In a game where offense took a backseat, the Grayhounds got the best of it in a 14-6 victory over the Tiny Rams last week. The win gave the Grayhounds sole possession of second place in the Pee Wee Division of the Piedmont Youth Football and Cheer League.
“After playing a hard-fought first half, our guys came back and really showed up in the second half,” said Coach Kendric Christmas, whose team is now 3-1. “They gave maximum percent effort. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”
For nearly three quarters, neither team was able to get on track offensively. All of that changed with 3:49 left to play in the third quarter. The Grayhounds’ defense forced the issue when Savien Hayes’ jarring tackle caused Isaiah Patterson to fumble after a six-yard gain. The ball popped loose and safety Joseph Harrison grabbed the bobble in mid-air and raced 25 yards down the left sideline for the game’s first touchdown. Christian Wilson added the conversion to give his team an 8-0 lead.
On their next offensive possession, the Tiny Rams were held in check and the Grayhounds got excellent field position on the Rams’ 37-yard line. Six plays later, Hayes side-stepped a would-be tackler in the backfield and outran the remaining defenders to the front corner of the end zone on a five-yard scoring run. At that juncture, it appeared that the Grayhounds had things under control with a 14-0 cushion and five minutes left to play in the game.
Despite the two-touchdown deficit, the Tiny Rams (3-2) found a way to stay in contention. Quarterback Khaliq McCummings fired a 45-yard pass to Patterson to put the Rams in scoring position. Chris Chaplin ran 15 yards to put on the ball inside the Grayhounds two-yard line. On the next play, McCummings scored on a quarterback sneak to cut the Grayhounds’ margin to eight points with 2:12 to go.
All hopes for a Tiny Rams comeback, however, vanished when the Grayhounds recovered the onsides kick.
Aside from Hayes and Harrison, the Grayhounds got stellar defensive performances from Ahmad Kellum, Kendall Williams and Benjamin Williams.
“The forced fumble that was caused by Savien’s hit was the big key,” Christmas said. “We played four quarters of football and we never gave up.”
Both teams failed to capitalize on genuine scoring opportunities in the first half. Wilson intercepted a fourth-down Tiny Rams pass and the Grayhounds took over near midfield. A facemask penalty against the Rams along with two runs by Harrison put the ball in the red zone. But the Grayhounds scoring drive fizzled when Harrison’s fourth-and-goal pass attempt fell incomplete.
The Tiny Rams took over at their own five-yard line. Patterson found an opening on the right side of the line and dashed 95 yards for a touchdown, but the score was nullified because of an illegal block in the back penalty. The first half ended in a scoreless tie.