Rams get two second-half touchdowns to down Vikings 38-20

Leading 22-0, Havelock seemed prepared to ease into another Coastal 3A Conference victory.

White Oak had other plans.

The Vikings rallied to pull within two points of Havelock in the third quarter, but the Rams responded with two long drives to secure a 38-20 victory on a rainy Thursday at Havelock High.

“We talked at halftime that we just weren’t playing Havelock football,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “We weren’t playing physical up front. We got up 22-0 and we kind of coasted. The guys thought the game was over.

“Give credit to White Oak. They played hard. They gave us a great game.”

White Oak’s Brett Courtney recovered a Montrece Gatling fumble at the start of the third quarter, and Vikings turned into points on Bobby Smith’s 16-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion, cutting Havelock’s lead to 22-20 with 6:15 left in the third quarter.

“That was a good drive,” White Oak coach Eric Leary said. “We had a lot of guys working hard together, buying in as a family.”

But Havelock quickly regained controlled. The Rams scored in six plays on Gatling’s 10-yard run. Corey Cooper’s 2-point run put Havelock ahead 30-20 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.

The Rams put the game away with a 97-yard drive in nine plays on their next drive. Gatling started the march with a 15-yard run and finished it with a 21-yard score. Cooper’s conversion game the Rams a 38-20 lead with 9:21 left in the game.

“It all started up front,” said Gatling, filling in for an injured Tony Sharpe. “The offensive line did a great job blocking.”

Gatling said he felt like he had to make up for fumbling the ball at the beginning of the third quarter.

“I felt like at that point that I let my team down,” he said. “But they still had my back. They had been doing a great job all night, and I felt like I had to step up for them.”

Havelock (7-0, 2-0) started the game strong. Cam Hutchinson had a 1-yard touchdown run, and Gatling added a 7-yarder in the first quarter. Cooper threw 42 yards to Kenyatta Frazier, giving the Rams a 22-0 lead with 11:50 left in the second quarter.

White Oak (3-4, 0-2) got quarterback Morton Roop’s 10-yard scramble on fourth down for a score and his 1-yard sneak on the last play of the first half, cutting the margin to 22-12. The touchdown came after a Hail Mary pass to the 1-yard line in which the clock hit double zeroes, but after a couple of minutes to confer, the referees determined that White Oak had called a time-out with one second on the clock. The Rams, who had already left the field to go to the locker room, had to return for the final play.

“I thought they played with tremendous effort,” Leary said of his players. “The kids have been really showing a lot of buy-in to what we’re trying to do with our program. Nobody’s any higher quality than Havelock. I won’t say we went toe-to-toe with them, but we showed up. I was proud of our guys for playing as hard as they did.”

Defensively for Havelock, Trey Owens had an interception and Jeffery Harris had a fumble recovery. Brandon Boyd recorded a sack.

The game was the second straight for Havelock in rainy conditions on a Thursday night. Last week, the Rams beat West Carteret 41-6.

“The game was ugly, the field was ugly, but the W is pretty,” Bryant said.

Havelock is next scheduled to play at West Craven on Oct. 9.

Scoring Summary

White Oak 0 12 8 0 -20

Havelock 16 6 8 8 -38

First Quarter

H – Cam Hutchinson, 8-yard run, Hutchinson run, 6:34

H – Gatling 7-yard run, Hutchinson run, 2:34

Second Quarter

H – Kenyatta Frazier, 42-yard pass from Cooper, run failed, 11:50

WO – Morton Roop, 10-yard run, run failed, 3:15

WO – Roop, 1-yard run, run failed, 0:00

Third Quarter

WO – Bobby Smith, 16-yard run, Smith run, 6:15

H – Gatling, 10-yard run, Cooper run, 4:28

Fourth Quarter

H – Gatling, 21-yard run, Cooper run, 9:21