Rams drop opener

Published 12:58 am Saturday, August 20, 2011

CREEKSVILLE – A half-hour weather delay only added to the Northampton-East misery here Friday night.

Missed opportunities, missed tackles and a noticeably missing passion on the field spelled doom for the Rams as they suffered a 30-14 setback to the hands of visiting Granville Central High School in the season football opener for both clubs.

The Rams did flash a few signs of life on this humid night. At one point they used a 46-yard pass from Evans Grant to Travis Whitehead to highlight a five-play, 67-yard drive late in the first quarter. Four plays later, Brian Lassiter darted into the endzone from six yards out, trimming the Rams deficit to 9-6 with 4:42 left in the opening period of play.

But that was as close as it got for the home-standing Rams as Granville Central took a 16-6 halftime thanks to a 78-yard touchdown scamper by the speedy Tevin Hester just prior to the midway mark of the second quarter. Adam Yancey tacked on the PAT.

A light rain that started just before halftime intensified during the break. It did back off a bit as the two teams exited the locker room to start the second half. However, at the 7:01 mark of the third quarter, the rainfall turned heavy once again and with flashes of lightening in the distance, game officials stopped the contest for 30 minutes in an effort to protect the players and fans.

On the first snap after the game resumed, Granville Central defender Martin Alston picked off a Rams pass and returned the theft 35 yards for a touchdown. Yancey added the PAT as the Panthers extended their lead to 23-6 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

Following an exchange of punts, Northampton-East mounted their final scoring drive of the night. Starting from the Granville Central 39 yardline, the Rams used only two plays to find the endzone with the touchdown coming on a 39-yard TD pass from De’Quan Boone to Travis Wiggins. Grant and Whitehead hooked-up on the conversion pass, trimming the deficit to 23-14 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

The Rams didn’t threaten again, never crossing midfield on offense for the remainder of the game.

Granville Central did add a meaningless score inside three minutes remaining on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Daron Smith to Keyonte Lindsey. Yancey’s PAT rounded out the scoring.

The Panthers accounted for the game’s first nine points in less than one minute of the first quarter. Two points came on a safety when NCHS-East punter Kyshawn Gaskins lost his balance while reaching for a high snap and fell in the endzone at the 7:22 mark of the first quarter.

Two plays after the ensuing free kick, Smith and Alston connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass. Coupled with Yancey’s PAT, the Panthers owned a 9-0 lead with 6:27 left in the opening period.

Northampton-East finished with 221 total yards (148 through the air and 73 on the ground). Grant passed for 111 yards. Tyrell Powell led the Rams rushing attack, carrying the ball nine times for 45 yards. Whitehead was the leading receiver, catching five passes for 61 yards.

Granville Central final stats revealed 274 total yards (219 rushing; 55 passing). The Panthers ground attack was led by Jayshawn Pickett (22 rushes, 94 yards).

The Rams (0-1) will travel to Plymouth next Friday (Aug. 26) for a 7:30 p.m. non-conference outing against the Vikings.