By the time the season is complete, Rocky Mount High will be able to write a book or perhaps deliver speeches about momentum.
The Gryphons’ latest footnote to the noun came Friday night against Wilson Fike.
With Rocky Mount holding a six-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, its quarterback and top running back made sure the Gryphons would take back momentum that seemed to be lost somwhere between the locker room and the start of the second half.
J.T. Smith completed an 11-yard back-shoulder pass to Mason Hines, and two plays later, Hines scored a touchdown that put away the game in Rocky Mount’s 28-14 victory against Wilson Fike.
“That pass was the play to get our momentum back,” Hines said.
Rocky Mount’s victory sets up next week’s game against Southern Nash, and both teams will enter the contest 2-1 in the Big East and tied for second place. The Gryphons might have had to dig deeper if Smith and Hines weren’t on the same page.
Running the play, “45 Counter,” Smith dropped back on third and long and delivered a ball toward the sideline. Hines, known for his running ability more than his pass-catching skills, hauled in the pass and kept his body in the field of play at the 30-yard line.
Both players said they saw Wilson Fike’s safety defend over the top, which took away Hines’ post route.
Smith was hit as he delivered the pass, but Hines made the grab, nonetheless.
“I feel, as a big player on our team, I had to make a big play,” said Hines, who finished with a game-high 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns. “Third or fourth down is the best time to make a big play.”
Hines scored on an 18-yard run two plays after the catch, and the Gryphons’ defense picked off two passes (Dewayne Moore, Channing Green) on Wilson Fike’s final two drives to preserve the victory.
Rocky Mount led 20-0 in the second quarter, but the Gryphons could not push the game to a blowout in their favor. Wilson Fike (2-6, 1-2) scored a touchdown just before halftime, and a personal foul penalty by the Gryphons extended the Golden Demons’ first drive of the second half, which also resulted in a touchdown.
Rocky Mount (7-1, 2-1) failed to convert a first down in the third quarter.
“We couldn’t finish drives,” Smith said. “We were running in between the tackles and getting blown up.”
This year’s Gryphons squad has learned to deal with the good and the bad.
“We’re starting fast in the first half, and somewhere in between we’re losing it,” Gryphons coach Jason Battle said. “We’re becoming relaxed, and that’s not good.”
Rocky Mount High 28
Wilson Fike 14
WF 0 7 7 0 – 14
RMH 7 13 0 8 – 28
RMH – Mason Hines 11 run (Micah Varnell kick), 10:58
RMH – J.T. Smith 1 run (Varnell kick), 11:16
RMH – Broderick Caudle 6 run (kick failed), 3:39
WF – Coley Blake 16 catch from Sam Ellis (Tanner McCarthy kick), 0:26
WF – Ellis 5 run (McCarthy kick), 7:01
RMH – Hines 18 run (Hines conversion), 7:18
12 First downs.................15
60 Passing yards............46
232 Total offense.............337
Rushing – WF: Jorelle Farmer 15-85; Shakka Blackston 10-60; Sam Ellis 11-25; Anthony Evans 1-2. RMH: Mason Hines 16-111; Ahmad Harreell 15-94; Rashawn Harris 4-27; Broderick Caudle 7-21; Channing Green 2-20; No. 15 3-17; Markeyes Shaw 2-0.
Passing – WF: Sam Ellis 5-13, 60. RMH: J.T. Smith 5-12, 46.
Receiving – WF: Shakka Blackston 2-22; Blake Coley 1-16; Jorelle Farmer 1-15; Alcindor Winstead 1-7. RMH: Mason Hines 3-24; Broderick Caudle 1-17; Michael Hines 1-5.
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or email@example.com