Washington aiming for third straight win

Published 3:45 am Friday, October 10, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
A brutal three-game stretch for the Washington Pam Pack begins tonight.
The Pack (4-2, 2-0), winners of two straight, will look to keep its perfect Coastal Conference record intact when it plays host to the undefeated West Craven Eagles (6-0, 2-0), who are ranked No. 6 in the latest 3A prep football poll. Washington will then face a pair of 4A schools the following two weeks, taking on J.H. Rose at home next week and then visiting 4AA defending state champion New Bern in two weeks.
Fifth-year Pam Pack coach Sport Sawyer said his team is focused strictly on the game at hand, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium.
Tonight marks homecoming for the Pam Pack. Washington has won four straight homecoming contests, all under Sawyer (35-0 over D.H. Conley in 2007, 34-13 over West Craven in 2006, 21-13 over South Central in 2005 and 41-21 over Kinston in 2004).
The Pack, which holds a 12-9 series lead and has won two straight over the Eagles, including a 14-13 nod last year, will face an explosive offense.
Coach Clay Jordan, who led the East squad to victory in this year’s East-West All-Star game, has watched his Eagles put up 35.2 points per game, easily the best among the Coastal Conference schools. Quarterback Brett Mooring is a big reason why. He leads the state with 1,704 passing yards, completing 108 of 184 (58.7 percent) of his attempts and throwing 15 touchdown passes.
Mooring threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 36-29 win over J.H. Rose.
Erik Highsmith has been is favorite receiver. Highsmith is among the state leaders with 37 receptions for 727 yards and nine scores.
Pam Pack defensive coordinator Jon Blank is expecting to see a heavy dose of West Craven aerials tonight, but he also said Washington will have to guard against the run.
Washington has done a solid in defending the pass this season. Opponents have completed just 22 of 62 attempts (35.5 percent) with five interceptions and only one touchdown, which came on the final play of the game in last week‘s win over South Central. Of the 1,464 yards the Pack has allowed, only 305 have come through the air.
Washington linebacker Weasel Moore, who leads the Pack with 56 tackles, defensive linemen Cedrik Summers (49 tackles) and Xeavier Ernul (44 tackles), and defensive end Chase Tripp (11 tackles last week, two sacks) will look to put pressure on Mooring.
While the West Craven offense gets much of the glory, the defense has been solid. The Eagles are allowing 15.2 points a game, second best in the conference behind Havelock (12.2 points a game).
The Pack offense, averaging 23.7 points a game (tied for third best in the conference), will look to sustain some drives and keep the Eagle offense off the field.
Washington quarterback Austin Thompson has completed 61 of 94 (64.9 percent) attempts for 954 yards with 11 touchdowns. The senior has also run for 104 yards and three scores.
Freshman Kaschief Foreman (258 yards, three touchdowns) and junior Tony Turnage (251 yards) lead the ground attack.
Dakuan Spencer (19 catches, 383 yards, six touchdowns), Mike Moore (20 catches, 220 yards, two scores) and Michael Godley (13 catches, 183 yards, two scores) lead the receiving corps.
With Washington, West Craven and Havelock (which plays at J.H. Rose tonight) the lone unbeaten teams in conference play, Sawyer knows this is a pivotal game.
Washington is home again next Friday night against the J.H. Rose Rampants. It’s the final conference game against the 4A Rampants, who move into a new conference next year.