10/01/06 — Rams deal Falcons first loss of season

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Rams deal Falcons first loss of season

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 1, 2006 2:17 AM

PIKEVILLE -- It wasn't the fact that his team lost last week at James Kenan that bothered Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant ... it was how they lost.

The Rams fumbled the ball away six times and gave the Tigers extra chances to strike.

On Friday at Charles B. Aycock, the Rams got back to their brand of football -- winning the turnover battle 5-1 -- and rolling to a 44-6 win over the Golden Falcons, who endured their first loss of the year.

The Rams, the reigning Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference champions, improved to 5-1 overall heading into their EPC opener next Friday at North Pitt. The Golden Falcons (5-1) host Wilson Beddingfield next Friday when Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play begins.

"We talked all week about getting back to our kind of football," said Bryant. "All phases of the game stepped up tonight."

Greene Central set the tone early by forcing a three-and-out on Aycock's first possession, then marched 75 yards on eight plays to go up 8-0 on quarterback Cameron Shelton's 22-yard strike to Curtis Braswell and Shelton's conversion run.

From there, the Rams continued to dominate the first half as they posted three more touchdowns before intermission and took a 30-0 lead.

Aycock managed just four first downs in the first half and had two turnovers against defensive end Brandon Sutton and the GC defense.

"We worked hard Monday through Thursday and that's where the game was won," Sutton said. "It was a complete team effort."

While the Rams' defense kept the Falcons under wraps, Shelton and the offense consistently took advantage of their opportunities. Shelton finished an efficient 13-of-16 passing and hit four different receivers for 191 yards and two touchdowns -- both to Braswell.

Braswell finished with 79 yards and six catches with two touchdowns, while Harrison Walston caught four passes for 84 yards -- including a 51-yard grab to set up Greene Central's first score of the second half.

Shelton was also solid on the ground with 84 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. J.J. Thompson rushed 11 times for 82 yards and posted three scores for the Rams, who finished with 404 yards of total offense.

"Jim Bob has a great team and a great staff. They had a better plan tonight, and they whipped us," Aycock coach Randy Pinkowski said. "But this was a great time for us to play this team because we're going to see more good teams like this down the road."

Aycock had 233 yards of offense with tailback Dontay Taylor accounting for 176 of the Falcons' total. Taylor rushed for 125 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run to cap a 7-play, 50-yard drive which Taylor carried on every play.

Taylor added three catches for 51 yards and had Aycock's only two first down receptions.

Falcons quarterback Thomas Pilkington, who was sacked three times, was just 9-of-22 through the air with three interceptions. Brian Thigpen had two interceptions for the Rams, while Tyrell Lane picked off one pass.

Linebacker Travis Milligan led the Aycock defense with 13 tackles as fellow backer Jarrett Covar and defensive back Jacob Pendleton added seven tackles each.

Greene Central has now won eight of the last nine meetings against the Falcons.

The loss was disappointing to Pinkowski, but he seemed more upset with how his team handled the setback.

"I'm disgusted with how these kids acted when their losing streak was taken away," he said. "I saw some things on the sideline that I didn't like. We need to learn to win with dignity and lose with grace."