10/03/09 — Rams rally past Panthers in EPC 2-A play

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Rams rally past Panthers in EPC 2-A play

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 3, 2009 11:05 PM

SNOW HILL -- They're not quite super heroes, but Greene Central's defense knows a thing or two about saving the day.

The Rams forced three turnovers including a game-winning interception return for a touchdown in a 27-26 come-from-behind, homecoming win over North Pitt on Friday night.

Eric Campbell's 46-yard pick six of Panthers quarterback Wesley Warren with just over eight minutes to play gave Greene Central the final lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Six plays later, Brandon Bishop intercepted North Pitt's Matthew Rankin. The Panthers drove to the Rams 22-yard line with 90 seconds remaining, but couldn't convert on fourth-and-10. Greene Central stopped North Pitt four times on fourth down and T.J. McPhail added an interception in the first half.

"We've got a scrappy bunch of kids that continue to battle back and continue to battle back," said Rams head coach Ken Grantham. "We left the defense on the field way too much and they found a way to get it done. We may not be the best group of athletes or the fastest or the strongest, but we've got a scrappy group of kids that will get out there and fight."

Greene Central led 20-18 early in the third quarter before Chris Grimes' 44-yard run for a touchdown on a fake punt and two-point conversion put the Panthers in front 26-20.

After moving the ball methodically in the first half, the Rams struggled to generate an offensive rhythm over the final two quarters. Greene Central recorded just one first down after halftime.

"We had some penalties that put us in bad situations," said Grantham. "We had some trouble picking up the blitz and that didn't help. It boils down to execution and answering the call in the second half."

Aaron Harper's 14-yard touchdown run and R.C. Carillo's extra point gave the Rams a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Harper finished with 103 yards on 13 carries.

North Pitt answered less than two minutes later on Warren's 22-yard touchdown pass to Darrian Jones. The two-point conversion attempt failed and Greene Central held a 7-6 advantage.

Mike Baker's 18-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the second quarter gave the Rams a 14-6 cushion.

Greene Central had an interception and lost a pair of fumbles on three consecutive possessions in the second quarter. The Panthers cashed in on the second turnover with Tyrone Perkins' 3-yard plunge. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and North Pitt trailed 14-12.

Perkins' turned Brandon Suit's fumble into a 4-yard score that gave the Panthers an 18-14 lead.

The Rams responded with a nine-play, 70-yard drive that culminated in Baker's 6-yard touchdown run. Carrillo's point after was no good, but Greene Central led 20-18 advantage at the half.

The Rams (3-4 overall, 1-1 EPC) travel to Tarboro next Friday.