J.H. Rose senior running back Grant Humphreys had a team-high 90 yards on 11 carries against Havelock Friday. (252Buzz photo by Bill Hudson)
By Mike Grizzard
For one entertaining half Friday night, J.H. Rose proved it had both the talent and tenacity to compete with the state’s top Class 3-A team. Havelock’s dynamic playmakers, combined with a couple of key injuries for Rose, turned the second half into a one-team show.
Senior quarterback Anthony Harris rambled 77 yards on the third play of the second half, and the Rams scored on four of their final six possessions to streak to a 49-24 victory, extending their streak to seven straight in the series.
The Rampants (3-1), who fell to Havelock 54-0 last year, landed a couple of early punches Friday to take a 10-0 lead and went to the half down 21-17.
“We played great for a half,” Rose head coach Dave Wojtecki said. “We’ve got to play great for four quarters. They’re a great football team. They’re ranked number one in the state for a reason.
“Last year we won three games, so I think we’re getting better. It’s going to take us step by step, week by week to get where we want to be. I think we’re in a lot better shape than we were last year.”
Harris, senior Welton Spottsville and the rest of the quick-strike Havelock offense were simply too much to handle. The Rams piled up 533 yards rushing and 693 yards of total offense, racking up 21 plays of 11 yards or more.
Rose played the second half without key secondary players Wesley Shade and Phifer Ozimek, who were injured on consecutive plays in the first half. Shade, who also handles punts, extra points, kickoffs and sees spot duty at receiver, injured his right shoulder. Ozimek, also a receiver and kick returner, suffered a concussion.
“That hurts a lot,” Wojtecki said. “Losing Wesley hurt real bad because he lines our defense up a lot and adjusts a lot of things out there on the field for us. That hurt quite a bit.
“Defense is a work in progress. We installed a new defense, and we’ve done fairly well with it. We’ve just got to keep working on it.”
Harris, who committed to Tennessee in June, finished with 184 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and also threw for 160 yards, completing 10 of 22 passes. He would have had even more yards but had an 89-yard run and 52-yard pass wiped out by penalties.
Spottsville, a UNC recruit, rushed for 137 yards on just six carries and had seven receptions for 81 yards. Senior Cameron Hutchinson added 103 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Rose got 196 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns from senior quarterback Grant Charles Jarman. Senior running back Grant Humphreys ripped off a couple of big early runs of 39 and 22 yards and finished with a team-high 90 yards on 11 carries.
Rose benefited from excellent field position throughout the night, starting all 10 of its drives at its 30-yard-line or better, but came up empty three times inside the Rams’ 20 and were stuffed on a fourth-and-5 at the 42.
“Offensively we moved the ball very well and then we stalled out,” Wojtecki said. “We’ve got to do a lot better job once we get in the red zone. It gets little tighter, it gets a little tougher in there. You’ve got to play a little harder in there. That will definitely be something we will look at this week coming up, and we’re going to be better at it.”
Rose had its offense humming in an impressive first quarter, out-gaining Havelock 132-107 and holding a 23-10 advantage in plays. The Rampants scored on their opening drive, settling for a 28-yard field goal from Shade after penetrating as far as the 7. Humphreys then capped a 12-play drive with a 22-yard dash and 1-yard run for a 10-0 lead.
Havelock needed just three plays to answer with Harris completing a pair of passes to Spottsville then racing the final 35 yards. A five-play, 88-yard drive capped off by a 31-yard pass from Harris to Spottsville put Havelock in front 14-10.
A Rose penalty on fourth-and-2 aided Havelock on its next possession, and Hutchinson cashed in with an 8-yard run for a 21-10 lead with 2:41 left in the half.
Rose pieced together a scoring drive just before intermission, drawing within 21-17 on a 6-yard pass from Jarman to Humphreys. The Rampants would not score again until Jarman tossed a 37-yard strike to Ben Harris with just 24.7 seconds left.
“We went to a man-to-man defense trying to take away all their space and make them throw in more tight windows,” Havelock coach Caleb King said.
After Harris scored on his 77-yard run on the first possession of the second half, he connected with Spottsville on an 18-yard touchdown for a 35-17 lead. Spottsville sprinted 84 yards with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter for a 42-17 lead. Harris tacked on an 11-yard run at the 8:31 mark.
Mike Grizzard of Winterville has more than 30 years of experience as a writer for both print and digital publications in the areas of sports, business, news, faith and personal profiles. Contact Mike at 252-916-4206.