Pam Pack trying to overcome its injuries|Big games on tap for Panthers, Seahawks

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, September 3, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
The Washington Pam Pack suffered a much bigger loss than the scoreboard showed last Friday night. Tarboro captured a 31-0 win over Washington in the annual Victory Bell Bowl.
The loss paled in comparison to the loss Washington suffered with personnel. Senior star Dakuan Spencer, a starting halfback/safety, left the game with a knee injury in the first few minutes of the game. Sophomore starting quarterback Trey Harris suffered a severe ankle injury on the second-half kickoff and didn’t return.
Both will miss extended time. Pam Pack head coach Sport Sawyer said Harris will likely return for the Sept. 25 Coastal Conference opener against Jacksonville. Sawyer is hoping to find out more about Spencer’s status today. Spencer could be lost anywhere from a few weeks to the season.
“Dakuan is a very athletic young man and a smart young man on the football field,” Sawyer said. “He helps put people in position. He can run; he can catch; he can throw; he can tackle; he can guard. He can do it all.
“It’s different and sad not seeing him out here because he’s been very dedicated to us. Losing him is rough, but we have to go on.”
Spencer has rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries this season. He also threw a 51-yard touchdown pass, and caught a 7-yard pass.
As a junior, Spencer had 38 receptions for 589 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 374 rushing yards and four other scores on 70 carries.
Spencer wanted to send a message to his teammates.
“I miss them,” Spencer noted. “Tell them to pray for me and hold it down.
“Tell them to keep their minds on a state championship, and that I’m going to work hard to get back out there.”
Senior Tony Turnage was thrust into the quarterback position against Tarboro with Spencer, the team’s back-up quarterback, and Harris sidelined. He connected on 5 of 8 passes for 36 yards despite playing on a sprained ankle that he suffered in the first half.
Turnage, who still isn’t at 100 percent but is improving, said it’s strange practicing and playing without Spencer, known as “Booger” to teammates and coaches.
“I’ve been on varsity with Booger since the tenth grade,” Turnage said. “It’s been fun growing up with him. Not seeing him on the field and playing with me is a change, but it’s a change I have to get used to. Seeing him on the sideline, I’m going to play harder for him.”
Turnage split quarterback duties with senior Lindsey Harris in practice earlier this week.
“I feel like I’m leading the team now,” Turnage said. “I think it’s helping me become a real leader.
“I don’t feel like there’s pressure. I just have to step up.”
The Pack is also dealing with the loss of senior linebacker Seth Pearson and sophomore offensive lineman Devante Gonzalez. Pearson injured a knee and is likely out for the season. Gonzalez suffered a broken finger.
Washington (1-1) plays at Northside (1-1) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday.
The Northside Panthers picked up a much-needed win Friday night, taking a 34-18 win over Pamlico.
The victory snapped a nine-game losing streak for the Panthers (1-1), which included eight straight losses to end the 2008 season.
The Panthers will look to make it two straight this Friday night at home against Washington. Northside hasn’t won two straight games since the 2005 season. The Panthers posted wins of 28-20 over Camden and 55-32 over Perquimans on Sept. 9 and Sept. 16 in that 2005 season.
Northside is looking for its first win over Washington since a 28-6 nod in 2000.
Northside and Washington have met 14 previous times, with Washington holding a 10-4 lead in the series. The Pack and Panthers played in the annual Anchor Bowl from 1989 to 2000. Southside replaced Washington as Northside’s opponent in the bowl game in 2001.
Washington and Northside renewed the rivalry in 2007. The Pam Pack posted a 48-8 win in that game, and a 41-12 win last year.
Special Seahawks’ game
The Southside Seahawks will play host to the Pamlico Hurricanes in the first Fossil Bowl this Friday night. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Southside will pay tribute to former standout Neal Whitney, the 2006 WDN Defensive Player of the Year who was tragically killed Saturday morning. Southside will also pay tribute to Ayden Jones, the four-month old son of former assistant coach Jeremy Jones and Lindsay Jones, at the game.
The Seahawks are hoping to put No. 66 stickers (Whitney’s jersey number) on their helmets. The team is also hoping to have something painted on or near the field.
It will be Military Appreciation Night at Southside High School. Anyone with a military ID gets in free. Simply show your pass to the person at the gate for admittance.
The Neal Whitney Memorial Fund has been established at First South Bank.
Those wishing to contribute to the fund may stop in at any First South Bank, or may mail a donation in care of the Neal Whitney Memorial Fund, to PO Box 279, Chocowinity, NC 27817.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ayden Brooks Jones Scholarship Fund, in care of Christ’s Church, 745 Davenport Farm Road, Winterville, NC 28590.