Pack enters ‘fourth phase’Published 5:14pm Thursday, October 10, 2013
According to Washington coach Sport Sawyer there are five phases of off a football season, and tonight the Pam Pack will enter the critical fourth phase as it hosts Farmville Central in its Eastern Plains Conference opener at 7:30 p.m.
“We got five phases: the offseason, preseason, nonconference, conference and playoffs. And we’re done with three of them,” Sawyer said. “Conference is huge. The rest of the season depends on what you do now.”
What the Pam Pack (4-2) must do now is something that five previous teams have failed to do so far this year: find a way to beat the Jaguars (5-0).
The key to achieving that goal lies in the defense’s ability to stop Farmville Central’s ground-and-pound offense that has posted over 35 points in four out of its five games this season.
“They run a variation of the wing-T and the I and run a lot of misdirection and power,” Washington defensive coordinator Jon Blank said. “Basically, they’re going to get behind their big linemen up front and try to drive you off the ball.”
It will be a challenge that the Pam Pack defensive line will embrace. With its tandem of giant tackles Baylone Guilford (6’1”, 305) and Trevon Wallace (6’, 285) Washington is extremely difficult to block up front, and with linebackers like Karim Topping (59 tackles), Brandon Jackson (52) and Henry Corey (52) behind them, the Washington defense seems well suited for the task.
The Pam Pack picked up its second straight win last Friday when it topped Kinston 26-21 on the road as it rushed for 311 yards and four touchdowns.
Junior RB Markel Spencer, who scored two times last week, is in the midst of a tremendous season as he has rushed for 881 yards and seven TDs in six games.
There’s no doubt Washington’s ground game will be critical tonight, but Sawyer said the key to contest lies in its specials teams play.
The Pam Pack has had its ups and downs on special teams so far this season as the unit on a whole played tremendous two games ago against Riverside, but took a step back last week versus Kinston.
“The key is special teams. We can’t have let downs on special teams,” Sawyer said. “We had our first punt blocked (against Kinston) right by our own end zone. We can’t have that, so special teams is going to be huge.”
Both teams are hot going into their conference opener as each team is riding a winning streak. With that in mind, Sawyer said starting fast will be crucial.
“Momentum is going to be big this game,” Sawyer said. “They’re 5-0 and playing some good football and we’re 4-2. Whoever comes out of the gate ready to play some football will have a big advantage.”