Emotional night for Seahawks|Will honor Whitney, Jones in first Fossil Bowl

Published 3:46 pm Friday, September 4, 2009

Sports Editor

CHOCOWINITY — Southside senior Willie Ruffin, his teammates and coaches would love nothing more than to cap off what will be an emotional Friday night with a victory.
The Seahawks (0-2) will face the Pamlico Hurricanes (0-2) in the first Fossil Bowl, which will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Southside will honor former standout Neal Whitney, the 2006 WDN Defensive Player of the Year who was tragically killed Saturday morning, and Ayden Jones, the four-month old son of former assistant coach Jeremy Jones and Lindsay Jones who died prematurely, during the night.
A moment of silence will be held at the game.
“I think it’s a classy thing to do,” Southside coach David Hines said. “We’re looking at other ways to put them out there the rest of the season. That’s something we can rally around.
“Any way we can honor them the rest of the season, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Ruffin would enjoy honoring his friend, and the Jones family, with a win.
“I have to fight for them,” Ruffin said. “I have to stay strong for them.”
The Seahawks play the Northside Panthers in the annual Anchor Bowl to end the regular season each year. Ruffin said adding another bowl game to the schedule is special.
“Everybody is excited about the game,” Ruffin said. “We’re just ready to go out there and win it.”
The Seahawks are coming off a 28-22 loss to the Creswell Tigers. Ruffin’s 105-yard interception return for a touchdown got Southside close, before the team’s final drive ended at the Creswell 20-yard line.
Hines likes the strides his team is making.
“By leaps and bounds we’ve improved,” Hines said. “We’re getting better. As long as we continue to get better, and as long the kids continue to see the results of what they’re doing, they’re going to keep giving the effort that they need to give.”
Southside quarterback Terrill Moore is 10 of 38 (26.3 percent) for 117 yards and two interceptions. The sophomore quarterback is Southside’s leading rusher, picking up 147 yards and three scores on 24 carries.
Marcus Oneal has rumbled for 102 yards on 22 carries, and Lonnie Williams had added 92 yards on 22 totes.
Ruffin leads the team with four receptions for 55 yards. Bryan Dixon has two catches for 30 yards and Kendrick Reddick two for 24 yards.
Pamlico, which plays in the Coastal Plains Conference, is coming off a 34-18 loss to Northside. The Hurricanes fell 28-20 to East Carteret in the season opener.
“They’re fast,” Hines said of the Hurricanes. “They’re really aggressive. We’re going to have to find ways to take advantage of their aggressiveness.”
Looking to slow down the Hurricane offense will be Southside leading tacklers Johnnie Pender (20 tackles), Greg Crisp (18), Sam Jarman (14), Treshon Blount (14), Curtis Myers (13) and James Jones (13).
Hines is anticipating a big game.
“I think you’re looking at two teams who are going to come in hungry for that first win and give each other everything they’ve got,” Hines said.
Southside, off next week, returns to action Sept. 18 at Columbia.
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.