08/31/06 — Battle of the unbeatens

View Archive

Battle of the unbeatens

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 31, 2006 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Recover from the initial shock.

That's been the main secret during recent contests involving intra-county rivals Charles B. Aycock and Greene Central. Turnovers have allowed the eventual winner to gain significant momentum in the past two meetings.

Two years ago, the Golden Falcons forced two first-half turnovers and cruised to a 35-7 win in Pikeville. Last season, the Rams collected two third-quarter turnovers and turned a 13-point deficit into a 21-15 victory in Snow Hill.

"When you play Greene Central, you have to withstand their initial shock; their furious play," said Aycock head coach Randy Pinkowski, who is 1-7 all-time against the Rams. "You have to take that intensity away from them or match it, and start playing football.

"Once you get the hype out of it, you're going to be better off against them."

The 45th installment of the series commences at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hardy Talton Stadium. The impending arrival of tropical storm Ernesto, however, could force a postponement since the slow-moving storm is expected to dump a significant amount of rain in central and eastern North Carolina.

Pinkowski said if weather conditions clear before noon on Friday, he's confident his field will be ready. Should the storm render the field unplayable, the contest will get pushed to Monday.

Each team enters 2-0.

"C.B. Aycock is a very disciplined and well-coached team," said fourth-year Rams coach Jim Bob Bryant. "We will have to play our best game of the year to beat them."

Bryant pointed out his defense will need to pay attention to Golden Falcon tailback Dontay Taylor and senior field general Thomas Pilkington. The duo has accounted for nine touchdowns and more than 600 yards of total offense.

"(Taylor and Pilkington) offer a 1-2 punch that will be tough to defend," Bryant.

Greene Central has yielded just three touchdowns in eight quarters of play. Senior Brandon Sutton recorded eight tackles and two sacks, blocked a punt and recovered a fumble in last week's victory against D.H. Conley. Sutton is the reigning Eastern Plains 2-A defensive player of the year.

Danny Moye collected eight stops and picked a Viking pass. Eric Johnson provided five tackles and one sack.

"Year in and year out, they're always a very talented ball team," said Pinkowski. "They're a tough opponent for us to match up with. They make us work as coaches as to how we're going to handle them."

The Golden Falcons gained some experience against West Carteret's spread offense two weeks ago. They adapted well and held the Patriots scoreless until the final quarter.

The Rams have a little more firepower with quarterback Cameron Shelton and top receiver Harrison Walston. Aycock can expect Bryant's club to utilize the entire field and attack from different angles.

"Clayton was one of those teams that like to take you to the phone booth and beat you to death," said Pinkowski. "Greene Central likes to take you out in the middle of the pasture, and play a little Guerilla warfare with you.

"We'll have to shift gears to go light on the line with more backers and secondary players against a spread offense."

Greene Central has recorded 30 victories in the series since 1964. Aycock has beaten the Rams just twice since 1992.

"I think we both use each other as a measuring stick as to what will happen to us the rest of the season," said Pinkowski. "We get to exploit each other's weaknesses. We get to see what we do well and don't do well against good teams.

"It's always a good, fun clean game; a very civil rivalry."