Rocky Mount High's Rashawn Harris races down the sideline to score a 72-yard punt return touchdown during the game against South Granville on Friday at Rocky Mount High School.
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Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

Rocky Mount High's Rashawn Harris races down the sideline to score a 72-yard punt return touchdown during the game against South Granville on Friday at Rocky Mount High School.

Rocky Mount pitches shutout in season opener

By Jessie H. Nunery

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In the hallway leading toward the Rocky Mount High football locker room, there is a bulletin board full of reachable goals.

The “Darkside Crossbones” list has 12 goals individual players or the team can meet to earn decals on their helmets for the upcoming game.
 
After the Gryphons’ 2014 season-opener, coach Jason Battle and his staff willl spend plenty of time this week adding crossbones to helmets.
 
“We’re going to be putting on decals for about a month,” Battle joked.
 
Rocky Mount hit on approximately eight of their crossbone goals, scoring on offense, defense and special teams in an easy 34-0 victory against South Granville.
 
There were a number of standouts to open Battle’s third season as head coach, perhaps none as spectacular as senior Rashawn Harris.
 
Harris scored on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Joshua Carter just before the half to give the Gryphons a 20-0 lead.
 
After Rocky Mount forced a three-and-out to start the second half, Harris returned a punt 72 yards for another score.
 
It was the second consecutive season that Harris has scored on a punt return in the team’s opener.
 
“That comes natural,” Harris said. “Every time I catch a punt, I expect to run it back.”
 
Rocky Mount’s “Darkside” defense never allowed South Granville to penetrate its 20-yard line.
 
The Gryphons recovered three fumbles and allowed only 118 total yards of offense – which will earn the team a decal.
 
Carter was efficient under center, completing 7 of 11 passes for a pair of touchdows, both while out of the hashmarks.
 
“As the season goes, we’ll stay more in the pocket,” Carter said. “(Friday), we saw we could get out and throw it because of what they were running.”
 
Rocky Mount High 34
South Granville 0
SG      0     0 0 0 0
RMH  14   6 8 6 34
First Quarter
RMH – Bikembe Kearney 52 pass from Joshua Carter (conversion failed), 5:06
RMH – Broderick Caudle 22 fumble recovery (Carter conversion), 3:13
Second Quarter
RMH – Rashawn Harris 27 pass from Carter (conversion failed), 1:31
Third Quarter
RMH – Harris 72 punt return (Mallik Lewis conversion), 9:21
Fourth Quarter
RMH – Lewis 70 run (conversion failed), 6:04
SGRMH
8 First downs...........9
47–118 Rushes-yards..25–123
0 Passing yards.......118
0–2–0 Passes............7–11–0
118 Total offense.......241
5–3 Fumbles-Lost......2–1
3–15 Penalties-Yards.9–65
Individual Statistics
Rushing – SG: Earl Green 22-79; Sean Bowman 8-35; Mitchell Blackley 10-9; Chad Hiniker 3-3; Casey Flowers 4-(-6); RMH: Mallik Lewis 7-97; Broderick Caudle 5-20; Nick Bynum 3-17; B.J. Sanders 3-4; Sherrod Greene 2-1; Tyrell Forbes 2-(-6); Joshua Carter 3-(-10) 
Passing – SG: Mitchell Blackley 0-2, 0. RMH: Joshua Carter 7-11, 118.
Receiving – RMH: Bikembe Kearney 2-57; Rashawn Harris 1-27; J.C. Freeman 1-17; Chris Richardson 1-9; Tyrell Forbes 1-8; B.J. Sanders 1-1.
 
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or jhnunery@rmtelegram.com