09/25/05 — Aycock pounds Hawks

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Aycock pounds Hawks

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 25, 2005 2:14 AM

PIKEVILLE -- With a four-touchdown lead and their team's third-straight win secured, Charles B. Aycock's defense wasn't about to see their second shutout of the season slip away at home against North Lenoir.

The Hawks faced fourth-and-three near midfield late in the fourth quarter, when the Golden Falcons' Erik Taylor lunged to get a hand on a pass by North Lenoir quarterback Kendall Thorbs as the attempt fell incomplete and the visitors turned it over on downs for the third and final time.

Taylor's break-up capped a solid, all-around performance by Aycock in its 29-0 win over the Hawks at Hardy Talton Stadium.

"It's 11 guys getting to the ball ... getting hits and wrapping up," said Aycock safety Cortez Gilbert, who had a whopping 16 solo tackles and nine assists, "The game isn't over until the clock shows zero. It doesn't matter if it's 3-0 or 100-0, you play until the end of the game."

Falcon linebackers Travis Milligan added nine tackles and two assists and Dontay Taylor contributed six tackles and four assists.

North Lenoir's offense, which rarely strayed from the running game, played most of the night behind or around midfield and advanced inside the Falcon 30 only once. The Hawks had 15 total plays that went for zero or less yards with two, 11-yard gains by Tyrone Spencer proving to be their only substantial gains on the night.

Aycock (4-2) out-gained the visitors from Wheat Swamp by over 200 yards as the Falcons held North Lenoir to 91 yards of total offense, all coming on the ground.

The Falcons proved much more balanced and scored once in all four quarters. Their first touchdown came just two plays into the game on a 14-yard run by Spruce Lee, who paced the Aycock ground attack with 15 rushes for 112 yards. The quick, scoring drive was set up by a 46-yard swing pass down the left side from quarterback Thomas Pilkington to split end Thomas Artis.

Aided by a short field after a bad snap on a punt attempt by the Hawks (1-4), the Falcons posted their final touchdown of the half when Pilkington found Artis again -- this time with a 12-yard strike on a toss over the top of the Hawk defense to make it 15-0 early in the second.

"I saw a lot of good things out there. It may have not been the pace I like to play at, but I'm pleased with the victory," Pinkowski said. "They were loading up the box trying to stop the run, so we shifted gears and threw the ball well down the field. I'm fortunate to have the quarterback and receivers that I've got. I think we're showing people that you've got to play balanced defense against us."

After halftime, North Lenoir's first two drives ended in punts as Aycock took a 22-0 lead on a pass from Pilkington, who had 150 yards on 7-of-12 passing, to tight end Brett Lancaster, who caught the ball on his back after slipping in the back of the end zone.

Set up by a 24-yard run by Lee and two pass plays of 15-plus yards, Gilbert moved to the other side of the ball and concluded the scoring on a 29-yard scamper with 7:04 left in the game.

North Lenoir had two more possessions before the final horn, but managed only one first down -- one of only two it picked up after intermission.

The Golden Falcons (4-2), who posted their second shutout of the season, have outscored their last two opponents by a combined score of 70-7 and have now given up seven points or less three times this year.

Eric Whitfield finished with 53 yards rushing, while Spencer added 37 on the ground. Thorbs passed only six times and all six landed incomplete.

"We had some big procedure penalties go against us, especially in the first half, which put us in the hole that made it tough for us to pick up first downs," North Lenoir coach Wayne Jackson said.

The Hawks had 60 total yards in penalties as the home team was flagged for 75 yards.

The Hawks return to action against another Wayne County foe, Eastern Wayne (3-1-1), next Friday in Wheat Swamp. North Lenoir opens Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference action on Oct. 7 at home against Farmville Central.

Aycock is open next Friday and begins Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play on Oct. 7 at No. 6 ranked Wilson Beddingfield (5-0).

"We open up with one of the best in the state. It's going to be interesting to see how we fair down there," Pinkowski said. "I like having an open week going into it. It will help us after facing a team that exclusively runs the ball, going into a game against a team that throws the ball a lot more."