Published: 10:36 AM, Sat Sep 15, 2012
Gray's Creek uses strong ground game to batter Douglas Byrd, 42-15
When asked to describe his team's Wing-T offense, Gray's Creek running back Justis Richardson took it out of the schematic and into the fraternal.
He said each time the Bears break off a run, it comes with the inescapable knowledge that it was a collective effort.
"It's a formation, but it's more like a brotherhood," Richardson said.
That spirit was hard to miss Friday night as Gray's Creek's running game paved the way for a 42-15 victory at Douglas Byrd in a Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conference showdown.
The Bears (1-0, 4-1) racked up 389 yards on the ground. Ken McDowell was responsible for 181 of those while Richardson tallied 116.
"When we break big runs and block real good, we give encouragement to keep them going," Richardson said. ". It's a band of brothers more than anything."
Both Richardson and Bears coach David Lovette said that, considering the defensive test Douglas Byrd (0-1, 3-2) posed, Friday night's offensive performance was the best of the season.
"We put up 42 points on a good Douglas Byrd team," Lovette said. "I would say this was our best all-around offensive effort of the year. . We had a lot more balance."
And from the start, it was hard to miss.
McDowell took his first carry 37 yards, sparking a drive that ended with him scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard rush. He found the end zone again on the Bears' next drive, breaking free for a 26-yard scoring run.
A solid kickoff return set up Douglas Byrd's first score as Garry Lewis plowed in from 3 yards away. He broke free for a 50-yard run on the Eagles' next possession and scored on a 3-yard run that gave Douglas Byrd a brief 15-14 lead.
It lasted all of 37 seconds as Gray's Creek quarterback Joe Wallace found Garrett Jayne open underneath, allowing the senior tight end to take it 53 yards for a touchdown.
What looked like a shootout quickly devolved into a one-sided affair as the Eagles' offense sputtered.
Douglas Byrd missed a scoring opportunity when it drove to the 2-yard line just before halftime. It crossed midfield three times in the second half, but couldn't register a point.
Douglas Byrd coach Russell Stone said the shaky offensive performance - the Eagles registered 247 yards of total offense - wasn't helped by quarterback Breon Davis playing through a lingering injury and the lack of a deep reservoir of polished playmakers.
"We had our chances to get back in the game and the defense kept giving us chances, we just couldn't get it done," Stone said.
Meanwhile, Gray's Creek kept the pressure on, scoring on a 1-yard Wallace touchdown run in the second quarter, a 79-yard touchdown run from Richardson and a 25-yard interception return by Jeffrey Gibson.
Gray's Creek 42, Douglas Byrd 15
GC - Ken McDowell 2 run (kick failed)
GC - McDowell 26 run (Joe Wallace run)
DB - Lewis 3 run (Alonzo Hurtado pass from Davis)
DB - Garry Lewis 5 run (Lewis kick)
GC - Garrett Jayne 53 pass from Wallace
GC - Wallace 1 run (Taylor Sawicki kick)
GC - Justis Richardson 79 run (Sawicki kick)
GC - Jeff Gibson 25 interception return (kick failed)
Rushing: GC - McDowell 27-181, Richardson 10-116, Wallace 13-79, Dion Rackley 2-13. DB - Lewis 16-96, Breon Davis 6-(-11), Andrew Byrd 3-22, Hurtado 2-4, Isiah Avery 1-0.
Passing: GC - Wallace 3-6-0 73. DB - Davis 11-27-1 136.
Receiving: GC - Jayne 2-79, Rackley 1-(-6). DB - Lewis 5-56, Hurtado 2-36, Jose Sanchez 3-33, Jacob Milligan 1-11.
Records: Gray's Creek 0-0, 4-1; Douglas Byrd 0-0, 3-2
Next game: Union Pines at Gray's Creek, Overhiills at Douglas Byrd
Staff writer Stephen Schramm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 486-3536.