Greene Central outlasts Kinston
Published in Sports on September 17, 2006 2:19 AM
By BRYAN C. HANKS
Courtesy Kinston Free Press
SNOW HILL -- Ten minutes after his team thwarted a heroic Kinston effort, 22-21, Greene Central's monster of a defensive end, Brandon Sutton, was still having trouble catching his breath.
Sutton, J.J. Thompson and the rest of the Rams won one for the books Friday night by starting the season 4-0 -- the best start in Greene Central's proud 35-year history. The Rams' previous best start was in 1977 when Greene Central began 3-0.
"I told our guys this was going to be a battle," Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "We've got a lot of adjustments to make, but our kids played hard and we needed a win like this."
The win wasn't easy, as evidenced by Sutton's exhaustion and Bryant's relief at the end of the game. The Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead on their first two possessions and watched Kinston storm back to within a point at 14-13 in the fourth quarter.
What turned out to be the key play of the game came when Sutton, a 6-foot 3-inch, 231-pound package of pure muscle, heart and desire, stormed through the Vikings offensive line on the extra point attempt and blocked the kick with 4:13 remaining.
It only took Greene Central two plays on its next possession to punch the ball into the end zone on a 52-yard touchdown run by Tyrell Lane. A two-point conversion by Fred Edwards pushed the Greene Central lead to a two-possession, 22-13 lead with 3:29 left.
And it was a good thing for the Rams. Kinston (2-3) stormed right back down the field on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Whitfield to Demarcus Quinerly with 1:41 remaining. Whitfield's two-point conversion run made the score 22-21.
Kinston's Mike Jones delivered a perfect onside kick, but GC's Thompson jumped on the ball. One run, a Kinston penalty and two kneeldowns later and the Rams were breathing a sigh of relief.
Thompson, a 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker, spent nearly as much time in the Kinston backfield as the Viking quarterback and running backs. The senior finished with 13 tackles, including six for loss.
Statistically, the game was as much a dead heat as the final score indicated. Both teams finished with 15 first downs and Greene Central finished with exactly one more total yard than the Vikings, 314-313.
Greene Central's Thompson finished with 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Lane had 80 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, while Greene Central quarterback Cameron Shelton rushed the ball nine times for 58 yards. Shelton also completed six passes for 79 yards.
Kinston's Michael Thompson returned to his spectacular running ways after a sub-par performance against West Craven last week. The junior speedster racked up two touchdowns and 173 yards on 27 carries. He also led the Vikings with 41 yards on two catches.
Whitfield completed seven passes for 99 yards and a score and also rushed the ball nine times for 30 yards.
The Rams, ranked No. 9 in this week's Associated Press Class 2-A poll, travel to Warsaw to face undefeated and No. 5-ranked 1-A James Kenan. Kinston's road is no easier, either, as the Vikings host Rocky Mount (No. 4 3-A) next Friday.
Kinston 0 0 7 14 -- 21
Greene Central 14 0 0 8 -- 22
GC -- J.J. Thompson 1 run (pass failed), 6:54
GC -- Lane 15 run (Thompson run), 1:05
GC -- Lane 51 run (Edwards run), 3:29
First downs 12 13
Rushes-yds 45-208 34-229
Passing yds 97 104
Total yards 305 333
C-A-I 7-14-0 7-12-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2
Punts-avg 4-33.0 3-40.0
Penalties-yds 4-20 6-60
RUSHING -- Greene Central -- Tyrell Lane 5-81, 2 TDs; J.J. Thompson 15-80, TD; Cameron Shelton 9-58; William Brown 2-10; Fred Edwards 2-7; Harrison Walston 1-(-7).
PASSING -- Greene Central -- Cameron Shelton 7-11-0 104; William Brown 0-1-0
RECEIVING -- Greene Central -- Harrison Walston 4-66; Tyrell Lane 1-4; William Brown 1-(-1); Curtis Braswell 1-35.
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