Four Rivers action heats up tonight|Three teams will try to remain perfect

Published 6:12 pm Friday, September 24, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Tonight is truly the start of the prep football season as teams enter the conference portion of their schedule. Heading into Week 6, the Four Rivers Conference boasts three undefeated teams, all of them hail from the area.
Plymouth and Southside are each coming off of a bye week and will put their perfect 4-0 records on the line against Northside and Camden, respectively. Riverside, which topped North Pitt last Friday, will have its 4-0 record challenged by reigning Four Rivers Conference champions Manteo at home tonight.
South Creek nearly picked up its first win of the season in an up-and-down, non-conference battle with Northside, but will look to get that elusive first victory tonight when it hosts Perquimans. Here is a look at the matchups:
Northside (2-2) at Plymouth (4-0)
The Panthers’ season got off to an exciting start as they topped Creswell 30-20 on the road in Week 1. However, the team mustered only eight points over its next two games, which were both losses, until Northside’s offense got back on track in its 40-33 win over South Creek last week.
“South Creek may be 0-4 but they are a pretty darn good football team,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “We just kind of hung in there and made a few breaks for ourselves toward the end.”
The Panthers were down 19-18 at halftime but jumped out and took a 32-19 lead in the second half. The Cougars rallied back, but a Taequan Mackey kick return for a TD, along with a few defensive stops made the difference. Mackey had a big impact on the game as he threw for two touchdowns and ran for three.
The Panthers were able to overcome four turnovers to get the win. Boyd knows his team can not do that this week against a Plymouth team that is ranked fourth in the state. The Northside coach said turnovers, as well as time of possession will play a big role in tonight’s game.
“Ball control will be a big thing, that and not turning it over,” Boyd said. “We need to be able to run the ball and grind it out a little bit and take some time off the clock. We want to keep the ball out of their offense’s hands.”
The Vikings offense will attack behind their wing-T offense, which has posted spread-like point totals this season as they have not scored under 35 points all year.
“They got two or three kids that can bust a big play at any given time,” Boyd said. “They have size where they need it and speed where they need it. … We just can’t let up the big play.”
Plymouth comes into tonight’s came with a week of rest under its belt after topping Northhampton-West 36-15 in Week 4.
“We used our bye week to get healthy and work on some things,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “We worked on our offense, defense and the kicking game. We did a lot of physical conditioning work. It was a big plus for us.”
Cody said that he and his team know that they will get the Panthers’ best shot tonight.
“They are coming off of a big win against South Creek and I know they will be fired up,” Cody said. “We just have to try to keep the momentum going and knock the rust off from not playing last week and show a whole lot of intensity.”
Camden (1-3) at Southside (4-0)
By going a perfect 4-0 during their non-conference schedule, the Seahawks can cross off at least one thing from their to-do list. The next thing will be to try remain perfect throughout their conference schedule.
“We’ve accomplished our first set of goals: We’ve won our non-conference games and all our games at home, and we have gotten better each week,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said.
In its last time out Southside rolled past Columbia with a 40-0 win despite not having quarterback Terrill Moore, who injured his ankle on the final play of the Fossil Bowl the week before.
The Seahawks’ had bye last week and where hoping to use the time to heal, but instead have added a player to the injured list.
“We lost two starters this week. We lost one to a knee and another to team rules,” Kellum said. “We lost DeShawn Blough, who was a starter on the line on both sides of the ball, and we lost our starting running back to team rules.”
Sophomore Rakeem Miller will get the starting nod at tailback, while J.J. Jones will take Blough’s spot on defense and Will Mozingo will take his spot on offense.
As for Moore, it appears he will be a game time decision.
“We let him practice a little bit taped up, but he is still gimpy. It’s just day-to-day,” Kellum said. “I’m not going to play him unless he is at least 90 percent. That’s a big loss to us because he was our leading rusher.”
Jordan Benston, who started for Moore in the win over Columbia, is expected to get the starting nod tonight if Moore can’t go.
Camden has struggled this season with its one win coming in a thrilling 35-24 victory over Currituck in Week 3. The Bruins did not look as good its last time out as it fell 40-3 to Northeastern.
Manteo (3-1) at Riverside (4-0)
The Knights have started off the season in spectacular fashion going 4-0 against quality competition. Despite beating a previously undefeated 2-A team in North Pitt 29-12, Riverside is still on the outside looking in on the AP 1-A prep poll. Maybe a win over last year’s Four Rivers Conference champion Manteo will change that.
Despite being left out of the poll, Riverside coach Asim McGill said last week’s win over the Panthers was important.
“That was a big win for our program,” McGill said. “Any time you play a 2-A school and can beat them that’s a big win for your program. It’s the first time I am 4-0 as a coach, so for us it’s big.”
The Knights trailed that game 12-0 at the half, but showed resiliency by out-scoring North Pitt 29-0 in the final two quarters.
“We just kept going after it. We made a lot of turnovers in the first half; we had four of them,” McGill said. “In the second half we did a better job of taking care of the ball and didn’t make many mistakes. That was the biggest difference in the game.”
McGill and the Knights will try to improve their record to 5-0 tonight as they host Manteo. The Redskins have a solid defense and did not let up a touchdown in the first two games of the season. Manteo’s lone loss came at the hands of 2-A First Flight, which won a close 28-20 ball game.
“Manteo is a good team that likes to run at you with a flex-bone option offense,” McGill said. “Defensively, they come at you with a 3-5 and a lot of blitzes. They are a really good team and we have our work cut out for us.”
Perquimans (2-2) at South Creek (0-4)
After starting out the season scoring only six points in its first three games, South Creek played its best ball of the season last week as it lost a thriller to Northside 40-33. Heading into the Northside game Cougars’ first-year coach Jeremy Jones raised the intensity at practice the preceding week, and though he didn’t get a win, his team did lead Northside 19-18 at the half.
Jones and his team will be looking to build on that momentum tonight when the Cougars play their first conference game of the year against a Perquimans team that has been up and down. The Pirates rolled over its first two opponents of the season, but followed up with a 38-14 loss to Gates County at home and a 39-18 road loss to Edenton their last time out. Perquimans should be well rested for tonight’s game as it is coming out of its bye week.