Cougars to clash with Knights|Schools will play first-ever Battle for the Paddle

Published 2:07 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
It’s only the third week of the prep football season but already things are beginning to heat up. With its 18-12 overtime win over Pamlico in the Fossil Bowl Wednesday night, Southside became the first Four Rivers Conference team to go 3-0.
Looking to join the Seahawks at the top of the conference this weekend will be Riverside, Plymouth, Manteo and Perquimans who all enter this week a perect 2-0.
Riverside will take its 2-0 record to its rival South Creek (0-1) for what’s being dubbed “The Battle for the Paddle.” It will be the first time Roanoke and Williamston have clashed on the football field since Roanoke merged with Bear Grass and Williamston joined up with Jamesville.
The Vikings have gotten off to a great start scoring 82 points in their first two games and will look to carry their momentum into tonight’s contest with Edenton-Holmes.
Manteo will put its perfect record on the line at home against First Flight, while Perquimans will host Gates County. Here is a look at the area matchups:
Riverside (2-0, Four Rivers) at
South Creek (0-1, Four Rivers)
The Knights have won their first two games of the season in thrilling fashion as they relied on a one-handed, last second catch from Romelle Lanier to win the season-opener against Ayden-Grifton, then Lanier recorded two punt returns for touchdowns to lift Riverside to a 35-13 victory over Edenton.
“Special teams has been big for us,” Knights coach Asim McGill said. “We had two punt returns for touchdowns that made a big difference in the game. We got 14 points from special teams, that’s big.”
South Creek played its first-ever football game last Friday against North Pitt and struggled as it fell 33-6. First-year coach Jeremy Jones’ crew is still adjusting to new schemes on both sides of the ball. Jones said he was proud of his team’s effort, but that it needs to continue to improve.
“I felt the kids could look at the film and say we took our shot; we were competitive. The kids fought hard,” Jones said.
Jones’ Cougars have made the switch from a wing-T offense under the old regime, to a triple-option attack and are still working out the kinks.
“We knew what we were supposed to be doing, we didn’t always get there or have all 11 guys doing it, but you could look up and tell they knew what they were supposed to do,” Jones said. “The speed and the consistency wasn’t always there but there are a lot of formations and plays, for a first game out I thought they handle it pretty well.”
Tonight’s rivalry game is the first of two meetings for these two schools and will count as a non-conference game. McGill said that both schools have embraced the rivalry and have taken efforts to enhance the tradition.
“It’s the first game in the history of these two schools, it’s a big thing,” McGill said. “Both schools have water in common, we’re Riverside and they are South Creek, so we thought we would do something new and have a battle for the paddle. It’s really getting big, we got T-shirts made and we went out and got a paddle and the winning team will get the paddle for a year.”
Jones said in order for his team to win the first-ever Battle for the Paddle it must keep its composure.
“We really need to handle adversity. The kids need to understand that some good things will happen for South Creek and some bad things will happen for South Creek,” Jones said. “The key is going to be how we handle those things and prepare for the next play.”
McGill said the key for his team tonight is that his team stay’s disciplined on defense.
“Whenever you play a team that does option football it’s all about assignments,” McGill said. “You have to make sure that one player has the quarterback and one player as the running back and one player has to have the fullback. You can’t have guys just running around, you have to tackle your guy and play your assignment.”
Edenton-Holmes (1-1, 2-A, Northeastern Coastal)
at Plymouth (2-0, Four Rivers)
The Vikings have looked unstoppable in their first two games this season as they opened up the year with a 41-14 win over Farmville Central, then backed that up with a 41-26 route over a quality West Montgomery team Saturday night.
Plymouth running backs Ronnell Blount, Elmer Cooper, Carl McCray and Dylan Watts have been running wild on teams thanks to a good effort up front by the offensive line.
“Right now we are just doing a good job of blocking and tackling and not turning the ball over,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “We have a good offensive line that has been doing a good job for those backs and if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t be able to run. Paris Palmer (LT), DeAndre Gray (RT) and William Pledger (center) have all been playing well.
The explosive Vikings’ offense has posted 82 points in two games, but Cody said his defense has been equally good
“I tell you what, that kid Saturday night (West Montgomery QB Jaquill Capel) is going to Georgia Tech and he was unbelievable, but we were fortunate enough to tackle him and get a win,” Cody said.
Tonight, Plymouth will face Edenton, who squeaked out a 14-13 win in its opener over Norhampton-East, but fell 35-13 to Riverside last Friday.
The Aces run a heavy dose of option plays and Cody said his team must play fundamental football.
“They do a lot of option plays out of the shotgun, so we have to tackle the quarterback and running backs and make sure we wrap everybody up,” Cody said.