Southside heads to Northside to battle in Anchor BowlPublished 8:37pm Thursday, October 25, 2012
The regular season concludes tonight in stellar fashion as the Southside will hit the road to face area and Four Rivers Conference rival Northside in an Anchor Bowl matchup that will also decide which team gets to remain in fifth place in the league standings.
First place now officially belongs to Plymouth after it handed Manteo its first loss of the year with a 44-8 victory. The win bumped the Vikings to No. 7 in the AP poll, while knocking the previously sixth-ranked Redskins out of the top 10.
The victory guaranteed Plymouth a share of the conference crown and with a win tonight over Perquimans the Vikings can clinch it outright.
Riverside will look to take sole possession of third place as it hosts a South Creek team that desperately needs a victory to keep its wildcard hopes alive.
Here’s a look at the matchups:
Southside (4-6, 2-4) at Northside (4-5, 2-4)
It’s one emotionally charged game after another for Southside as it fell 31-28 to Riverside last week in head coach DeWayne Kellum’s final home game and will now head to Northside to battle in the Anchor Bowl in the regular season finale. (The game will start at 6:30 p.m. due to the threat of rain.)
Kellum and his Seahawks fell to Northside in the first ever Anchor Bowl between these two teams in 2001, but since then the Seahawks have won it every time Kellum has been on the sidelines.
“It’s important to me to go out with it, and of course Northside wants it back,” Kellum said. “(Northside coach) Keith (Boyd) is a great guy and both our staffs get along good. It’s a great rivalry.”
The last time Northside brought home the anchor was in 2009 when a winless Panthers team topped a David Hines-coached Seahawks squad 29-28 to earn a playoff berth.
“It’s a game for bragging rights. All these kids know each other and Coach Kellum and myself are pretty good friends and we stay in touch and it’s just a good rivalry game,” Boyd said. “(Southside) principal Rick Anderson used to coach over here and our principal Charles Clark used to coach over at Southside and Northside. There’s a lot of intermingling going on and we’ve all known each other and grown up together and it’s a big deal for us and the kids.”
Bragging rights aside, tonight’s game has tremendous playoff implications as both teams head into the matchup tied for fifth place with identical conference records.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Kellum said. “Keith has one of his best teams he’s had in a while and right now our records are the same in conference. It comes down to this game.”
Predicting how the playoff brackets will play out can be a tough task but the loser of this game appears to be headed for a first round showdown with Manteo, something both teams would prefer to avoid.
While their records mirror each other, so does their style of play and each relies heavily on the running game to put points on the board.
“It’s going to boil down to how the two offensive and defensive lines matchup,” said Boyd, whose team snapped a three-game losing streak last week by topping South Creek 42-8. “Both teams are kind of a mirror image of each other. We both do a lot of the same things and rely on the inside run game to be the bread and butter. It’s going to be won or lost by the team that hurts itself the most with turnovers and who wins the battle up front.”
South Creek (1-9, 1-5) at Riverside (5-5, 4-2)
Week 10 was extremely significant for both Riverside and South Creek as the Knights topped Southside 31-28 to secure third place in the conference standings, while the Cougars’ 42-8 loss to Northside has them feeling like they are on the wrong side of the playoff bubble.
“Tonight’s game is big for us. We have to win to make the playoffs,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “And even if we do that there are still no guarantees. We had a chance to control our own destiny so to speak last week if we won, but we didn’t get it done.”
With a win tonight, Riverside can lockup third place for good and in order to do that it has to show the same kind of fire it displayed in the first quarter of last week’s win over the Seahawks where it scored twice on its first two possessions of the game.
“Offensively, we came out and did a good job and scored the first two times we had the ball,” Riverside coach Asim McGill said. “I think it was one of the best starts we had all year. We were pretty balanced.”
These two teams played each other in Week 3 with the Knights winning 37-0. The Cougars have grown leaps and bounds since then, however, it has not always shown up in the win column as they have won only one game this season and enter tonight’s regular season finale looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
“Offensively we’ve grown a ton,” Jones said. “We went from a team that struggled to move the ball and switched between shotgun and under center. … The passing game has grown a lot. The first time we played Riverside we had three pass concepts and now we got about 11.”
McGill said the key to tonight’s game is stopping the improved Cougars’ offense, while making sure his own continues to progress.
“I feel like if we score four touchdowns we should win the ball game,” McGill said. “We have to do that and hold them to 21 points or less and we can’t allow them to get points on a kickoff return or a pick six or a scoop and score.”
No. 7 Plymouth (9-1, 6-0 ) at Perquimans (0-10, 0-6)
Last Friday Plymouth locked up at least a share of the Four Rivers Conference championship as it blew past then-ranked No. 6 Manteo 44-8 in a battle of division leaders. With a win tonight, the Vikings, who split the league title with the Redskins the past two seasons, can clinch the conference outright for the first time since 2007.
Running back Carl McCray and LB Markey Brooks led the assault on Manteo as McCray tallied 239 rushing yards and Brooks racked up 17 tackles.
Plymouth coach Robert Cody said the defensive effort was one of the best of the year.
“Markey Brooks had an unbelievable day. He went from sideline to sideline. William Hollinsworth and William Pledger were really good on the defensive line,” Cody said. “We were very fortunate the game plan worked as well as it did. We ran with Carl McCray in some spots that we hadn’t been doing this year. We were lucky it worked out well for us.”
After facing a Manteo team that had won eight straight, Plymouth must hit the road tonight and play a Perquimans squad that has dropped 10 in a row.
Cody said he will not be overlooking the Pirates.
“We are going to practice as hard as we did last week and keep driving that sled and work on our fundamentals and technique,” Cody said.