Sherrod Greene did everything possible to keep Rocky Mount’s dream of back to back state titles alive on Friday in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A football playoffs.
The senior linebacker made numerous tackles, knocked down passes, posted two sacks, and – most importantly – played offense for the defending champion Gryphons. Rocky Mount defeated host and Mid-Piedmont Conference champ Southern Guilford 49-20 and will play at Havelock next Friday.
Greene, a South Carolina recruit, scored twice as a running back, including a 77-yard burst up the middle in the second quarter after the Storm had closed to within a point to give Rocky Mount a 21-13 lead. Greene added his second touchdown just before halftime to give the visitors a 28-13 halftime advantage, and the Gryphons never looked back.
The Storm had won their first two playoff games by a combined 66-7 score, but were unable to effectively move the ball against the Gryphon defense.
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Rocky Mount scored first after recovering the opening kickoff. Chase Miller kicked the ball to a soft spot in the field and the ball bounced backward, allowing B.J. Sanders to recover it at the Storm 20-yard line. Charlie Williams III scored on an eight yard run a few plays later to give the Gryphons an early 7-0 lead.
Gryphons sophomore Rajah McCowan was injured late in the first period attempting to catch a deep throw from quarterback Shabios Lynch. The game was stopped for over 15 minutes.
The Storm evened the score at 7-all after blocking a punt. Hakeem Knight scored on a 3-yard run with 32 seconds left in the opening quarter.
One of the wildest plays in a wild night was when Lynch connected on a pass to big Artavious Richardson, a defensive end by trade, who was heading to the end zone. Richardson was hit hard by a Southern Guilford defender and the ball jarred free. Luckily for Rocky Mount, Deangelo Collins was on the spot, recovered the ball, and carried it five more yards for the score to make it 14-7.
Kevjorick Edwards scored late in the game on a 50-yard pass from Lynch, who finished with two touchdown throws. Williams also scored in the final quarter on a 53-yard dash.