08/20/06 — State-ranked Gryphons too much for Goldsboro

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State-ranked Gryphons too much for Goldsboro

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on August 20, 2006 2:24 AM

Sweat dripping from his face after a hard-fought effort on a muggy Friday night, Goldsboro coach Maurice Jackson shook his head and his statement was simple.

"That's Rocky Mount. They don't rebuild, they just reload," he said.

The Gryphons, ranked No. 2 in the N.C. Prep Football News preseason 3-A poll, looked every bit worth their accolades as they rolled up close to 500 yards of total offense and limited Goldsboro's rushing attack in a 40-24 victory at Cougar Stadium.

Rocky Mount's Demetric Marshall and Jerome Jefferson both carried 18 times for over 100 yards with two touchdowns each and often had huge holes up front. Demetrius Wilkins added 84 yards and a score as the trio keyed the Gryphons' 361-yard rushing effort. Rocky Mount's 61 total carries was a school record.

"Marshall is the only back who is returning, and we had three backs that are hurt that didn't play tonight," Rocky Mount B.W. Holt said. "The kids that stepped up have been in the system a few years. With a sophomore center and a sophomore guard, we did a good job tonight."

Gryphons' quarterback Jason Tyler, making his first start since breaking his arm in Rocky Mount's NEW Six Conference opener last season, added 100 yards through the air on an efficient 3-of-5 passing -- including a 47-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Smith late in the first quarter.

Down 27-0, Goldsboro made a charge late in the first half. One play after an interception by Iveon Sprangle deep in Cougar territory on a pass by Rocky Mount reserve quarterback Chris Berry, Goldsboro senior quarterback Tim Kornegay found Jamar Branch on a 43-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline.

The Cougars (0-1) recovered a fumble on the visitors' next drive, then Kornegay hooked up with tight Burnie Best on a 6-yard toss to make it 27-13 in the waning seconds. Kornegay had two first-down runs on the drive, while the Gryphons had a costly pass interference penalty.

In his first varsity start, Kornegay finished with 147 yards on 6-of-13 passing with three touchdowns and one interception. Jamar Branch, a junior transfer from South Carolina, proved to be his favorite target as he caught five balls for 140 yards and two scores. Junior Hykeen Coley provided the Cougars' lone highlight on the ground as the junior scampered 62 yards -- practically untouched -- up the middle late in the third quarter to make it 34-18.

Tremé Boone, who rushed for more than 1,500 yards as a sophomore, finished with just 23 yards on 10 carries as the Gryphons' defense, paced by Darrius Dubose, pestered the Goldsboro backfield at night.

"I was surprised we couldn't get him going. I was disappointed our line couldn't open the holes that we expect them to," Jackson said. "One of our goals is for him to reach 100 yards every game. But if we can't get him going, we'll have to get Hykeen or Iveon in the mix."

Rocky Mount added to its lead on the next drive with Jefferson's final touchdown, before the Cougars capped the scoring with just under three minutes left in the game on a 19-yard strike from Kornegay to Branch. Goldsboro failed to convert on all four of its conversion tries.

The Cougars (1-0) lost the turnover battle 3-2 and had a costly fumble on a mishandled punt midway through the third. Goldsboro was flagged for just two penalties for 15 yards, while the Gryphons, who picked up their 16th straight road victory, had nine penalties for 80 yards.

Goldsboro, now 3-9 in its last 12 outings against Rocky Mount, hosts archrival Eastern Wayne on Friday. The game is the season opener for the Warriors. The Gryphons travel to Wilson Hunt (0-1) on Friday.