09/14/13 — Two late defensive stops lift Goldsboro past CBA

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Two late defensive stops lift Goldsboro past CBA

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 14, 2013 11:13 PM


Charles B. Aycock almost delivered the knockout blow.

Goldsboro wobbled, but didn't go down.

The Cougar defense responded with two key stops in a county battle that looked more like a 12-round heavyweight fight at Cougar Stadium on Friday evening. Joshua Wootson's fumble recovery and Toric Best's interception in the end zone provided the knockout punched Goldsboro needed in a wild, 40-30 victory.

"It was an up-and-down battle, proud that my guys didn't give up," Cougars head coach Eric Reid said. "The defense stepped up when we needed them ... came up big in certain situations. The guys really gave a gutsy effort tonight.

"I'm proud of them."

The latest installment in the series, which began in 2001, turned into a 48-minute display of athleticism.

Running back Rasheid Malette carried the ball on all 20 of Goldsboro rushing plays before leaving with a sprained ankle late in the third quarter. The senior returned the second-half kickoff 81 yards to the house -- the first of two special-teams TDs recorded by the Cougars (2-2 overall) on the night.

Aycock's Neil Clark exited in the third quarter after compiling 178 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown gallop just 18 seconds after Malette's kickoff return. Golden Falcons head coach Steve Brooks said Clark suffered from cramps despite keeping himself hydrated throughout the week.

"Wow," Brooks said. "I thought that was probably one of the better Goldsboro teams I've seen in a while. The running back, my God, having him and the quarterback they had last year, I don't remember that kid (Malette) running that hard if that's the same kid.

"It was a heavyweight boxing match tonight. They were Tyson."

TJ Morrow's 90-yard scoring strike to Michael Eutsey pulled the Golden Falcons to within 26-23 as time expired in the third quarter. Morrow threw for 131 yards, well below his season average on just 13 attempts.

It was Eutsey's fourth TD reception of the season.

"I was praying he'd overthrow it," Reid said of Morrow.

Teetering on the edge, Goldsboro answered the bell on James Clyde's 80-yard kickoff return just 16 seconds later.

Aycock (3-1) still had some fight left.

With Clark sidelined and Taz Groves in the backfield, Morrow orchestrated a 7-play, 65-yard scoring drive that ended on Groves' 2-yard plunge. The Golden Falcons' defense forced a 3-and-out, but the Cougars got the ball back when Wootson recovered a fumble at the CBA 10-yard line.

Two plays later, Best pushed the lead to 40-30 with a 5-yard scoring run.

"The magic had run out that point," Brooks said. "The ball went to the ground and sometimes that happens. Unfortunately, it happened to us at the wrong moment. We, I felt like, had the momentum at that point and we could have driven the field and scored.

"I thought at that moment, they were on their heels a little bit (and) they were a little gassed."

Best thwarted Aycock's final touchdown chance by intercepting Morrow in the end zone. Clyde broke up the pass intended for Eutsey, who tipped it and watched it land in Best's hands.