Pam Pack hopes to end long drought against J.H. Rose

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 17, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
It’s been a long time coming.
The Washington Pam Pack will look to end a 37-year winless drought against the J.H. Rose Rampants when the two teams collide tonight for the final time in Coastal Conference action. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium.
The Class 3A Pack (4-3, 2-1) would like to end its rivalry with the 4A Rampants (3-4, 1-2) on a positive note. Rose moves into a new conference next year.
Rose holds a slim 23-22-3 advantage over the Pack in the series. However, it’s been all Rose of late, including last year’s 19-7 win in Greenville. Rampant QB Jordin Staton threw for a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another in the win.
Washington quarterback Austin Thompson missed that game because of an illness. The senior will be under center tonight.
He, and the rest of the Pack, will be looking for Washington’s first victory over Rose since a 21-13 win in 1970.
Both teams are coming off losses. The Pack suffered a 16-6 loss to West Craven. Thompson struggled in the game, throwing four interceptions. Sawyer is confident his quarterback will bounce back tonight.
Thompson enters the game having completed 77 of 128 passes (60.2 percent) for 1,069 yards. He’s thrown 11 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
The Rampants, led by first-year coach Todd Lipe, fell 36-19 to upstart Havelock. Staton ran for two scores in the setback.
It was Rose’s second straight loss, and fourth in the last five games.
Though the Rampants aren’t the powerhouse they have been in the past, Sawyer isn’t about to take them lightly.
Sawyer said the key will be he team’s ability to execute on offense. The offense is led on the ground by freshman Kaschief Foreman (284 yards rushing, three scores), junior Tony Turnage (274 yards rushing) and Thompson (104 yards rushing, three scores).
Thompson has spread the wealth when the Pack goes to the air. Dakuan Spencer leads the team with 25 receptions for 421 yards and six touchdowns. Mike Moore has 23 catches for 252 yards and two scores. Michael Godley has 16 grabs for 204 yards and a pair of scores, while Turnage has 11 catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
The Pack defense, led by defensive coordinator Jon Blank, did a great job in shutting down the high-powered West Craven offense last week. David Tyson led the way with seven tackles, while Cole Hartley and Xeavier Ernul had six apiece. Donte Moore and William Ellegor came up with interceptions.
Weasel Moore leads Blank’s defense with 60 tackles. Cedrik Summers has 54 stops and Ernul has 51 to his credit. Chase Tripp leads Washington with three sacks, while Spencer, Turnage and Donte Moore all have two interceptions.
Washington is on the road next week as it visits 4AA defending state champion New Bern. The Pack returns home Oct. 31 to face the Havelock Rams. It will be Walk of Fame night for the Pam Pack.