After the excitement of the first few weeks of the season wears off, there often can be a valley in the nonconference schedule.
Friday night was not one of those games for Rocky Mount High.
The Gryphons had a wide range of emotions, failures and successes to store away for more important games down the road after they suffered a 21-7 loss at home to a strong Greenville Rose squad.
“Of course I wanted to win the football game, and we would have shocked people if we had won,” Rocky Mount High coach Jason Battle said. “I’m not discouraged because I thought we played hard, and there were a lot of things we did better tonight.”
Playing against Greenville Rose’s offensive and defensive line that could have been mistaken for a small college squad, Rocky Mount struggled offensively and finished with only 137 yards of offense.
The good within those numbers is that the Gryphons (3-1) had a few opportunites to score but they could not finish drives against a demoralizing Rampants front line that featured five-star recruit Kentavius Street.
Street, one of the state’s top 10 recruits, did not record a sack, but Battle said he did affect the Gryphons’ play-calling as they had to be mindful of where Street was.
In the end it did not matter, as Rocky Mount was held without an offensive score.
The team fell behind, 7-0, in the first quarter, and after a drive stalled and ended with a missed field goal, it looked as if Rocky Mount was going to go into the half scoreless.
Junior safety Brod Caudle lifted the team’s spirits before the half when he picked off a pass near midfield and returned it for a game-tying touchdown that had Rocky Mount believing it could knock off its long-time rival.
“We thought we would come out stronger than we did in the first half,” Caudle said. “But we got too comfortable with the interception.”
Less than two minutes into the second half, Greenville Rose’s Geoffrey Williams scored on a 70-yard run to give the Rampants a 14-7 lead that nearly was insurmountable for its strong defense.
Rocky Mount allowed another touchdown later in the quarter, but for the most part, the “Dark Side” defense can take away another strong effort.
The Gryphons allowed only 309 total yards to the best all-around team it has faced this season.
The Gryphons seemingly have the offensive firepower that will keep it from being shut out in the future.
After all, the schedule is not filled with a lot of teams like Greenville Rose.
“It was pretty humbling,” Battle said. “But that’s a good thing.”
Greenville Rose 21
Rocky Mount High 7
GR 7 0 14 0 – 21
RMH 0 7 0 0 – 7
GR – Joc Streeter 17 pass from Khalil Smith (Asa Alexander kick), 4:52
RMH – Brod Caudle 44 interception return (Micah Varnell kick), 0:48
GR – Geoffrey Williams 70 run (Alexander kick), 10:23
GR – Cornell Powell 9 pass from Smith (Alexander kick), 0:33
12 First downs...............8
90 Passing yards..........68
309 Total offense...........137
Rushing – GR: Geoffrey Williams 9-92; Nick King 11-86; Christian Pleasant 3-23; Ockwan Hart 1-13; Khalil Smith 7-3; Cornell Powell 2-2. RMH: Joseph Cooper 4-56; Mallik Lewis 12-39; Sherrod Greene 1-2; Brod Caudle 3-0; Joshua Carter 3-(-21); J.T. Smith 1-(-5); Rashawn Harris 7-(-2);
Passing – GR: Khalil Smith 10-20, 90. RMH: J.T. Smith 7-10, 49; Joshua Carter 5-8, 28
Receiving – GR: Marquise Braxton 2-27; Nick King 2-22; Geoffrey Williams 4-13; Cornell Powell 1-9; Joc Streeter 1-7; Kevin Philliips 1-18; Rashawn Brown 1-10. RMH: Bikembe Kearney 5-22; Brod Caudle 2-19; Rashawn Harris 2-13; Darius Lee 1-9; Joseph Cooper 1-4; Sherrod Greene 1-0.
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or email@example.com