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It’s do-or-die time

By Staff
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
It’s now all about survival.
Win and advance.
Lose and go home.
The 2007 NCHSAA state football playoffs kick off Friday. Eight of the area’s 10 teams qualified for the playoffs.
Last year, all 10 teams made it. Last year, all 10 teams were eliminated by the third round. Plymouth, Jamesville, Roanoke and Southside were the only teams able to get past the first round in 2006.
Let’s hope for a more successful run by teams this year.
And let’s hope for good weather. Any postponements will just throw a monkey wrench into everything.
I’m still trying to figure out why a handful of games were postponed because of rain earlier this season. RAIN! I mean, come on, these are football players. They’re supposed to be tough.
I can accept postponements if there is lightning. But a wet, soggy, muddy field shouldn’t keep high school players off the grass.
Washington and West Carteret played under gusty, chilly and rainy conditions for much of last Friday’s game, and it was awesome. Part of football is, or should be, adjusting to whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
Whether it’s warm or cold (likely cold) come Friday night, Washington, Plymouth, Williamston, Jamesville, Creswell, Roanoke, Northside and Mattamuskeet will be happy to take the field. Southside and Columbia were left out of this year’s dance.
Each team has playoff experience. According to the NCHSAA, who has been tabulating playoff records since 1972, Williamston will be making its 20th appearance with a 29-17 postseason record.
Roanoke has also been successful in the playoffs, compiling a 26-15 record in 15 previous trips.
Washington, making its 15th appearance, is listed as having a 12-14 playoff record. (However, my research shows a 2-14 mark.)
Mattamuskeet, who has made eight previous trips to the playoffs, is still looking for its first postseason win.
Northside is 13-14 in 14 previous trips. Plymouth, making its 16th appearance, holds a 7-15 playoff mark. Creswell is 5-10 in 11 previous appearances while Jamesville, making its 14th trip, is 4-12.
Washington (8-3), the No. 6 seed, is hoping for its first playoff victory since 1999 when it plays host to No. 11 seed South Granville (8-3) in a Class 3-A first-round game. A possible game with second-ranked and No. 3 seed Rocky Mount (11-0) awaits.
First-round games in the 1-A playoffs are No. 16 seed Cape Hatteras (2-8) at top seed and third-ranked Plymouth (11-0), No. 15 seed Weldon (3-7) at No. 2 seed Williamston (8-3), No. 14 seed Northampton-West (4-6) at No. 3 seed Jamesville (8-2), No. 11 seed Perquimans (5-6) at No. 6 seed Creswell (7-3), No. 10 seed Northside (3-8) at No. 7 seed Roanoke (7-4) and No. 12 seed Mattamuskeet (4-7) at No. 5 seed Northampton-East (7-3).
There are some intriguing possible second-round matchups.
Williamston and Roanoke, who played for the Atlantic Conference championship in Robersonville last week, will meet at Tiger Stadium if both win Friday. The Tigers took a 26-20 overtime victory against the Redskins to win the conference title and earn a higher seed.
Tideland Conference foes Jamesville and Creswell would meet for the third time this season if both win on Friday. The Bullets took victories of 30-12 and 20-16 over the Tigers during the regular season. Jamesville topped Creswell 46-8 in the first round of the 2006 state playoffs.
The Plymouth Vikings would play host to the Manteo Redskins, a fellow Albemarle Conference member, if both higher seeds win in the first round. Plymouth pounded Manteo 38-6 two weeks ago. A possible third-round game could pit Plymouth against No. 4 seed Jones Senior, who ended the Vikings season last year with a 16-14 second-round victory.
Plymouth and North Duplin (10-0), the top seed in the lower bracket, are the lone undefeated teams in the 1-A playoffs.
It’s high school football playoff time. It’s do-or-die time. It’s awesome.
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Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at Kevin@wdnweb.com. You may also view his blog, KT’s Take On Sports, at http://wdnsports.blogspot.com.