Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
In the eighth game of the 1969 varsity football season, Fike High was finally tested for the for the first time by a stubborn Goldsboro squad on Halloween night.
The Cyclones resorted to its two most reliable weapons — their defense and star senior fullback Carlester Crumpler — to emerge with a 28-20 victory, another step on their way to a third straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A championship. Crumpler erupted for 294 rushing yards and three touchdowns, giving him 1,360 yards and 20 TDs on the season, but it almost wasn’t enough.
Fike’s defense forced the Cougars to turn the ball over on downs in the fourth quarter and, with seconds remaining, intercepted Bobby Myrick, the passing tailback in Goldsboro’s single-wing offense, to extinguish the final threat. The win, the 15th straight for the Cyclones, clinched a spot in the state 4-A playoffs for Fike, which was helped by Kinston’s win over Rocky Mount in securing the No. 1 slot from the Eastern 4-A Conference’s Division II.
After a scoreless first quarter, Crumpler finally found the end zone on a 45-yard run, followed by placekicker Mike Foster’s extra-point kick. However, Myrick, who passed from 172 yards, hit his brother, Mike Myrick, on a 45-yard TD completion. The PAT kick failed, leaving Fike narrowly ahead 7-6 at the half.
Crumpler again proved to be more than the Cougars could handle when he dashed 73 yards for another TD with eight minutes left in the third quarter. Foster’s kick made it 14-6 but the Cougars would answer again.
After Fike senior Chip Gibbons nearly intercepted a Myrick pass, the Goldsboro tailback connected on passes to Mike Myrick that moved the ball to the Cyclones’ 8-yard line. Fullback Richard Sugg ran it in from there although another Myrick-to-Myrick attempt for the two-point conversion was stymied.
Goldsboro then put Fike in the unfamiliar position of trailing in the fourth quarter when Bobby Myrick targeted Steve Swinson successfully for a 9-yard TD toss and then hit Sugg for the two-point conversion that gave head coach Gerald Whisenhunt’s Cougars a 20-14 lead with 8:24 to play.
It was Crumpler time again. This time the senior bolted 45 yards for the tying TD and Foster’s kick put Fike back ahead 21-20.
Goldsboro got the ball back with 4:30 to play but the Cougars went nowhere against the Fike defense, led by Dan Killebrew, Vernon Wall, Mark Wenger and Harry Lamm. Wall’s fourth-down stop of Bobby Myrick gave Fike the ball at the Cougars’ 26. However, the Cyclones couldn’t run out the clock and had to punt, giving Goldsboro one last chance. That hope was snuffed, however, when senior George Wilkerson, the Fike quarterback who also played defensive back, picked off Myrick and returned it 51 yards for a TD with just 13 seconds left.
The Cougars posted impressive numbers against a Fike team that had given very little to opposing offenses all season. Goldsboro rushed for 199 yards in addition to Myrick’s 172 passing. However, led by Crumpler’s 294 yards on 30 carries, Fike totaled 348 yards on the ground to go with Wilkerson’s 50 on 5-of-10 passing. Clark Davis and Greg Fulghum each caught two passes for Fike while Willie Williams added 46 yards on nine carries.
Head coach Henry Trevathan’s Cyclones would end the regular season in grand style against another ancient foe in Rocky Mount the following Friday at Cyclone Country Stadium.