Pack looks to rebound against Vikings|WHS must get ground game back on track

Published 11:05 pm Friday, October 15, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,,Sports Writer
After suffering its first Coastal Conference defeat of the year to Havelock last week, Washington will look to bounce back tonight when it travels to White Oak.
The Pam Pack enters Week 9 with a 3-4 (2-1) record which has it tied for second place in the conference along with West Carteret (5-2, 2-1) and D.H. Conley (2-5, 2-1), while placing right underneath Havelock (5-2, 3-0) and South Central (5-2, 3-0).
Washington played well against the Rams, but could not string enough good moments together to come away with a win.
“I thought for three-and-half quarters it was a hard fought game, but after we scored our second touchdown (in the fourth quarter) and they came back with a big play and scored a touchdown. It was a big momentum change,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “We just couldn’t bounce back from that.”
Posting 238 rushing yards per game, the Pam Pack have been able to rush the ball with force against opponents this season, but against Havelock it could only muster 119 yards on the ground.
“We have been running the ball pretty decent this year but last week we had some trouble,” Sawyer said. “We have to start doing some different formations. We tend to stay in the same formation and that goes back to myself. I have to call some different plays with some different formations. I take responsibility for that.”
Washington’s running game has also been hampered by the toe injury sustained by star running back William Ellegor. The senior has only been able to play a limited amount of snaps, but when he is in the game the complexion of the offense is completely different. Running back Keane Graham has been done a nice job backing him up, but does not impact a game the way Ellegor does.
To compensate for the loss of Ellegor’s production, the Pam Pack will look to increase its passing game that so far this season has averaged a mere 25 yards per contest. The Pack’s lack of passing has made it easier for opposing defenses to gang up against the run.
“(Quarterback) Jimmy (Williams) seems to get better each week,” Sawyer said. “He has thrown a few interceptions this year but at the same time he has thrown some very good passes. I think it’s a learning curve, but he is starting to throw with more confidence.”
Defensively, the Pack had its moments too. The unit was able to pressure the Havelock quarterback at times, but Sawyer said the defense needs to be more consistent.
“They played some pretty good football, but then in the fourth quarter we let up that big play,” Sawyer said. “We have to stop the big play. We can’t relax. The defense made some big stops but we have to stop the big play.”
That defense will have to be on its toes this week as it try to contain a White Oak team that has come oh-so-close to picking up its first conference win. The Vikings are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, but have lost the last two games by a combined seven points as they fell 31-28 to West Carteret and 32-28 to D.H. Conley
“White Oak is a good football team. I know a lot of people look at records and stuff like that – that’s what we do as people and fans – but they have played a lot of close games,” Sawyer said. “They are a good team and have a quarterback who has signed on with Georgia Tech as an athlete. They can play.”