HAVELOCK - There was no "Hail Mary in Havelock" on Friday night for the Rocky Mount Gryphons - just a lot of plaguing from the Havelock defense.
The Rams' 'D' forced six 3-and-outs and caused seven fumbles (three were recovered by Havelock) en route to a 48-6 victory over the Gryphons.
Havelock players said the win carried a little of extra meaning since it was Rocky Mount that bounced them out of the playoffs a season ago.
"This felt great, for us to be able to take it back," Havelock senior linebacker Tyiyon Johnson said. "Playing linebacker, I feel like I can see everything and I know I can get to the ball. Our defense was really good tonight."
Havelock head coach Caleb King also lauded the defense's performance.
"Our tackling and defense has improved every week through tonight," King said. "That's a credit to our defensive staff and we're going to continue to get better. We know that there is no such thing as a team that's too good at tackling."
On the offensive side of the ball, the Rams were a storm as well.
Running back Khalil Barrett racked up four rushing touchdowns and 77 yards and quarterback Zach Sabdo threw for 184 yards and a touchdown to Justin Hoover.
Hoover accounted for 89 receiving yards on the night and Rams' running back Cameron Hutchinson added 56 yards on the ground and a score.
The penalties committed by the Rams, 13 for 89 yards, were almost the only things King could get on his guys about in the post game talk.
"We felt really good tonight about the game but we still have issues to work on," King said. "We beat a good football team, coach Battle is one of the best football coaches in North Carolina and they are difficult to prepare for."
Rocky Mount got its only score at the end of the first half on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Jalen Watson.
"We cannot be in situations where we're behind the sticks against good defenses," Rocky Mount coach Jason Battle said. "You can't pick up five yards, then lose three or fumble the ball, story of our season so far is we can't get out of our own way and you can't do that against a good team."
Havelock improves to 4-1 on the season and Rocky Mount drops to 1-3.
The Rams will conclude their nonconference portion of the season next week at Hunt.
Havelock 7; 14; 13; 14; 48
Rocky Mount 0; 6; 0; 0; 6
H - Khalil Barrett 6 run (Christian Hoomana kick)
H - Justin Hoover 29 pass from Zach Sabdo (Hoomana kick)
H - Barrett 22 run (Hoomana kick)
RM - Jalen Watson 1 run (kick blocked)
H - Cameron Hutchinson 1 run (Hoomana kick)
H - Barrett 2 run (Hoomana kick)
H - Barrett 11 run (Hoomana kick)
H - Anthony Harris 37 run (Hoomana kick)
Total Offense 400 74
First Downs 15 7
Rushes-Yards 43-216 39-38
Passing Yards 184 36
Comp-Att-Int 14-29-0 3-11-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 7-3
Penalties-Yards 13-89 5-44
Turnovers 0 3
Passing: Havelock - Zach Sabdo - 14-for-29 for 184 yards (TD). Rocky Mount - Jaquan Lynch 3-for-11 for 36 yards.
Rushing: Havelock - Khalil Barrett 14 carries for 77 yards (4 TD), Cameron Hutchinson 16-56 (TD), Anthony Harris 3-51 (TD), Johnquarius Hatten 2-19, Justin Hoover 1-8, Jordan Bennett 3-5, Sabdo 4-(-1). Rocky Mount - Jalen Watson 11-26 (TD), Tashaun Lawrence 4-16, Donomesion Brown 9-15, Charlie Williams III 4-1, Emanuel Alford 3-0, Lynch 8-(-20).
Receiving: Havelock - Hoover 7 receptions for 89 yards (TD), Dashaun Bryant 2-52, Hutchinson 4-29, Greg Gibbs 1-10, Tyler Hundley 1-4. Rocky Mount - Lawrence 2-25, Williams III 1-11.
Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 or at email@example.com