CBA-G. Central football
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 4, 2005 2:14 AM
SNOW HILL -- Disappointed after their season-opening loss to D.H. Conley, the Greene Central players trudged toward the locker room.
They never saw the "blind-side" tackle coming from the stands. An avid supported yelled that the Rams would "be all right, but you just need a little heart."
The comment deflated the players and shocked the coaching staff.
"That really hurt us because we thought we played every game with heart," said third-year Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant.
That fan's statement angered the players and their frustration level rose after a three-touchdown loss to Wilson Beddingfield just seven days ago. But Friday evening, the Rams (1-2) finally discovered their heart -- through their defense -- against Charles B. Aycock.
Greene Central forced three second-half turnovers and turned each miscue into a touchdown en route to a 21-15 victory at the James R. Fulghum Athletic Complex. The Rams, who have played the Golden Falcons every year since 1962, seized their 30th win in the series since 1964.
"Our defensive staff does a great job and I think we're finally starting to get the hang of this new defense," Bryant said. "We've been preaching all year about a total team effort. Our offense struggled a little, so our defense gets a couple of turnovers ... big stops and puts our offense in position to score."
Working in a 3-5-3 defensive alignment, the Rams harassed Aycock quarterback Thomas Pilkington in the second half and constantly won the line of scrimmage. Pilkington, who saw at least eight and as many as 10 players in the box, threw numerous off-balance passes -- two which resulted in interceptions.
The Golden Falcons managed just 11 yards of total offense and one first down, while committing three costly miscues. Pilkington recorded his third straight 100-yard game with most of the yardage coming late in the first half.
"We wanted to get him throwing off his back heel," said Bryant. "When the quarterback came out from under center, we had three or four guys blitzing from different angles.
"The 3-5-3 defense is built around speed and blitzing. We did a good job with that tonight."
C.B. Aycock finished with 174 yards total offense, but just 37 rushing on 36 attempts. The Golden Falcons managed six first downs and successfully converted 3 of 14 third-down plays.
"I don't think we handled the pressure well up front," said Golden Falcons coach Randy Pinkowski. "We came out and pressed a little bit, tried to throw the ball a little more in the second half. Then we started laying things on the ground. That just spelled trouble for us."
A fake punt led to Aycock's first score. Pilkington stepped back and lofted ball over the defense to Cortez Gilbert, who was one-on-one near the Golden Falcon sideline. Gilbert side-stepped one player and rambled 69 yards for the touchdown.
Midway through the third quarter, Pilkington hit Brett Lancaster -- in double coverage -- for a 14-yard touchdown. The Rams blocked the PAT and trailed 13-0.
Quinerly tightened the defensive alignment. Senior inside linebacker Mario Brown (7 tackles) and senior strong safety Damien Moye (7 tackles) continually broke loose into the Aycock backfield. The duo's pressure helped lead to an interception, which set up the Rams' first score -- Cameron Shelton's nine-yard run after he fumbled the snap.
Another interception gave Greene Central the ball at Aycock's 9-yard line. Two plays later Dreyan Willis, who picked off Pilkington, scored and the Rams took a 14-13 lead.
The Golden Falcons fumbled on their next possession at their 11-yard line and Mike Sims cashed in three plays later. Ray Dergan added his third PAT to put Greene Central ahead 21-13.
"They hung in there all night long ... battled us (and) battled us," Pinkowski said. "When they finally got an opportunity, they took advantage."
Greene Central, however, needed a goal-line stand to keep Aycock from forcing a possible overtime. Joseph Toler's fumble hit and Jarrett Covar's recovery put the Golden Falcons in business at the Rams' 8.
Three plays moved the ball within a yard of the goal line. Pilkington fumbled the snap on fourth down, picked it up and tried to sneak it in. But defensive back Curtis Wright stopped him just inches from breaking the plane.
Aycock lost its second consecutive road game of the season and fifth overall since 2004.
"I keep saying that I love this football team and I do," Pinkowski said. "There is no quit in them ... keep fighting and clawing. We've got clean up (some things). We're not a big, physical football team, so we have to be careful with the football.
"I think good things are going to happen for them."
C.B. Aycock (1-2) is the guest of county rival Goldsboro (1-2) next Friday. The Rams travel to unbeaten Ayden-Grifton, the reigning Class 1-A Carolina Conference champion.
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