Week 4 kicks off tonightPublished 6:53pm Thursday, September 12, 2013
Last week’s prep football schedule pitted archrivals against each other as Northside edged past Southside 14-13 and Riverside held off South Creek 41-30.
This week the battles should be equally intense as four former Four Rivers Conference members will clash against one another as members of their new conferences.
Northside and Southside will represent the Coastal Plains Conference as they take on Two Rivers Conference members South Creek and Riverside, respectively.
Plymouth, who pulled out a last second 20-15 victory over Edenton in Week 3, will look to keep the magic going tonight when it hosts fellow Atlantic Conference mates Gates County in a nonconference game.
Here’s a look at the matchups:
Northside (2-1) at South Creek (1-2) at 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers option attack looked unstoppable at times during its 14-13 victory over Southside as quarterback Malik Slade and running backs Antonio Woods, Rockne Butler and Patrick Moore were able to rip off large chunks of yards.
However, Northside is yet to master the intricacies of the option game, which has led to eight turnovers in the past two weeks.
The key for the Panthers this week is for their offense to be less bust and more boom.
“When you pitch it, it’s sort of like when you pass the ball, there’s a lot of things that can go bad,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “But, you have to practice it all the time, which is what we do. Sometimes we look pretty good doing it and other times we look like we haven’t quite mastered it yet.
“It’s our job as coaches to continue rep it as the year goes on. Our ultimate goal right now is to get ready for conference play. We’re going to continue to do what we’re doing and we’re hoping as the season goes on the turnovers will continue to drop.”
South Creek is hoping that won’t happen for at least one more night as the Cougars look to rebound from their 41-30 loss to Riverside in the Battle for the Paddle.
“They’re going to come out and run the option and the jet sweep and the counter and we have to find a way to stop it,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “We know anytime they can put six on the board if you don’t play assignment football.”
With a talented group of skill players, the Cougars can reach the end zone at any time themselves. Last week Rondrell Andrews had an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, while Romalik Parker racked up two rushing touchdowns as South Creek cut the Knights lead to 26-22 before Riverside pulled away.
“They’re well coached,” Boyd said. “(South Creek) has speed everywhere. They have speed on defense and some backs that can run. That’s a problem there because one missed tackle can lead to them taking it all the way.”
Riverside (2-1) at Southside (0-3) at 7 p.m.
After scoring six points against Plymouth in Week 2 the Knights offense erupted for 41 points behind a balanced attack. Daniel Everett caught a touchdown pass, while Ross Byrd and Stephen Allen each scored a rushing touchdown.
Riverside’s attack was boosted by a stellar game from running back Malik Smith who rushed for 132 yards and two TDs.
“Malik Smith is a sophomore that we think has potential to be a pretty good player,” Riverside coach Asim McGill said. “He kind of came out of his shell Friday night. Hopefully that’s a wakeup call for him and he can continue to progress.”
The Knights will face Southside team that will no doubt bring intensity into tonight’s matchup as it is still searching for its first win of the season after losing a tough 14-13 battle to Northside.
“They’re coming off of a defeat to their rivals and I’m sure (Seahawks) Coach (Jeff) Carrow will have them ready to go,” McGill said.
Southside was down for the better part of three quarters against Northside, but fought till the end and almost got the win.
“Our guys kept playing till the game was over. We had no quit in us,” Carrow said. “However, as a team we know that we should have done much better.”
The Seahawks’ ground game showed potential against Northside, but was hampered by fumbles, making ball security a key in tonight’s game.
“I felt like we moved the ball fairly well,” Carrow said. “We just turned the ball over at inconvenient times.”
Gates County (1-2) at Plymouth (2-0) at 7:30 p.m.
Down 15-14 with 3:41 left in the fourth quarter, the Vikings took advantage of a dropped snap on a punt attempt by Edenton and was able to march into the end zone for the game-winning score.
It wasn’t easy, as Plymouth reached fourth-and-goal at the seven-yard line before quarterback Malik Webb ran his way into the end zone.
“I put him in shotgun and he had the option to run or throw and he ran it in. Malik had about 92 yards rushing. He’s going to be special,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “Our kids never quit. We got up early but we never quit and were able to beat a team that was better than us. It was a battle between two really good football teams. They were really big up front and it was extremely tough to block them.”
Defensively, Plymouth was stout, holding the Aces to 15 points as it did a good job of gang tackling and had a strong night from punter Chris Kelly and middle linebacker Devonte Spruill, who had 13 tackles.
Gates County won its first game of the season by topping Bertie 41-12, but has since fell to Pasquotank 28-20 and Currituck 38-8.
The Red Barons feature a run-heavy attack and Cody said he expects another slugfest tonight.
“They’re a pound it team. They’re going to run it straight at you,” Cody said.