Hungry for a victory
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 1, 2005 2:32 PM
During game weeks, Mondays are scheduled to be "light days" for the Charles B. Aycock football team.
The Golden Falcons generally will look at film and practice in shorts and shoulder pads.
Not this week.
Following a disappointing 42-14 loss last Friday at Class 4-A Clayton, coach Randy Pinkowski came out to Monday's practice to find his players dressed in full gear -- ready to go.
He made no mention of this to any of his players before hand, so he was pleasantly surprised by the initiative of his team.
"The kids came out in full gear ready to practice, and nobody told them to do that. They said, 'coach, we need to work harder.' What can you say about a group of kids like that," he said.
"They haven't hung their kids for a minute. They are the most coachable group I've worked with."
This Friday, Pinkowski takes his hard-working squad to Snow Hill to face Greene Central, the favorite to win the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, according to a preseason coaches poll.
Aycock, picked to finish third in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference in a similar poll, enters the game 1-1. The Rams are 0-2 after losses to D.H. Conley and Wilson Beddingfield.
At Beddingfield, Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant used three quarterbacks as sophomore William Brown emerged as a bright spot in the 37-14 loss as Cameron Shelton continues to recover from a sore wrist.
According to Bryant, the Rams will use Brown, Shelton and even all-purpose threat Dreyan Willis at quarterback for the rest of the non-conference schedule.
"Haven't had something yet offensively we can settle on and move the chains," Bryant said. "We hope to get our running game and passing game going. Both have been non-existent the last two games."
The Rams will be without Kelsey Baker, a quarterback-turned-receiver, on Friday.
Aycock moved the ball plenty in a 40-0 win in the opener against West Carteret and the offense showed flashes of production at Clayton, especially in the second half.
Spruce Lee, who has four touchdowns in two games, finished with 54 yards rushing and two scores, while teammate Dontay Taylor had 42 yards on the ground. Through the air, junior signal-caller Thomas Pilkington was 10-of-17 for over 100 yards and had several nice connections to junior Tim Alton (four catches, 51 yards).
Still, Pinkowski is quick to point that it takes all facets for the Falcons to be successful.
"For us to be successful, all parts of our game have to be clicking. We aren't going to win 50-48, but more like 21-7 and 14-12," he said. "Our offense, defense and special teams has to be doing a good job, and when the fourth quarter rolls around we get the job done.
"We aren't powerful in any other area if one area breaks down."
Last Friday, both teams had their fair share of defensive breakdowns against larger-school opponents. Aycock yielded 362 yards of total offense, including 302 on the ground to Clayton's potent rushing attack. Meanwhile, the Rams allowed Beddinfield and running back Gynorris King to get loose for 102 yards.
For Greene Central, Aycock makes the third 3-A opponent it will face in as many weeks. A tough 1-A team in Ayden-Grifton awaits in week four, followed by another 3-A team, Kinston. Despite defeating Greene Central 35-7 last year, Pinkowski is clearly not looking past the athletic Rams.
"Greene Central is always athletic," he said. "On film, they are the same Greene Central year-in and year-out ... big, physical, fast and they are well-coached. They may be faster and more athletic than Clayton overall. Clayton had some super athletes, but overall athletically Greene Central and Beddingfield has some of the best talent in the state."
Aycock travels to Goldsboro in week four before hosting Wilson Fike and North Lenoir.
Pinkowski said the Falcons are injury-free and will be missing only one regular starter in split end Thomas Artis, who was ejected for a scuffle during the Clayton game.
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