GC's suffocating defense helps Rams defeat North Pitt
Greene Central’s Jaden Tyson finds space between North Pitt defenders in Wednesday’s game. Photo by Laieke Abebe / Neuse News
BETHEL — Greene Central’s defense is more than capable of picking up the slack while the offense continues to develop.
The Rams allowed just 61 yards in a 14-6 win over North Pitt Wednesday. Greene Central (3-3) bounced back from a 22-8 loss to North Lenoir on Sept. 27 to hold the Panthers (1-5) to just three first downs and were one kickoff return away from recording its second shutout of the season.
“I’m an Aggie, so we took that moniker ‘Blue Death’—I brought it down from Greensboro,” Wilson said. “With the exception of the kickoff return, it would’ve been another shutout. Defensively, it was a shutout and we scored — it was great to bring the turnover chain out again, a real catalyst for what we do. If we’re holding that chain two, three, four times a game, good things are happening.”
Neither team was able to garner traction early on the offensive end. Greene Central came close early in the second quarter when Jaden Tyson appeared to score from 24 yards out, but it was called back for holding and the Rams eventually punted. The Rams had a pair of second-quarter fumbles, but it was one from the Panthers which led to a 10-play, 77-yard drive, capped off with Tyson’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Tyson, playing in his first varsity game as a sophomore, said he wasn’t nervous.
“(It was) great to get the win,” Tyson said.
The Rams made it to the North Pitt 9 late in the third, but a fumble was picked up from the Panthers. Two plays later, Michael Johnson forced a fumble from North Pitt, and Zakvil Smith scooped up the ball for a touchdown to put Greene Central up 14-0.
“Coach said in practice ‘be aggressive on the ball, pick it up and run it in,’” Smith said.
North Pitt had plenty of fight, as On’teds Harris took the ensuing kickoff back for a score to end the third, then the defense recovered a fumble midway through the fourth as Greene Central had the ball on the Panthers 7. The Rams forced a three-and-out, but the Panthers did the same before blocking a punt with 2:28 to go, setting up at the Greene Central 35.
North Pitt wouldn’t be able to convert, and Debo Pigford had a first down on the other end to ice the game.
“It felt good,” Pigford said. “We’ve been working hard in practice, waiting to get this shine.”
Pigford and Tyson helped with the running game, and Perry Tingen also made six catches in his first stint as a wide receiver.
“I’ve been practicing a lot at receiver, but (hadn’t) got a lot of reps in the game,” Tingen said. “I finally got my first start on the offensive side of the ball tonight and tried to produce the best I could.”
Greene Central gets back to Eastern Carolina 2A Conference play Oct. 11 against South Lenoir at home.
Greene Central 14, North Pitt 6
GC 0 6 8 0 — 14
NP 0 0 6 0 — 6
GC — Jaden Tyson 3 run (run failed), :58
GC — Zakvil Smith 7 fumble return (Debo Pigford run), :10
NP — On’teds Harris 66 kickoff return (pass failed), :00
First Downs 12 3
Rushes-yards 35-150 27-61
Passing 11-18-0 0-6-0
Passing yards 71 0
Total yards 221 61
Punts-avg. 3-27.0 3-34.3
Penalties 8-65 10-96
Fumbles-lost 4-3 2-2
RUSHING—Greene Central: Jaden Tyson 18-72, Debo Pigford 5-48, Hezekiah Pagan 6-29, Cole Dawson 5-6, TEAM 1-minus 5. North Pitt: Raheem Jones 12-29, Alex Espinosa-Johnson 5-14, Juqual Hyman 3-13, Travis Carmon 6-3, On’teds Harris 1-2.
PASSING—Greene Central: Dawson 11-18-0, 71. North Pitt: Alex Espinosa-Johnson 0-6-0, 0
RECEIVING—Greene Central: Perry Tingen 6-41, Pagan 1-20, Pigford 3-16, Tyson 1-minus 6.