Washington ready for home opener|Pam Pack to take on the Panthers

Published 2:06 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
After starting off the season with two road games, the Pam Pack will play its home opener against area rival Northside tonight at 7 p.m. as Washington will be holding its Alumni Night where it will celebrate the 1959 Pam Pack football team.
The matchup pits two teams together that have extraordinary running backs as Washington will attack behind senior William Ellegor, and the Panthers will strike with senior DeMarquez Martin.
Both backs have eclipsed the 100-yard mark in their first two games, and the winner of tonight’s contest may come down to which team can run the ball better.
“I think it will come down to that,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “I think it’s going to be whoever wins up front. Whichever team blocks the best, we both have guys that can run, then it’s a matter of who can tackle better on defense. Both teams have kids that if you miss a couple of tackles they can take it to the house.”
Washington (0-2, 3-A Coastal Conference) heads into its home opener against the Panthers (1-1, 1-A, Four Rivers Conference) looking for its first win of the season after dropping games to North Pitt and Tarboro. Pam Pack coach Sport Sawyer said he is looking for his team’s passing game to catch up to its ground game.
“Offensively, I think our guys are running the ball well but we need to develop our passing game,” Sawyer said. “We need some guys to get some confidence in themselves, if we continue to run hard that will be good, but we need to develop that passing game.”
The young Washington offense, which starts only four seniors, has been inconsistent this season but has been able to rely on Ellegor, who had 22 carries for 122 yards and TD against Tarboro last week.
“He’s running hard and working hard,” Sawyer said. “We are just trying to find some guys to back him up.”
Northside has been a bit inconsistent as well. The Panthers rolled over a quality Creswell team 30-20 in their season opener, but fell 34-8 to Pamlico after holding an 8-6 halftime lead.
Boyd said his team will need to step up if it wants to improve to 2-1.
“I know (Washington) is a lot better than its record,” Boyd said. “They’ve played two pretty good football teams and in the first game against North Pitt if a ball bounced here or there they could have won that game. They are going to give us some problems, they have a couple of kids on there that are pretty big. The kid in the backfield is a good runner and they got some team speed on defense, which is our Achilles heel. We have some kids that can run but we don’t have great team speed.”
Sawyer said the key for the Pam Pack tonight will be cutting back on giveaways and tighten up on the other side of the ball.
“We have to go out and limit the number of turnovers,” Sawyer said. “We have to play some sound defense hand have our linebackers come up and make plays.”