PIKEVILLE – As Charles B. Aycock enters the pivotal portion of its regular season schedule, the Golden Falcons know all too well that while how you start may get you noticed, it’s how you finish that gets you remembered.
Last season, Aycock entered the month of October 6-0 and eventually improved to 9-0 before losing at county rival Southern Wayne in the regular season finale. The Golden Falcons saw their season come to a premature end with a home loss to Triton in the first round of the 3-A state playoffs.
Aycock (5-1) welcomes Wilson Fike (3-3) to Hardy Talton Stadium for homecoming on Friday evening. The Golden Falcons have won nine consecutive regular season home games. The game can be heard locally on FM 98.3 WGBR, or online at Goldsborodailynews.com, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Golden Falcons appear to have moved on from their lone loss of the season, a 35-7 setback at Wilson Hunt (5-1). The loss at Hunt started a stretch of three games in 14 days for Aycock. Following the loss at Hunt, the Golden Falcons got back to playing opportunistic defense, and gave up a total of 14 points in back-to-back wins over East Wake and South Johnston. In those two victories, Aycock tallied 21 tackles for loss, six sacks, seven interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The Golden Falcons are holding opponents to an average of 15 points a game, and have held four of their six opponents to 19 points or fewer.
Junior linebacker Antwain Grantham leads Aycock with 45 tackles. Grantham has 10 tackles for loss.
“The last couple weeks we’ve forced a lot of turnovers,” said Golden Falcons head coach Tom Zietlow. “They’ve really kinda been ball hawks there. They continue to grow as leaders, and they know a lot of our success is on their back, and they accept that role and embrace that role. They know the offense is going to get get things figured out, and has been getting things figured out. They just embrace that role and I think they enjoy it too.”
Fike has turned the ball over 17 times, including 11 lost fumbles, and has scored 21 points or more just twice.
“We are still young in spots and we are still turning the ball over way too much,” Golden Demons head coach Tom Nelson said. “That’s been a big key for us is trying to get that turnover margin in our favor, instead of being so giving. I think if we can do that we’ll be pretty formidable.”
Aycock is averaging 30 points a game and has scored 33 points or more four times. The Golden Falcons diverse rushing attack averages 211 yards per game, and has 16 touchdowns.
Junior tailback Ricky Elliot leads the team with 675 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Aycock also uses long, and athletic receivers Zimere McClarin and Caleb Frederick in the running game, giving opposing defenses plenty to account for.
McClarin has rushed for 349 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has seven receptions for 133 yards and three scores.
“I think we’re able to move guys around a little bit more than we were last year,” Zietlow said. “Zimere and Caleb play a lot more on the outside, and as Ricky needs a break, we’re able to slide one of those two guys into the backfield without missing a step. And we’re able to add another dimension to the running game.”