Time to regroupPublished 5:59pm Thursday, September 19, 2013
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride for Washington throughout its first four games. The Pam Pack kicked off the season with a hard fought, rain-soaked loss to two-time defending 3-A state champs Havelock, before topping 2-A state runners up Tarboro for the first time in over five years.
The next week, Washington used a 28-point fourth quarter rally to take down former Coastal Conference rival D.H. Conley. However, the Pack ran out of steam last Friday as it fell flat against another former conference rival, West Craven, 14-7, on the road.
“We had an emotional high after the Conley game and last week we just didn’t practice well during the week offensively,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “Defensively, we were able to do some things, but offensively we just didn’t practice well and on Friday night it showed. We had less than 170 yards of total offense and scored only seven points.”
With its bye this week, the Pam Pack (2-2) will not only look to catch its breath and regroup, but diversify its offensive attack.
“I think some teams are picking up on some of the things we’re doing offensively,” Sawyer said. “We have to have some counter action with our plays. … We have to have some plays that will keep a defense honest.”
The Washington offense has relied heavily on the rushing of junior Markel Spencer and senior Stevie Green. After the first four games of the year, Washington has churned out nearly 200 rushing yards per contest as Spencer has tallied 448 yards and Green is right behind him with 298.
While the running game has been solid, the Pack averages only 46.8 passing yards per contest. Making the continued development of sophomore first-year starting quarterback Brodie West critical.
West has been thrown into the fire early, having to face extremely tough competition in his first four games of his career and has shown plenty of potential.
“When your first four varsity games are Havelock, Tarboro, Conley and West Craven it can’t get too much harder than that,” Sawyer said. “He’s got to get some confidence and work on some passing plays and he’s doing that. He’s a gutsy quarterback and he’s working hard in practice and watching film.
“I think if I can get some plays in the offense that will give him some confidence he will be OK. He’s got to just continue to work hard and pull the trigger a little bit faster.”
Defensively, Washington has been stout as the veteran group has been a force early on in the season.
Senior linebacker Karim Topping has been a tackling machine, tallying 11.5 stops a game for a team-high 45 tackles.
Green, who also plays defensive end, has been getting after the quarterback, tallying 10 hurries, while linebacker Tarahje Burke has recorded a team-high three sacks.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year has been sophomore LB Brandon Jackson, whose 40 tackles ranks second on the squad, along with OLB Jamond Ebron, who has 35 stops.
“I like the way Brandon Jackson has been playing,” Sawyer said. “Jamond Ebron has been playing well on the outside and has really come around big this year.”
The Pam Pack will return to action and Choppy Wagner Stadium next Friday when it hosts Riverside.