Nash Central moved the ball inside Rocky Mount High’s 30 yard-line four separate times Friday at Nash Central High School, and each time the Bulldogs were turned away without points.
A quick offensive burst was enough for the Gryphons’ defense, which made two scores stick in a 13-6 victory against Nash Central.
“Basically we had to get ourselves together, get focused, and stay with what we got from the first and second quarter,” Rocky Mount High safety Michael Hines said. “We were arguing with each other and getting frustrated, but we were finally able to get it together and get a win.”
The Gryphons (6-0, 1-0 Big East) already have surpassed their conference and overall win totals from 2011.
Despite gaining 112 yards of total offense, Rocky Mount was able to defeat Nash Central (2-4, 0-1) because of a special teams touchdown and defense at the right times.
“Nash Central played a good football game, we were just able to withstand it,” Rocky Mount coach Jason Battle said. “(Nash Central) just played well. We were able to hang on.”
Rocky Mount looked on the way to a comfortable victory after a dominant first quarter.
After the Bulldogs’ first possession, Rashawn Harris took the punt back 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Gryphons a 6-0 lead.
Running back Mason Hines ran 41 yards for a touchdown on Rocky Mount’s next possession, capping a 5-play, 81-yard drive.
The Bulldogs managed 62 yards of offense in the first half, but their defense was able to keep Rocky Mount at bay for the remainder of the game.
Excluding Hines’ touchdown, Nash Central held him to 13 carries for 13 yards.
“I wasn’t worried when we were down, 13-0,” Nash Central coach Kevin Crudup said. “That never fazed me one bit, because I knew we had the capability of scoring points and
I knew our defense had the capability to stop them.”
The Bulldogs’ first trip inside the 30 ended with a turnover on downs after Khalil Macklin’s passes on third and fourth down were dropped.
Nash Central running back Jarius Richardson (18 carries, 108 yards) gave the Nash Central offense its first big play in the third quarter, scampering 35 yards for a touchdown.
On return trips inside the Gryphons’ 30 yard-line, Nash Central drives ended with a missed field goal, a fumble and another turnover on downs.
On a crucial fourth-and-11 on Rocky Mount’s 22 yard-line with two minutes to play, Macklin’s pass to a wide-open receiver in the end zone was dropped.
“We just didn’t make plays, there’s no other way to say it,” Crudup said. “We didn’t have anybody to make plays for us.”
After a year in which it went winless in the Big East, Rocky Mount finds itself in a position that it hasn’t been very often in the recent past: First place in the conference.
“I’m happy, myself, because 6-0 for the Gryphons – we haven’t been here for a long time,” Hines said. “I’m wishing for many, many, many more wins, and hopefully conference champs.”
Rocky Mount High 13 Nash Central 6 RMH 13 0 0 0 – 13 NC 0 0 6 0 – 6 First Quarter RMH – Rashawn Harris 49 punt return (kick fails), 7:08 RMH – Mason Hines 41 run (Micah Varnell kick), 1:35 Third Quarter NC – Jarius Richardson 35 run (kick blocked), 8:07 RMHNC 9 First downs...............13 30–112 Rushes-yards.....40–187 27 Passing yards...............21 3–8–1 Passes................2–6–0 139 Total offense.........208 2–1 Fumbles-Lost........1–1 6–29 Penalties-Yards.....7–57 Individual Statistics Rushing – RMH: Mason Hines 14-54; Tyrell Williams 5-33; Broderick Caudle 5-21; Harris 3-13; Markeyes Shaw 2-7; JT Smith 1-(-6). NC: Jarius Richardson 18-108; Jarod Richardson 8-31; Khalil Macklin 6-28; Collin Staton 8-20. Passing – RMH: JT Smith 3-7-0, 27. Mason Hines 0-1. NC: Khalil Macklin 2-6-0, 21. Receiving – RMH: Michael Hines 3-27. NC: Quentin McNair 1-22; Jaquan Wilkins 1-(-1).
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or firstname.lastname@example.org