Beaufort County rivalry: Pam Pack to battle Panthers|Washington holds 10-4 lead in series

Published 3:47 pm Friday, September 4, 2009

Sports Editor

While an Anchor Bowl trophy won’t be up for grabs, players will still leave the field with a sense of pride and some bragging rights.
The 15th meeting between the Washington Pam Pack and Northside Panthers, who met in the Anchor Bowl from 1989 to 2000, will be held in Yeatesville tonight. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Pam Pack (1-1), a Class 3-A school out of the Coastal Conference, holds a 10-4 lead over the Panthers (1-1), a 1-A school from the Four Rivers Conference, in the series.
While Southside replaced Washington as Northside’s Anchor Bowl opponent in 2001, the Pack and Panthers renewed their rivalry in 2007. Washington won 48-8 in that game, and followed that up with a 41-12 nod last year.
Northside is looking for its first win over Washington since a 28-6 nod in 2000.
“It’s exciting,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said about the rivalry. “Both areas love it. We’re 15 minutes down the road and a lot of these kids went to school with each other at one point in their lives. All the kids know each other. I think for the most part they like each other.
“There’s bragging rights on the line. We’re expecting a big crowd.”
Washington is coming off a 31-0 loss to Tarboro in the annual Victory Bell Bowl. The Pack lost senior halfback/safety Dakuan Spencer (95 yards rushing, 1 TD, 1 passing TD) and starting quarterback Trey Harris (4 of 10 for 54 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 53 yards rushing, 1 TD) in the game.
“We’re going to have to use different players (to fill Spencer’s spots),” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “He could do it all, so we’ll have to use different players and plug them in. The guys know that.”
Sawyer confirmed Thursday that Spencer is out for the year.
“We’re more concerned with him as a friend and as a person than a football player at this point,” Sawyer said. “We just want to make sure that he studies and rehabs the knee so he can play at the next level.”
Seniors Tony Turnage (5 of 8 for 36 yards, 1 INT; 2 catches for 83 yards, 1 TD) and Lindsey Harris (9 carries, 67 yards) will step in at quarterback. Trey Harris will likely return for the Sept. 25 conference opener against Jacksonville.
“They’re making strides,” Sawyer said of Turnage and Lindsey Harris. “They’re working hard.”
Playing behind Turnage and Lindsey Harris will be Kashief Foreman (22 carries, 91 yards), William Ellegor (8 carries, 55 yards) and Darnell Windley (3 carries, 32 yards). Top receivers for the Pack are Ellegor (2 for 22 yards) and Brandon Price (2 for 14 yards, 1 TD).
Northside took a 34-18 win over Pamlico last year, snapping a nine-game skid that dated back to last season.
“That’s the best we’ve played since I’ve been here,” Boyd said. “We’re playing Washington and they are pretty excited about that, especially coming off a win. The big thing is not getting too high. We have to learn how to win and move on to the next week.
“We know (Washington) lost a couple guys, but they can plug other people in there. Washington is big up front and that’s going to be a challenge.”
Sawyer is expecting a tough game from the Panthers.
“They got a big win this past Friday night,” Sawyer said. “They play hard every play. We’re looking for them to play very hard against us.
“They’ll be looking to try to build on that win from last week, and we had some things that went against us. I think it’s going to be a good game.”
The Panthers will be led by quarterback Isaiah McCullor and running back DeMarques Martin, who led a Northside ground game that picked up over 340 yards rushing last week. Martin rumbled for 211 yards and three scores on 15 carries, while McCullor added two scores behind a strong effort from the offensive line.
“These young offensive linemen are doing great,” Boyd said. “They just love playing the game.”
Looking to slow down the Panthers will be Washington leading tacklers Ronnie Woolard (20 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries), Amiar Johnson (18, 3 sacks), Marquin Hill (16), Cole Hartley (11) and Lindsey Harris (10).
A win by Northside would give the Panthers their first winning streak since 2005. The Panthers posted wins of 28-20 over Camden and 55-32 over Perquimans on Sept. 9 and Sept. 16 in that 2005 season.
Both teams are off next Friday night. The Pack plays at Goldsboro on Sept. 18, while the Panthers make a visit to Roanoke that same night.