08/21/05 — GC at Conley gamer

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GC at Conley gamer

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on August 21, 2005 2:11 AM

Courtesy Greenville

Daily Reflector

GREENVILLE -- Since taking over the D.H. Conley football program prior to last season, Vikings' coach Daniel Finn has placed a major emphasis on offseason workouts.

During Friday night's endowment game against Greene Central, his team reaped the benefits of that work.

In a game marred by penalties and the constant cramping of players, Conley proved to be the better conditioned team, outlasting the Rams for an 8-6 win on a hot, muggy night at D.H. Conley.

Conley overcame what Finn called one of the worst halves of football he had ever seen to take control in the final two quarters. The Vikings fumbled six times -- recovering each one -- and gained only four first downs in the first two quarters, but their defense kept them in the game.

Greene Central scored on its opening possession with Cameron Shelton's 28-yard touchdown pass to a streaking Harrison Walston that capped an eight-play, 81-yard drive. From that point, the Rams' offense stalled on every drive.

"I was pleased with the opening drive on offense and the opening drive on defense," Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "After that we couldn't do anything right. We got worn down and that's my fault, but it won't happen again.

"We're going to condition now Monday through Thursday because what we've been doing was evidently not enough."

Conley showed it had caught its second wind during its first possession of the second half. Behind 48 yards on the ground from tailback Jeremy Clifton, the Vikings muscled their way 80 yards down the field for their only score. On a fourth-and-eight play from the Greene Central 10, Conley quarterback Mike Taylor rolled out of the pocket and hit Will Reaves with a pass in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Clifton followed by lunging into the end zone for the two-point conversion.

Clifton finished with 82 yards on 15 carries for Conley, while senior Josh Jones led the Vikings with 87 yards on the ground.

Both teams combined for more penalties (15) than points scored and each also dealt with significant injuries. Conley tight end and outside linebacker Spencer Hampton left the game after the first series with a concussion, while Greene Central receiver Dreyan Willis (shoulder) and linebacker Mario Brown (cramps) were never a factor.

Conley will host Northern Nash next week. Greene Central hits the road again, traveling to Wilson Beddingfield.

Brandon Sutton had 13 tackles and one sack to lead the Ram defense, while Curtis Wright added eight tackles. J.J. Thompson and Damien Moye had five tackles and one sack each for Greene Central.