if Aycock (9-3) would get the kick away. But as soon as the line was set, long-snapper Greg Davis snapped perfectly to Whitley, who put down the hold as Burke booted the slippery pigskin through the uprights.
The sideline, cheerleaders and crowd rushed the soggy field in celebration of the Pikeville school's first-ever win at home in the playoffs and its second win overall.
"That's the kind of drive you dream about," said Whitley, who threw an interception on the preceding possession. "I thought it was over when I threw that interception, but the defense gave me another chance and we went down there and scored."
The post-game jubilation would never have occurred without a stingy effort by the Falcon defense in the final three quarters.
Keyed by 65 yards rushing on nine carries by Northeast Guilford fullback Brandon Bobbitt, the Rams (6-6) charged to a 14-0 lead with under five minutes left in the first quarter.
From that point, senior defensive lineman Chris Byrd, who finished with 12 solo tackles and three sacks, and the Aycock defense forced five punts as the Rams turned it over on downs three times. Eighteen total Northeast plays went for zero yards or less The Rams only points in the last three quarters came on a 25-yard field goal by Chris O'Bryant in a short--field situation following Aycock's second turnover of the game.
"Our defense stepped up and showed they were going to dominate the game," Pinkowski said. "That's a credit to my defensive coordinator, John Fidler. Once the two down inside boys (Jaquan Turner and Korie Lewis) started coming around, it started shutting that fullback down."
Keyed by a 16-yard completion from Whitley to Brett Lancaster on a fake punt, the Falcons answered and cut into the 17-7 deficit on a 19-yard connection from Whitley to Lee. Whitley found sophomore JV call-up Tim Alston on the two-point conversion to make it 17-15 midway through the third.
While the Falcon defense continued to hold Northeast at bay, Aycock's offense went three-and-out on its next two drives, then fumbled and threw an interception on two more drives in the fourth quarter.
Whitley -- who finished with 190 yards on 12-of-24 passing with two touchdowns and one interception -- and the Falcon offense got new life when the defense shut down the Rams one last time late in the fourth. After a time out stopped the clock on fourth down, the Northeast punt dropped Aycock back at its own 32 to start the game-winning drive.
Northeast missed a golden opportunity to score late in the first half with first-and-goal at the four. Eventually, the Rams lost nearly 30 yards in a matter of two minutes after 20 yards in penalties and two negative rushing plays.
The Falcons move on to face future Eastern Carolina Conference foe Wilson Hunt in the second round on Friday in Wilson. The third-seeded Warriors dropped Washington 50-14.
N.C. High School Athletic Association
Class 3-A (small-school) playoffs
(at C.B. Aycock HS)
Northeast Guilford 14 0 3 0 -- 17
C.B. Aycock 0 7 8 3 -- 18
NEG -- Hall 31 run (O'Bryant kick) 8:32
NEG -- Smith 44 pass from Pursley (O'Bryant kick) 4:38
CBA -- Artis 20 pass from Whitley (Burke kick) 6:27
NEG -- O'Bryant 25 FG 7:14
CBA -- Lee 19 pass from Whitley (Alston pass from Whitley) 5:22
CBA -- Burke 19 FG :00
First downs 15 13
Rushes-yds. 59-200 26-35
Passing yards 86 206
Total yards 286 241
Att.-Comp.-Int. 4-2-0 26-13-2
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-2
Punts-avg. 5-30.8 5-29.4
Penalties-yds. 10-75 4-30
RUSHING -- Northeast Guilford -- Brandon Bobbitt 34-142; Antonio Hall 9-66, TD; Brock Pursley 5-(-11); Chris Stephens 8-10; Ryan Shaw 1-(-2); Antwan King 1-0; Chris O'Bryant 1-(-5). C.B. Aycock -- Shonte Barnes 13-34; Dontay Taylor 4-11; Wesley Whitley 6-(-13); John Hewitt 1-2; Spruce Lee 2-1.
PASSING -- Northeast Guilford -- Brock Pursley 2-4-0 87, TD. C.B. Aycock -- Wesley Whitley 12-24-1 190, 2 TD; Spruce Lee 1-1-0 16; Shonte Barnes 0-1-1 0.
RECEIVING -- Northeast Guilford -- Jay Smith 2-87, TD. C.B. Aycock -- Spruce Lee 7-95, TD; Thomas Artis 2-58, TD; Brett Lancaster 3-48; Shonte Barnes 1-5.
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