GC falls to South Columbus in first round
Greene Central coaches talk to their team following the Rams’ 63-28 loss at South Columbus Friday night. Junious Smith III / Neuse News
TABOR CITY — For the second straight year, Greene Central bowed out in the playoffs to a higher-seeded team with a strong offense.
South Columbus defeated Greene Central, 63-28, in the first round of the NCHSAA 2A postseason Friday. The Stallions (12-0) ran for 538 yards in the game and nearly matched the 69 points scored by East Bladen against the Rams (6-6) in last year's second-round defeat.
"Everybody kept following behind the offensive line and they did a great job blocking," South Columbus running back Trequan Bellamy said.
South Columbus had little trouble on its opening drive, going 59 yards in four plays, capped off with a 14-yard touchdown by Bellamy. Then, after forcing a turnover on downs from the Rams, the Stallions' Rajon Graham scored from 40 yards out to put the team up 13-0 with 4:12 in the first.
Greene Central responded on its ensuing drive as Knowledge Branch's 44-yard run set up A.J. Dupree's 5-yard touchdown two plays later. South Columbus countered with Tate Lee's 4-yard touchdown and followed with another Bellamy score to put the Stallions ahead 27-8 with 4:41 left in the second.
Greene Central got within 27-14 on Cornelius Smith's 8-yard touchdown with 1:59 left before halftime, but 40 seconds later, Graham's second score put South Columbus ahead by 21 heading into intermission.
Dupree scored from 10 and 56 on the Rams' first two drives of the third, but Bellamy matched him with touchdowns of 4 and 12 on the Stallions' initial third-quarter drives. Greene Central turned it over on downs on its third drive and Graham capped off an 8-play, 54-yard drive with a 1-yard score to make it 56-28 in the waning moments of the third. Letrell Brown added a touchdown in the fourth for South Columbus to close the scoring.
Greene Central gained 398 yards in the game, including 353 rushing, but it wasn't enough.
"We knew we would have to match (South Columbus) score for score because they're such a big and physical team," Rams coach Allen Wooten said. "We've got to work harder in the weight room and at the end of the day, the better team won. I definitely feel for the seniors on the team who busted their tails every day and now we have to go back to the drawing board for next season."
Graham led South Columbus with 194 yards rushing and Bellamy added 166. For Greene Central, Branch had 185 yards on the ground and Dupree chipped in with 118.