Published 9:11 pm Sunday, October 25, 2009

CREEKSVILLE – They had limousines for the Homecoming court Friday night at Northampton-East.

They could have ordered a second fleet for the football team.

The Rams made the Homecoming crowd – featuring the 30-year return of the Class of ’79 – a happy bunch has they took a 42-0 shutout win over Gaston KIPP Pride.

Coupled with their 21-14 win over Northampton-West the Rams won the mythical ‘county championship’.

Quarterback Phillip Dickens finished with 94 yards rushing and ran for four touchdowns while passing for another. Charles Cumbo was on the receiving end of Dickens’ touchdown toss for his only score on the night. Je’wan Boone rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown to complete the Rams’ scoring.

“We had our best week of practice all year just this week,” said East coach Greg Watford. “Our focus was also there tonight and it showed tonight better than it has been in the past.”

After their defense stopped the Panthers on KIPP Pride’s first drive and forced a punt, East marched 62 yards for their first score in just four plays as Dickens ran off-tackle on a keeper and sprinted twelve yards to the end zone for his first touchdown on the night. The extra-point kick was blocked and the Rams lead, 6-0.

On the Rams’ second possession, Zach Epps took the kickoff 33 yards to his own 43 but Jaquan Britt fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and it was recovered by East’s Darrell Newsome on the 42. However a penalty on the series pushed the Rams back and eventually the ball went over on downs.

East started their third drive of the night on their own 46 and after a pair of runs from Hyshawn Hewett and another from Dickens had moved to the Panthers’ 34-yard line. Dickens then hit a wide open Cumbo on a fly pattern and he outran all but one defender, tripping up at the one-yard line. From there it took just one play from Dickens and a two point conversion to make it 14-0 to close out the first quarter.

KIPP Pride had their best drive of the night to open the second quarter; but despite driving deep into Ram territory down to the East 20-yard line. Then after an incompletion, safety Evans Grant picked off Panther quarterback Terrance Rodgers at the 1-yard line and nearly took it to the house before being dragged down at the KIPP 31.

It then took the Rams just four plays to find pay dirt as Dickens called his own number again from five yards out and this time the point-after kick was good to make it 21-0.

East’s final drive of the quarter was just as successful as they marched 77 yards and capped it off with just 51 seconds left in the half as Dickens hit Cumbo for a second time on the night and this time in the back of the end zone for a score. The point-after kick was again blocked by KIPP and the two teams settled for a 27-0 East lead at halftime.

East opened the second half by marching 82 yards for another score that made it 35-0; then after Cameron Peele picked off his second interception of the night; Dickens capped a 52 yard drive with an eight-yard scamper and the final score of the night.

East’s defense, led by Hewett, Demarcus Cofield, and Tyreke Jacobs did the rest to preserve the shutout.

“Being shutout is a little harder for the kids to accept than the coaches,” said Panthers coach John Thomas. “The tough thing is keeping them motivated because despite the losses we haven’t given up.”

“We’re starting to get the pieces back together,” said Watford, “and the kids are starting to buy into what we’re trying to do. County championships are fine, but it’s the conference and the state title’s that we want.”

“As I told them,” he added with a wink, “all things start over in a couple of weeks and I love being hard to beat late in October.”