08/04/11 — Rams chasing fellow EPC 2-A powers

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Rams chasing fellow EPC 2-A powers

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 4, 2011 1:47 PM

SNOW HILL -- Teams in the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference simply have to work harder to compete.

Ken Grantham knows that better than anyone.

Grantham and his Greene Central squad have been on the field the past two days polishing their plan of attack during the opening week of practice. Behind a core of 12 seniors, the Rams have steadily improved under Grantham's watch.

"We have a good group of seniors that have been here and been together for four years," Grantham said. "Those guys have worked hard over the summer and they have carried that into fall practice."

Greene Central's patented pistol-formation scheme has proved difficult to stop over the past two seasons during non-conference play but has not produced the kind of league success that the Rams covet. Playing in a conference that includes some of the elite 2-A programs in North Carolina certainly has something to do with that.

Kinston, SouthWest Edgecombe and two-time defending (small-school) state champion Tarboro all call the Eastern Plains 2-A ranks home.

"That is why it is so important to get off to a fast start in these early practices," Grantham said. "Let the kids gain some confidence and try to improve things as we get through the early part of the season. Eventually you have to play everybody in the league, so we want to be at our best when we get to that part of the schedule."

Greene Central opens the season with non-conference games against North Lenoir, Ayden-Grifton and Charles B. Aycock.

At Pikeville, Aycock head coach Randy Pinkowski has spent the first few days of practice looking at different skill players. The Golden Falcons will have to find a quarterback to replace Tyler Farmer and a go-to receiver to replace Craig Murdock, who have graduated.

Aycock gets its first organized look Aug. 12 when it scrimmages Princeton.

The Bulldawgs got their camp going Monday morning and so far long-tenured head coach Russell Williamson likes what he has seen out of his varsity group.

"We were so young last season that I think the experience we gained is paying off now," Williamson said. "We have been able to get to work and get comfortable pretty quickly."

The Bulldawgs graduated 20 seniors following their surprising 2009 season. Last year, a young squad shouldered the growing pains that come along with varsity minutes. The freshmen and sophomores who comprised the team last season are now more capable as sophomores and juniors.

"You can see it in their eyes," Williamson said. "They get to practice and they aren't scared. They are focused on what we are doing and what it takes to win football games."

Princeton has 49 players dressed for practice this week.