Defense sparks Cycs onward

Fike rallies for 21-14 playoff win over Dudley

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The toughest game of Fike High’s 1967 state-championship season came from a Greensboro Dudley team in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A playoffs on Friday, Nov. 17, 1967.

The Panthers, led by sensational senior quarterback Stahle Vincent, took a 14-0 lead only to see the Cyclones score just before halftime. In the second half, Fike added two more touchdowns and kept Dudley out of the end zone to advance to the 4-A Eastern final with a thrilling 21-4 victory in Fike’s Cyclone Country Stadium.

“I’m still not sure how we beat Dudley,” Fike head coach Trevathan told a mob of fans outside his office after the game, reported Wilson Daily Times sports editor David Lamm. “It has a good football team with speed, size, talent and an exceptional athlete in Vincent. Gee whiz, how on earth do you think we beat ‘em?”

For one thing, the Cyclones, riddled for 218 passing yards by Vincent in the first half, played lock-down defense in the second. Fike held the Panthers to just 55 yards through the air and picked off Vincent four times, including two by junior Steve Windham.

The Panthers, who piled up 434 yards to just 238 by Fike, led 14-0 when the Cyclones marched 55 yards in the final minutes of the first half. Senior tight end Bob Johnston’s diving grab of quarterback Lynn Daniell’s pass came with just 28 seconds left before halftime. Harold Wilkerson kicked the first of his three extra-points.

Senior fullback Billy Clark fought his way into the end zone from 4-yards to cap a short, third-quarter drive for Fike and Wilkerson’s PAT tied the score with 7:10 left in the quarter.

Wilkerson came up with an interception near midfield on the final play of the third quarter. With 8:47 left, Windham took a pitchout from Daniell and, behind a block from Clark, zipped into the end zone to put the Cyclones in front for the first time.

Dudley appeared to score on Vincent’s 10-yard scramble on its ensuing possession but a holding call, which Panthers head coach Bill Furcron hotly disputed, negated the score. On the next play, Windham intercepted Vincent’s pass in the end zone. Windham and Earl Killebrew picked off passes to thwart Dudley drives.

With their 10th straight win, the Cyclones (10-1) advanced into the 4-A Eastern final against old nemesis Durham.