Pam Pack to battle Bears
Published 6:21 am Friday, October 24, 2008
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Washington is looking to gain some much-needed momentum as it heads toward the state football playoffs.
With three regular season games remaining on the docket, the Pam Pack wants to build on last week’s 33-30 victory over J.H. Rose and keep it rolling.
The win over the Rampants, a perennial Class 4-A powerhouse, was the Pack’s first since the 1970 season.
Washington (5-3, 3-1) will look to snap another 37-year winless streak tonight when it plays at New Bern (4-3-1, 2-2) in the Pack’s final Coastal Conference away game of the season. It will be the final league game between the two schools as New Bern moves into a new conference next year.
The Pack currently sits alone in third place in the conference, while New Bern is alone in fourth place.
New Bern holds a 19-17-2 lead in the series, including a 14-13 nod in Washington last year. The Pack’s last victory over the Bears was a 36-0 shutout in 1970.
Sawyer said his team is taking the same approach as it did against J.H. Rose, simply concentrating on the task at hand instead of worrying about the past.
The Bears, the defending 4-AA state champions, are 2-2 in their last four games, including a 35-14 loss to West Craven last Friday night. Josh Moore scored on an 11-yard run and Mike Price had a 17-yard touchdown reception to account for New Bern’s points.
Pack quarterback Austin Thompson overcame a lackluster game against West Craven to throw for 276 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score in the win over J.H. Rose. Thompson has clicked on 92-of-149 passes (61.7 percent) for 1,345 yards. The senior has thrown 13 touchdown passes and ran for four more to go with 147 rushing yards.
Thompson has spread the ball around. Dakuan Spencer has 28 receptions for 469 yards and seven scores; Mike Moore has 31 catches for 377 yards and three touchdowns; Michael Godley has 30 receptions for 307 yards and a pair of scores while Tony Turnage has 11 catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
While Sawyer is pleased with the passing game, he wants his team to pick it up in the ground game. Turnage leads the Pack with 354 yards rushing and a score, while freshman Kaschief Foreman has 306 yards and three touchdowns. Spencer has added 124 yards and a touchdown.
The Pack defense stood up to the challenge last week, using a couple late goal-line stands to keep Rose from scoring. Pack defensive coordinator Jon Blank, who praised Chase Tripp, Weasel Moore, Xeavier Ernul, Donte Moore and Melvin Spruill for their efforts last week, is hoping for that same kind of effort tonight against the Bears.
The Pack returns home next Friday on Walk of Fame night to face the Havelock Rams. Washington will close out the regular season Nov. 7 at home against West Carteret.
If the Pack can win each of those games, Sawyer, at 29-27 over five years, will tie Bob Hanna (32-20-1, 1987-91) and Dick Cherry (32-46-2, 1968-1975) for third place on the all-time win list among Washington football coaches.