Washington coach Sport Sawyer (center) speaks to his team before its season opener against North Pitt. Tonight, the Pam Pack will travel to Riverside to face a Knights team coached by Washington High School alum Asim McGill. (WDN Photo/Ashley Vansant)

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Pam Pack to clash with the Knights

Published 10:03pm Thursday, September 6, 2012

Washington and Riverside are coming off of their best games of the season so far and will clash will full momentum tonight when they kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Riverside High School.
The Pam Pack (2-1, Coastal Conference) looked explosive last week as it cruised past Northside 42-0, while the Knights (1-2, Four Rivers Conference) gave coach Asim McGill the big plays he has been looking for all year as they topped South Creek 37-0 for their first win of the season.
Tonight’s matchup will have a little extra spice as McGill, a former Pam Pack quarterback who graduated Washington High School in 1996, will attempt to get a win versus his alma-matter.
“It’s a big game,” McGill said. “I went to high school at Washington, I live in Washington and I know a lot of people in Washington who talk a lot of junk to me. It’s definitely exciting.
“For me, for us, a 1-A school trying to beat a 3-A school, that’s big time. For us, it’s App State versus Michigan. Our nonconference schedule is filled with some big boys. We don’t shy away from anybody.”
The Knights will need a big game tonight as the Pam Pack come into the matchup red-hot thanks to a breakout game versus Northside last week.
Led by WR/RB Stevie Green, who had had touchdown receptions of 32 and 38 yards before running for an 18-yard score, the Washington offense appears to be picking up steam.
“I thought we threw the long ball pretty well,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “I thought we passed pretty good and our defense flew around.”
The Washington defense, in the first year of its 4-4 scheme, has been sturdy all season as it has yielded a mere 18 points per game.
“The defensive line stepped up the other night a little bit. We took a little step Friday night but we have to continue to take steps,” Sawyer said. “Some of the guys are getting more comfortable and our linebackers are doing a really good job. Defensive ends Jack Rodman and E.J. Peartree are doing a good job. In the middle (defensive tackles) Brandon Young (6-1, 365 pounds) and Baylone Guilford (6-1, 305) are some big boys who have played well but I would like to see them get more aggressive.”
The Pack’s duo of DTs pose a big threat to the Knights, who have turned into a more time-of-possession orientated offense behind the rushing of big  6-0, 235-pound fullback Jadarian Brown.
Last week, Brown rushed for two touchdowns, one of which went for 63 yards, and caught another to lead Riverside. Tonight, Brown will get the bulk of the work as Riverside will look to keep the explosive Pam Pack offense on the sidelines as long as it can.
“Our old philosophy was to go out and score as quick as you can,” McGill said, “Well, this year I have kind of changed our philosophy. We want to eat the clock … We got to play defense with our offense.”
Though Riverside has changed to a 3-4 defense this year, a lot of its blitz-heavy schemes are still in the playbook and Washington, who could be without starting quarterback Jimmy Williams who has been hampered by a season-long hip injury, must be able to protect its quarterback, whether it be Williams or sophomore Patrick Thompson.
“Offensively, we have to make sure we pick up the blitz,” Sawyer said. “They blitz their backers a lot and we have to pick that up.”

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