08/20/06 — Rams hammer Vikings

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Rams hammer Vikings

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 20, 2006 2:22 AM


Courtesy Kinston Free Press

SNOW HILL -- One game into the 2006 season, Greene Central's plan to become a more run-oriented football team is a rousing success.

Of course, they also proved they can still pass the ball when they need to.

The Rams' balanced attack produced 366 yards of total offense (197 on the ground, 169 through the air), and the defense forced four turnovers as Greene Central hammered D.H. Conley 30-6 Friday in the season opener for both teams.

The win was also GC coach Jim Bob Bryant's first in a season opener in four tries.

"We talked about that all week in practice," Bryant said. "How important it would be to get off to a fast start, both in this game and for the season."

The Rams took their coach's words to heart. They totally dominated the first half, rolling up a 188-30 yardage advantage, an 11-1 margin in first downs, and an incredible 3-1 variance in time of possession (18:24-5:36).

And while Greene Central led 16-0 at halftime, their lead should have been twice that.

"We got on them at halftime, even though we had the lead," Bryant said. "We talked about wasted opportunities and how we couldn't continue to do that if we wanted to be a good football team."

All five of GC's first half possessions ended up on the Conley side of the field. Twice they were stopped on downs, and another time they were forced to punt. Three of the drives started in Viking territory after turnovers, and another began at midfield.

"Our defense battled but they just stayed on the field too long in the first half," said Conley coach Ken Whitehurst, who coached last year at Kinston High.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Rams finally broke through on Reggie Johnson's one-yard touchdown run with 7:40 to play in the opening half.

The back breaker came with just 36.3 seconds left before intermission and Gc facing a fourth-and-12 from the Viking 26.

Quarterback Cameron Shelton executed a nice ball fake and then hit Curtis Braswell streaking down the left sideline for the score that gave Greene Central its two-touchdown advantage.

The Rams delivered the coup de grace by marching 81 yards in 12 plays on their first possession of the second half. Shelton hooked up with William Brown on a 12-yard scoring strike to make the count 24-0 with 4:48 left in the third quarter.

For the game, Conley's offense generated just 144 yards of total offense, with 89 coming on their lone scoring drive. Brandon Sutton paced the Ram defense with seven tackles and two fumble recoveries, while Darren Gorham added seven tackles and one fumble recovery.

After the Vikings got on the scoreboard on Will Reaves' one-yard quarterback sneak, the Rams answered back on Shelton's third TD pass of the game, a 32-yard strike to Braswell that completed the scoring with 6:38 remaining.

Shelton completed 12 of 20 passes for 169 yards, and three different wide outs (Braswell, Brown, and Harrison Walston) produced at least 50 yards receiving.

J.J. Thompson led the Greene Central rushing attack with 84 yards on 12 carries, and Johnson added 65 yards on eight attempts.