10/12/06 — Game of the Week -- Goldsboro at Greene Central

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Game of the Week -- Goldsboro at Greene Central

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2006 2:40 PM

Fourth-year Goldsboro High coach Maurice Jackson says his team is experiencing "a funk of bad luck."

That's not good when you're 0-7 and your next opponent -- Greene Central -- is ranked No. 8 among the state's Class 2-A football programs.

"We're in a little daze ... funk, where we can't get over the hump right now," Jackson said. "The guys have been playing hard, but we just haven't had the best of luck.

"We're going through a bad patch right now."

That patch has been full of prickly thorns -- turnovers, penalties, missed assignments. A fourth-quarter turnover enabled Tarboro to pull away for a 21-8 victory last Friday.

And turnovers are not recommended against the Eastern Plains' top defense, which has forced opponents into eight miscues in the last eight quarters combined. The Rams allow 11.7 points a game, but have limited their last two foes -- Charles B. Aycock and North Pitt -- to a single touchdown apiece.

Greene Central held North Pitt to a meager 24 yards of total offense and two first downs.

"The defense has been playing really well lately," Greene Central coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "(Andre) Quinerly, (Trey) Scott and (Marvin) Shackleford do a great job getting them ready to play every week.

"We've got different guys every week who lead us in tackles ... an abundance of guys who make plays, so we're fortunate in that area."

Brandon Sutton, the reigning EPC defensive player of the year, has posted a team-leading 62 tackles and nine sacks. J.J. Thompson has 48 stops, including 16 behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks. Reggie Sanders and Danny Moye have recorded 44 and 40 tackles, respectively.

Overall, Greene Central has eight defenders who have each collected 25 or more tackles and a combined 19 sacks in 28 quarters played.

"It's always a challenge to go up against a top-10 opponent that has a bunch of athletes and does things well," Jackson said. "You can't afford to make mistakes against teams like Greene Central because they make you pay for those.

"We just have to go in there, limit our mistakes and execute."

Goldsboro averages a little more than 250 yards of total offense per outing. Tremé Boone has rushed for 793 yards and just three touchdowns, while quarterback Tim Kornegay has thrown for 520 yards. He's accounted for eight total touchdowns, including five through the air -- all to Jamar Branch.

The Cougars' athleticism concerns Bryant, who remembers last year's contest in Goldsboro. Greene Central turned back Goldsboro twice inside the 10-yard line and escaped with a 12-0 victory.

"They've got a really good running back in Boone, who is the leading returning rusher in the conference from last year," said Bryant, who is 14-2 all-time against EPC competition. "Their defense is tall and fast ... moves around very well and gets to the ball quick. We have to stay on our blocks longer than we have been (in the past).

"They've hit a tough patch here the last several weeks, but they're athletic enough to turn that 'o-fer' record around real quick."

Greene Central's athleticism, particularly quarterback Cameron Shelton, worries Jackson. The Cougars flushed Shelton from the pocket last season, but the heady signal caller broke loose for some key runs.

Shelton has three rushing touchdowns this season and has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,011 yards.

"We have to get our pass rushers in position to put pressure on Cameron to get rid of the ball," Jackson said. "Last year, we got into the pocket and forced him to run, but we didn't contain him. We've got to do a better job of containing him and keeping him inside."

Goldsboro's defense yields 308.5 yards a game.