Rams stop two-point conversion try with 30 seconds left to win 49-48

Battered and bruised, Havelock’s defense needed to make a play to avoid being beaten.

The Rams had been pushed around all night. Greenville Rose scored early – on the first play of the game – and often, including a touchdown with 30 seconds left to pull within a point of the Rams.

But on a two-point attempt to win the game, Havelock’s Keion Joyner stopped Rose’s Mydreon Vines on an inside screen pass as the Rams survived 49-48 in their home opener on Friday night.

“We came together as a team, and we just knew we needed a stop,” Joyner said. “Each of us had to do our own jobs, and I was just at the right place at the right time. I just saw the linemen running free and then a man running across.”

Cramps and injuries sidelined key Havelock defensive players such as safety Trey Owens, linebacker Donte Stackhouse, and linemen Mark George and Destin Flloyd during parts of the second half. Sophomores Tyiyon Johnson and Khalil Barrett and junior Kenyatta Frazier were pressed into service and made key plays, with Frazier coming up with an interception.

“That’s why we practice the way we do,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said of making sure backup players get repetitions at practice.

Havelock’s Tony Sharpe scored four touchdowns, including what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a fourth-and-three play from 36 yards out with 1:09 left. Montrece Gatling ran in the two-point conversion, lifting the Rams to a 49-42 lead.

However, Rose’s Cornell Powell, who has committed to play at Clemson in college, returned the ensuing kickoff to the Ram 35-yard line. On third down from the 15-yard line, quarterback Ryan Goodwin found Vines on an inside slant for a touchdown, pulling Rose to within 49-48 with just half a minute left.

After stopping Rose’s two-point try, Havelock recovered the ensuing onside kick, improving to 4-0 by the narrowest of margins.

“I’m spent,” Bryant said. “I like those 42-0 games a lot better.”

Rose, which came in averaging more than 60 points per game, got a 65-yard touchdown run from Dontavies Harris on the game’s first play. Havelock responded instantly when Trey Owens returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, giving the Rams a 7-6 lead just 25 seconds into the contest and setting the stage for a back-and-forth contest in which both defenses struggled.

Harris, who rushed for 165 yards in the contest on 27 carries, added a 2-yard scoring run and also caught a touchdown pass in a first half that ended with Havelock leading 41-34. Powell had two touchdown catches on the night and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the Rampants.

“The reason we play good teams is so they can expose our weaknesses so we can fix them before conference play,” Bryant said. “Rose did that tonight.”

Havelock quarterback Corey Cooper threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery Harris and also had a 22-yard touchdown run. He was 8 of 18 through the air for 102 yards. But it was Sharpe the Rams turned to on fourth-and-three from the Rose 36, trailing by a point with just more than a minute left in the game.

“I was getting ready to send Tony out of the game because I thought he needed a breather,” Bryant said. “He said he was good, so we went with our power play and the right side of the line blocked well, and Kendall Frazier kicked out the linebacker and Justin Wears had a big block. It was just a great job blocking and a great job running.”

Sharpe carried the ball 30 times for 223 yards, his second straight game with more than 200 yards rushing.

“I just know I can depend on my offensive line any time,” he said. “They just opened a hole for me to shoot through. Fighting through all the injuries during the game, I tried not to show it. I just had to fight through it for the rest of the team.”

Bryant said he was proud of how his team came back to get the victory but said much work was needed as the Rams prepare to host Northside at 7 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.

“I’m happy as can be that our team fought back and didn’t quit and won the game on the last play of the game,” Bryant said. “But, I’m really upset at a lot of the things we did offensively, defensively and on special teams. … We’ve got work to do.”

Boxscore

Rose 14 20 0 14 -48

HHS 21 20 0 8 -49

First Quarter

Rose – Dontavies Harris, 65-yard run, kick failed, 11:49

HHS – Trey Owens, 94-yard kickoff return, John Mills kick, 11:35

Rose – Harris, 2-yard run, Andrew Phillips 2-point pass from Ryan Goodwin, 8:04

HHS – Tony Sharpe, 38-yard run, Mills kick, 7:11

HHS – Sharpe, 2-yard run, Mills kick, :00

Second Quarter

Rose – Harris, 7-yard pass from Goodwin, Ryan Nease kick, 11:15

HHS – Jeffery Harris, 16-yard pass from Corey Cooper, 2-point pass failed, 7:55

Rose – Cornell Powell, 26-yard pass from Goodwin, Nease kick, 6:58

HHS – Sharpe, 4-yard run, Millis kick, 3:03

Rose – Powell, 84-yard kickoff return, kick failed, 2:51

HHS – Cooper, 22-yard run, Mills kick, :49

Fourth Quarter

Rose – Powell, 11-yard pass from Goodwin, Caleb Edwards two-point pass from Goodwin, 4:34.

HHS – Sharpe, 36-yard run, Montrece Gatling two-point run, 1:09

Rose – Mydreon Vines, 15-yard pass from Goodwin, two-point pass failed, :30