Rams-Chargers combine for 40 penalties

Published 1:10 am Saturday, October 16, 2010

CREEKSVILLE – The football home for the Northampton County High School-East Rams is known as Roy F. Lowry Stadium.

After what occurred here last night (Friday), perhaps that name should be changed to Maytag Stadium.

With more laundry littering the field than one would typically find in a washing machine, NCHS-East and visiting Weldon witnessed a grand total of 40 yellow hankies dropped to the turf, resulting in a combined 285 worth of penalties….a sloppy affair won by the Chargers, 22-12.

The Rams were flagged 20 times for 165 yards. Included among those infractions were seven holding penalties and a pair each of personal fouls and unsportsmanlike behavior.

Likewise, Weldon was penalized on 20 occasions, with 120 yards of infractions marked off on the Chargers. After playing nearly penalty free in the first half (only one flag), Weldon committed 19 fouls over the final 24 minutes, including a trio of unsportsmanlike infractions.

The game even ended with flags on both teams, prompting head official Eddie Buffaloe Jr. to stop the contest with 25 seconds remaining and Weldon in possession near midfield.

But of all their costly mistakes, NCHS-East could have won by two or more touchdowns. The Rams biggest enemy was themselves, especially in the red zone.

Leading 6-0 early in the contest, NCHS-East defender Thornton Mitchell scooped up a Weldon fumble near his own 15 yardline and rumbled to the Weldon four before being dragged down from behind. That effort went for naught as the ball was brought all the way back to East 18 yardline due to an illegal use of hands penalty.

The Rams then wasted a pair of scoring opportunities in the second quarter.

The first came after big runs (21 and 18 yards) by quarterback Lashawn Pittman highlighted a drive that reached Weldon’s 14 yardline. However, back-to-back holding penalties killed that momentum and East eventually turned the ball over on downs at the 31.

Later in the same period, a fumble recovery by Hyshawn Hewitt put the Rams in business at midfield. With Pittman and Je’Wuan Boone (Northampton’s leading ground gainer with 83 yards on 10 carries) leading the way, East muscled their way to the Weldon nine yardline. From there, Boone scored what appeared to be a touchdown, but a yellow hankie for holding (one of three such calls against the Rams on this particular drive) nullified the score. NCHS-East eventually lost possession on downs at the 39 yardline.

Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity of the game came on Northampton’s opening possession of the second half. There, Kyshawn Gaskins returned the kick-off 60 yards to the Weldon 10. A “horse collar” tackle foul by Weldon on that play moved the ball to the five. Pittman gained four yards on first down. Three snaps later, now at the two yardline, Pittman appeared to break the plane of the goal line, but the referees, after a huddle to talk things over, placed the ball at the one-inch line where Weldon took over on loss of downs.

Ninety nine yards and 35 inches later, Weldon’s Chris Lynch capped a six-play drive with his 39-yard touchdown run. He also added the conversion run as Weldon led 16-6 with 7:07 left in the third quarter.

Lynch was the game’s leading rusher with 147 yards on 20 carries.

The Rams did close to within 16-12 later in the third period, but that score came courtesy of the defense as Mitchell and Evans Grant smacked Weldon quarterback Victor Mallory in the endzone, the ball squirted free and was recovered by Rams defensive lineman Tyrell Powell for a touchdown. The conversion run failed.

Weldon added an insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter. That came after Mallory was forced to track down a snap that sailed over his head. He then somehow avoided two onrushing NCHS-East defenders before hurling a 56-yard TD pass to Jaquan Mcgee.

It was a big pass play that also produced to game’s first touchdown.

Taking over near midfield after Gaskins recovered a Chargers fumble on the game’s opening kick-off, the Rams scored on a 50-yard pass from Pittman to Travis Wiggins. The PAT kick failed, leaving NCHS-East with a quick 6-0 lead.

Weldon rallied for an 8-6 halftime lead thanks to a safety (the ball rolled out of the back of the endzone on a low snap during a Rams punt) and three-yard TD run by Lynch early in the second quarter.

For the game, NCHS-East produced 170 yards of total offense (118 rushing and 52 passing). Their total penalties for the game nearly matched that offensive output.

Weldon mustered 283 total yards (227 on the ground and 56 through the air).

With the loss, NCHS-East falls to 1-8 overall and 1-3 in Tar-Roanoke Conference action. The Rams will visit Kipp-Pride of Gaston next Friday (Oct. 22).

Weldon improved to 3-4 overall (2-1 in the league).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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