Plymouth looks to lock up conference crown|Knights to take on the Seahawks

Published 1:48 am Friday, October 29, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
There are only two games left in the regular season and yet, aside from Plymouth, there has not been much separation in the Four Rivers Conference.
The Vikings (9-0, 5-0) have moved up one spot in the NCHSAA 1-A poll to become the No. 2 team in the state and have held at least a share of first place since Week 1. Plymouth enters tonight’s game against Manteo (7-2, 4-1) with a chance to clinch the conference title. The Redskins are the only team left with only one conference loss and needs to top Plymouth tonight if they want to get a share of first place.
Underneath those two teams sits Southside (7-2, 3-2), Camden (4-5, 3-2) and Riverside (7-2, 3-2), all of which are tied for third place.
The Seahawks will host the Knights tonight, while Camden will battle Perquimans, who at 2-3, 4-5) occupies the No. 4 spot all by its self.
Rounding out the bottom of the conference is Northside (2-7, 0-5) and South Creek (0-9, 0-5) One of those teams will pick up its first conference win of the year as they will battle each other tonight at South Creek. Here is a look the matchups:
Manteo (7-2, 4-1) at
No. 2 Plymouth (9-0, 5-0)
The No. 2 Vikings head into tonight’s matchup with Manteo looking to swipe the Four Rivers Conference crown off of the reigning champ’s head when these two teams clash at Plymouth.
At this time last year it was the Redskins that were rolling past Four Rivers opponents as they won the conference and finished the regular season undefeated. The Redskins would remain unbeaten until they met up with Plymouth in the second round of the playoffs, where the Vikings handed them their first loss of the year and bounced them out of the postseason.
After that heartbreaking defeat there is no doubt Manteo will come into tonight’s game with payback on its mind.
“It’s a huge game,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “If they win they get the conference and if we win we will be in a good position. … There definitely is (more of a sense of urgency), especially on the coaching staff we really feel like we need to get this done.”
One of the major concerns of the coaching staff is Manteo’s option offense which has scored over 30 points four times this season.
“They’re a super option team,” Cody said. “They fake the ball and run it really, really well and it’s going to be a tough job to stop them.”
Cody said the Redskins’ defense, which has pitched four shutouts this season, was equally challenging.
“They are just so good on defense, they are well coached,” Cody said. “We have to find a way to get a couple of yards.”
The Vikings have found plenty of ways to get yards this season as it has tallied roughly 500 rushing yards per game behind the efforts of a powerful offensive line and talented running backs such as Ronnell Blount, Davonte Bland and Elmer Cooper.
Plymouth’s defense has been dominating all season as it has only allowed one team (West Montgomery) to score over 25 points all year.
Riverside (7-2, 3-2) at Southside (7-2, 3-2)
With second place on the line, the Seahawks will host Riverside in what should be one of the best games of the week. Southside enters tonight’s game having won two in a row, with its last one being a 40-6 win over South Creek.
Riverside comes into Chocowinity having won its last game 42-20 over Northside.
Despite being hit with a ton of injuries, the Seahawks have been able to play at a high level thanks to the production of some of the younger players on the roster. One of those players is Rokeem Miller, a sophomore tailback that has ignited the Seahawks’ running game this year.
“We knew he had talent when we pulled him up from JV,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said. “He was our No. 3 tailback but he stepped up to become our No. 1 tailback and he is only going to get better.”
Southside got a boost last week with the return of quarterback Terrell Moore from a Week 3 ankle injury. Kellum said that while Moore is not 100 percent yet, the QB did a good job of running the offense.
Injuries have also hit Riverside as it will play the rest of the way without star wide receiver K.J. Brown who sustained a knee injury. The loss of Brown has forced Riverside coach Asim McGill has had to tweak his offense to take full advantage of other talented players such as Romelle Lanier, Marcus Freeman and Quentin Lawrence.
Both the Knights and the Seahawks are capable of posting big point totals, but commonly overlooked is the effort of both team’s defenses.
Only three teams have scored over 20 points on Southside this year (Plymouth, Perquimans and Manteo), while the Seahawks have kept teams under seven points four times which includes two shutouts.
Riverside has been equally impressive this season and has only surrendered over 20 points two times this year (Plymouth, Ayden-Grifton) despite playing a tough non-conference schedule.
Riverside coach Asim McGill said that whichever one of these defenses can create the most turnovers will provide their team with the upper hand.
“Like I always say, it usually comes down to whichever team can go out there and take care of the ball and make the least amount of mistakes will get the ‘W,’” McGill said.
Northside (2-7, 0-5) at South Creek (0-9, 0-5)
Northside will travel to South Creek tonight as both teams will look to climb out of the Four Rivers Conference basement. Both the Panthers and the Cougars are winless in the conference and make no mistake about it, each team is eying this as there best chance of getting a win.
Despite their records, both the Panthers and the Cougars have their share of good moments. Just last week the Panthers put a scare into a good Riverside team and were only down 28-20 at the start of the fourth quarter before eventually falling 42-20.
South Creek lost 40-6 last week to Southside, but the game didn’t get carried away until the Seahawks scored a few late touchdowns.
The Cougars came within four points of topping Perquimans in Week 6, and have shown signs of progress throughout the season.
These two teams clashed once already in a non-conference matchup in Week 5, as the Panthers won a 40-33 shootout.
It is possible for the winner of tonight’s game to make the playoffs, especially if that winner can close out the regular season with another victory. However, both coaches said their eyes are fixated solely on tonight’s game.
“For us right now, we are just trying to find something positive about this season,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “Whether we qualify for the playoffs or not is secondary. For us right now we just want to get the monkey off our back.”
At 2-7 (0-5) the Panthers are in a slightly better position to make the postseason than the winless Cougars, and Northside coach Keith Boyd said that, that makes tonight’s game a big one.
“We feel like we need to at least win one more game (to make the playoffs), it’s sad to say that, that will get you in the playoffs but that’s the situation,” Boyd said. “It’s been a frustrating season because we have been in a whole lot of games but we have just shot ourselves in the foot quite a bit with turnovers and penalties and things like that. We have played with a lot of people we just always seem to slip away at the end.”
Both teams have had good moments this season and whichever team can sustain its good play the longest will be tonight’s winner.