Game of the week -- Charles B. Aycock and Kinston High
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 13, 2005 2:01 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Ernie Banks is well known for his catch phrase, "Let's play two."
The Charles B. Aycock football team, like most programs in eastern North Carolina, has adopted that famous mantra this week as area fans get the rare opportunity of seeing their favorite team for the second time in a five-day span after Tropical Storm Tammy forced the postponement of numerous contests last Friday.
After losing by five touchdowns at state-ranked Wilson Beddingfield on Monday, the Falcons (4-3, 0-1 ECC) are hoping for a much difference result Friday as winless Kinston (0-7, 0-1 ECC) comes to town.
Charles B. Aycock coach Randy Pinkowski, however, cautions that overlooking the Vikings is a big mistake. Kinston is directed by first-year coach Ken Whitehurst, who spent 11 seasons at North Pitt, and Pinkowski expects the Vikes' best shot.
"You don't want your team to take them lightly, and they are hungry and will come in playing well," Pinkowski said. "They are always big and physical, and I feel like at any point when they get things going in the same direction they are going to be tough.
"It takes a while to learn a new guy's system. Once they do, they can be a handful because they've got size and talent."
For Pinkowski, it's that size that has him most concerned about the Vikings.
"The key is their size against our lack of it. We've got to find a way to compensate for that ... spread them out a little and do some different things," he said. "You aren't going to run straight at them. Along the same lines, we've got to tackle a lot better than Monday night. We've got to wrap them up and get them on the ground."
The Vikings enter on the heels of a 21-3 loss at Wilson Hunt last Thursday.
As for Aycock, the Falcons are still smarting from Monday's setback against the Bruins.
Pinkowski said he isn't sure if several first-half mistakes in the kicking game cost his team a win at Wilson Beddingfield, but thinks the outcome would have been much different than the 48-13 loss.
The Golden Falcons trailed just 14-7 midway through the second quarter after Thomas Pilkington's 28-yard touchdown strike to Tim Alston.
But within minutes, Beddingfield took advantage of two Aycock mistakes on special teams -- a huge roughing the punter penalty and a botched fake-punt attempt -- to take a 28-7 lead into halftime. The Bruins went on to outscore the Falcons 20-6 in the second half in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener for both teams.
"You can't make the mistakes we made. That was the big thing for us," Pinkowski said. "I don't know if we win the game if we are mistake-free, but it wouldn't have been what it was. Four times on fourth down, we made mistakes and gave them a short field. We lost the game of field position early and that about ruined us."
Pinkowski is hoping a good week of practice will eliminate those mistakes against Kinston.
Opponents are outscoring the Vikings 31-14 this season, while Aycock owns a 28-20 edge in average points scored in its seven outings.
While senior Spruce Lee (80 yards per game, seven touchdowns) and the Aycock ground game has been consistent all year, the Falcons have the ability to spread Kinston out behind the arm of junior quarterback Thomas Pilkington and senior split end Thomas Artis.
Pilkington is closing in on 1,000 yards passing with 872 yards through the air (124 per game) with seven touchdowns through seven games. Artis was held without a catch against the Bruins but had an area-best 61.6 yards per game average going into the game.
Juniors Tim Alston and Dontay Taylor combined for four catches for 82 yards at Beddingfield.
"As a coach, I'm quick to see what's wrong and not see what's right," Pinkowski said of Pilkington. "I don't tell him enough what he's doing right. We probably need to get him more in charge and put the ball in his hands a little more and let him get it down the field more. That may be the mode of operation these last few games ... stretch it out a little more and let him make more of the decisions.
"He seems to be passing the test to this point, and it might be time to take him to the next level."
Defensively, the Falcons are giving up 216 yards per game with shutouts at Hardy Talton Stadium against West Carteret and North Lenoir.
Home field has been particularly advantageous to Aycock as the Falcons are 9-1 in Pikeville the last two seasons. Their last home loss was a 7-6 setback to Kinston in the middle of last season.
Friday's kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
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