09/26/06 — OPINION - Can CBA stop Rams jinx?

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OPINION - Can CBA stop Rams jinx?

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 26, 2006 2:28 PM

Greene Central had the weekend to seethe over its first loss of the season at state-ranked James Kenan. The Rams didn't play 48 quality minutes, and endured numerous physical and mental mistakes.

Expect a different team this week.

Charles B. Aycock welcomes the Rams to Hardy Talton Stadium for each team's final non-conference tilt of the season. The longest-running series in either school's history kicks off the 45th installment at 7:30 p.m.

Greene Central has prevailed in seven of the last eight meetings, and 30 times overall since 1964. The series began in 1962, but scores from the first two games have not been retrieved from the archives.

Tropical Storm Ernesto washed out the first meeting and neither coach anticipates too many changes this week. The only difference now is Greene Central has one blemish on its 2006 worksheet, while C.B. Aycock is 5-0 for the first time in 25 seasons.

"Year in and year out, they're always a very talented team," said Golden Falcons head coach Randy Pinkowski earlier this season. "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."

Fourth-year Rams coach Jim Bob Bryant hopes to see his team rebound from the loss. Greene Central committed an uncharacteristic six turnovers, including four interceptions by senior quarterback Cam Shelton.

A two-year varsity starter, Shelton attempted 24 passes and threw for 131 yards against an aggressive Tiger defense. The Rams had seven offensive possessions and managed one touchdown. It was the team's lowest offensive output since a 26-0 playoff loss to Burlington Cummings a year ago.

"We have to get better all around in all three aspects of the game -- offense, defense and special teams," said Bryant. "We didn't play well in any phase of the game tonight."

Aycock has been playing consistent in every phase.

The 1-2 tandem of quarterback Thomas Pilkington and tailback Dontay Taylor has combined for 1,500-plus yards of total offense. The Golden Falcons have tallied 25 or more points in all five outings.

Senior inside linebacker Travis Milligan leads the defense with 41 stops. Junior free safety Jacob Pendleton is next with 23.5 tackles, and junior free safety Ian Calder ranks third with 19.5 tackles.

Bryant, his offensive chart hanging by a lanyard near his knee, alluded to his team's lack of discipline against Kenan in the post-game huddle. He reminded the players they will see a disciplined Aycock team Friday, and must have a strong work ethic in practice this week.

Pinkowski, undoubtedly, is reminding his team of the previous two meetings against the Rams. Turnovers have factored into the outcomes, either in the first or second half.

Greene Central converted two third-quarter miscues into touchdowns in a come-from-behind 21-15 victory a year ago in Snow Hill. Pinkowski said withstanding the early furious play, and either matching or eliminating their intensity will be important.

Each still considers the game a measuring stick to define their respective team's progress.

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

Aycock has beaten Greene Central just twice since 1992.