Goldsboro claims Carolina Conference football title outright
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 7, 2009 11:09 PM
AYDEN -- Outright champs.
Andre Montgomery bullied his way through the Ayden-Grifton defense for 285 yards and five touchdowns, and led Goldsboro to a 39-7 victory Friday evening.
The Cougars (9-2 overall) secured the Carolina 1-A Conference championship outright with a 5-0 league worksheet. It's the program's second title during Eric Reid's three-year tenure as head coach and seventh overall since 1972.
"We're excited about it," said Reid. "I think the guys came out (tonight) and played good ball. I'm proud of my kids, but we've still got work to do. (We have) the playoffs (next) and it's win, or go home.
"Now, it gets harder."
But Montgomery certainly made it look easy against the Chargers. A News-Argus All-Area selection last season, the junior fullback broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. Montgomery trotted into the end zone on runs of 7, 46, 45 and 24 yards.
Backfield mate Freddie Jones surpassed the 1,000-yard mark this season with a 109-yard, one-touchdown performance on just 12 carries. Overall, the Cougars compiled 434 yards rushing and 441 yards of total offense.
"I'm very proud of my offensive line and they have really grown this season," smiled Reid. "That's our mainstay. If we can establish the run, then the pass will come into play.
"I'm proud of our running backs, especially Andre. He answered the call tonight and I can't talk enough about him. He's something special."
Playoff-bound Ayden-Grifton (6-5, 3-2 CC) lost back-to-back league games for the first time since joining the Carolina Conference.
"When you're young, fragile and have a lack of confidence, all it takes is one mistake," said Ayden-Grifton coach Paul Cornwell. "We needed to play flawless to have a chance and we're not at that point yet."
The Cougars' defense forced three-and-out series on the Chargers' first two possessions and stopped a third drive on downs inside the red zone. Ayden-Grifton avoided the shutout on Justin Whitaker's 3-yard plunge before halftime, but Cornwell's team wouldn't find the end zone again.
"I thought our kids fought back at the end of the first half," said Cornwell. "We had two nice drives and got in the red zone ... one came up short and one we scored. I think we took a step forward in overcoming that (Montgomery's first TD).
"At the start of the second half, we had momentum and moved the football. When something bad happened, instead of responding like we did in the first half, we didn't respond as well and continued to make more mistakes."
Goldsboro didn't allow a second-half first down and held Ayden-Grifton to 145 yards of total offense. The Cougars have yielded just four touchdowns in their last 16 quarters of play this season, and have limited an opponent to one touchdown or less in three straight games.
"Isn't that awesome?" said Reid of his defense. "Coach (Charles) Lane and coach Robert Jones have done a tremendous job with that defense. Our kids have bought into it, and it shows.
"Our kids flew around the ball the second half. Once you start doing that and make some plays, then you start having fun. I think that's what happened as the game progressed."
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