Test time for WashingtonPublished 8:30pm Thursday, September 27, 2012
All season long the Washington football team has had its eyes set on a Coastal Conference championship and tonight the Pam Pack faces its biggest obstacle as it hosts defending state champions Havelock, the No. 3 ranked 3-A team in the state.
“We’ve been trying to get a conference championship and we kind of put ourselves behind the eight ball last Friday night but if we can win (tonight) and get ourselves back on track you never know what can happen,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “Havelock is a very good team and if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.”
After blowing by Jacksonville 35-0 in its conference opener, the Pam Pack suffered a 20-14 setback last Friday at the hands of West Craven.
Washington was victimized by big plays as the Eagles ripped off a 36-yard TD run in the first quarter before they returned an interception 54-yards for a score in the second.
The Pam Pack (4-2, 1-1) had some prime scoring chances but could not cash in on them as it lost its first conference game of the year and currently sits in a six-way tie for second place behind the conference-leading Rams (5-1, 2-0).
“We had a lot of missed opportunities,” Sawyer said. “We had the ball inside the 30-yad line a couple of different times and came away empty. That’s just not the way to play ball.”
The margin of error tonight will be slim for the Pam Pack as it looks to contain an explosive Havelock offense led by athletic 5-11, 190-pound quarterback Pharoh Cooper, who has committed to play football for South Carolina.
“Havelock runs a spread offense and they run a bunch of screens and screen and goes,” Sawyer said. “They have a very good running back and their quarterback is going to South Carolina as an athlete. They’ve very good. They get after it and they are well coached. Jim Bob Bryant and his staff do a great job with them. Right now they’re the class act of 3-A football.”
The Rams are coming off of a 41-14 victory over D.H. Conley and average 48.3 points per game thanks in large part to Cooper, who is fifth in the state with 1,373 passing yards according to Maxpreps.com.
Washington will be a bit shorthanded tonight as DE/TE/P Jack Rodman is doubtful with a knee injury and leading rusher Markel Spencer could be out as well with an ankle injury.
Filling in for Rodman at the TE and DE spots will likely by Stephon Moore, while Will Cutler will take over the kicking duties.
Cutler did a nice job last week in Rodman’s place as he averaged nearly 40 yards per punt on four attempts.
Spencer saw limited action against the Cardinals last Friday and RB Trey Spruill stepped up to fill his void as he ran for a seven-yard score and caught a 25-yard TD pass from Jimmy Williams.
Spruill, along with Stevie Green and Marquest Jackson are all expected to see some time at the running back spot tonight.
Facing the high-powered Rams, the running game will be key tonight for the Pam Pack as it will look to play more of a time of possession-type game tonight in an attempt to keep that offense on the sideline.
“We’ll need to slow down the tempo of the game,” Sawyer said. “They go pretty fast at times and their coaches read the defense and call the plays so we have to make sure we can try to limit their big plays.”