Northside playoff fate in its own hands

Published 7:08 am Friday, October 19, 2007

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — The Northside Panthers may not have busted out of the gate at the start of the prep football year, but with three games left to go in the regular season they can still earn an Atlantic Conference crown.
After seven games, the Panthers are 2-5 (1-2), and play their last three games against conference foes Williamston (5-3, 2-2), Roanoke (5-3, 2-2) and Southside (0-7,0-4).
After a slow start Northside has picked up the pace, and though it lost 21-14 last Friday against Manteo, one of the better teams in the area, the effort was impressive.
Panthers’ coach Keith Boyd’s perspective on the last three games is simple – three games, three wins, one conference championship.
If the Panthers want to resurrect their season they will rely heavily on senior leaders William Rushton, Colby Mason, Zak Manning and Steve Covey to get the job done.
Boyd said so far this season the play of the Panthers’ quartet has been invaluable.
Covey, a starting offensive and defensive lineman said there is reason for optimism.
Rushton, the team’s quarterback said the Panthers have to pick up their intensity and improve on execution.
In order to win out their schedule, the Panthers will be counting on the play of running backs Zak Manning and Colby Mason to carry the offense.
The versatile Manning, who also plays linebacker and fills in at receiver, is known as the team film buff, and dedicates his time to watching game film throughout the week.
Mason, who along with Rushton has been on the varsity squad for three years, is a player that the team counts on when it needs a big play. Rushton said Mason is the type of player that loves having the ball in his hands.
Mason said that his fellow backfield mate Manning is also capable of making big plays.
Though skill players Rushton, Manning and Mason get most of the attention, Covey’s play at the line is equally important. Manning said Covey’s attitude is a big asset to team.
As a quarterback, Rushton’s role as team leader is vital, and Manning said that the QB plays the part well.
The Panthers view their last three of the regular season as the first three games of a new season, and if that’s the case, Northside’s “first game of the year” will be tomorrow night at Williamston.