Golden Falcon's attack grounded
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 22, 2009 1:50 AM
HOPE MILLS -- Tyheim Pitt knelt at midfield.
Tears flowed from eyes onto a sweat-stained, mud-covered jersey.
Charles B. Aycock head coach Randy Pinkowski walked back toward the senior middle linebacker and said not a word as he patted him on the back. Pitt rose to his feet and their facial expressions told the story.
The Golden Falcons' journey through the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA (large-school) football playoffs ended in disappointing fashion Friday evening. Second-seeded Gray's Creek overcame three turnovers and pulled away for a 23-13 victory.
"We have a senior-ladened team who has done a very good job and worked hard all season long," said an upbeat Pinkowski. "Nobody ever wants to see it come to an end."
Aycock fans rewarded their team with a standing ovation and loud cheers as the players shook hands at midfield after the game. The Golden Falcons fell to 0-4 all-time in second-round postseason contests since 1981.
The Bears limited senior tailback Marcus Cobb to a hard-earned 74 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. Cobb finished 24 yards shy of the 2,000-yard mark, but is among the all-time top rushers in program history that includes CBA Hall of Fame members Charlie Van Hoy and Shelton Robinson.
Aycock compiled 241 yards of total offense and ran just 10 offensive plays in the second half before its final possession.
"They defensed us well and kept us from getting into any kind of rhythm," said Pinkowski. "We couldn't get our big back off (and running). They really brought a lot of pressure up the middle, and brought both (line) backers on a read blitz.
"The down linemen were coming real hard and their defensive ends did a great job stepping up the backside, taking away the trap. The pressure up the middle made it hard to get the trap game going."
Gray's Creek forced just two three-and-out series in the opening half and yielded one touchdown on two Aycock red-zone possessions. Cobb's 3-yard plunge put the Golden Falcons ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.
The Bears answered with Ryan Davis' 13-yard run midway through the second period. Davis finished with 76 yards and two TDs on 21 totes, while backfield mate Devonte Cooley rambled for a game-high 167 yards on 22 carries.
"Their backs did a great job of keep their feet churning, keeping their heads down," said Pinkowski. "They broke through a lot of tackles. Several times we had tackles in the backfield, they slipped out and kept going.
"You really have to wrap them up and play tough against them to get their backs on the ground. They found their rhythm eventually and we could never get ours going.
The teams traded touchdowns on their opening possessions of the second half. Davis put the Bears in front with an 8-yard run and Aycock countered with Tyler Farmer's 1-yard dive. Pitt set up the score by scooping up a fumbled snap and racing 50 yards before getting caught by a Gray's Creek defender.
Cooley's 18-yard touchdown and a fumble led to Stephen Nalls' 32-yard field goal, which completed the fourth-quarter scoring.
"I'm happy," said Pinkowski. "This is a great group of kids and super group to work with."