Plenty on the line in the final week|Teams jockeying for playoff spots

Published 3:34 am Friday, November 5, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
A stunning Week 11 upset has sent reverberations throughout the Four Rivers Conference that will be felt all the way until the time playoff seeding starts.
Last Friday then No. 2 Plymouth looked to clinch the conference crown against Manteo, but instead committed seven turnovers en route to turning over the top seed to the Bruins.
Heading into the final week of the regular season Plymouth (9-1, 5-1), who slid to No. 5 in the rankings, will take on Perquimans (5-5, 3-3) while Manteo (8-2, 5-1) will host Camden (4-6, 3-3). If both teams happen to win out they would split the conference championship, but the Bruins would earn the top seed because they won their head-to-head matchup with the Vikings. That scenario would also push everyone underneath the Bruins down a spot in the seeding.
All of the teams in action tonight will put blinders on and worry about what’s in front of them until the Week 12 dust clears and present a better view of the playoffs.
Southside (7-3, 3-3) will travel to take on a feisty Northside (3-7, 1-5) team in the Anchor Bowl, while Riverside (8-2, 4-2) will hit the road to clash with rival South Creek (0-10, 0-6). Here is a look at the matchups:
No. 5 Plymouth (9-1, 5-1) at Perquimans (5-5, 3-3)
Tonight the Vikings will do something they haven’t done all season: Take the field after a loss. Last season it was Plymouth who stunned Manteo and wiped out its perfect season with a second round playoff win. This year the Bruins returned the favor by putting a dent in the Vikings’ perfect record with a 20-14 upset victory.
“We had a lot of turnovers, we fumbled the ball seven times,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “We played great on defense, it might be the best defensive game we played all year. We had a chance at the end and just didn’t get it done. Manteo played really well and won the game.”
The Vikings have done a good job of holding on to the ball all season. Cody explained Friday’s rash of fumbles by saying, “It’s kind of like a flat tire, you never know when it’s going to happen and you don’t know why.”
The key now for Plymouth is put last week’s loss behind them and focus on Perquimans.
“They’re an option team, very much like the team we played last week,” Cody said. “We just have to go out there and defend it well. They play a 5-3, just like the team we just faced. We just have to go out and block, tackle and hold on to the ball this week.”
Southside (7-3, 3-3) at Northside (3-7, 1-3)
The Panthers won their first Four Rivers Conference game of the year last week as they topped South Creek 43-14.
“We played pretty well,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “We were up 36-8 at the half, and South Creek, even though they haven’t won a game, have been playing teams pretty tight. We were just able to avoid turnovers and play solid football.”
Northside will attempt to win its second conference game in a row tonight when it plays its final game of the regular season against rival Southside in the Anchor Bowl.
“It’s always good to get a win before going into the playoffs. Coming off of last week, to win two in a row would be really big,” Boyd said. “It will be our last home game, it’s Senior Night, you’re playing for the Anchor Bowl. There are a whole lot of things that make the game important. You’re playing against your rival, all the kids now each other (Southside coach) DeWayne (Kellum) and I know each other really well. We are all friends when it starts and all friends after, but in between you’re trying to win.”
The Seahawks are coming off of a tough 13-8 loss to Riverside in a game in which their defense played superb but their offense struggled. Kellum said tonight’s game against Northside will an important one.
“It’s big, it’s big for them and us,” Kellum said. “Northside has been playing everybody tough. … They are kind of like us, they haven’t finished a lot of games but they have played everybody tough. … We just have to play like we did defensively (last week) and finish our drives.”
Riverside (8-2, 4-2) at South Creek (0-10, 0-6)
The Knight’s enter this matchup with their eyes on the postseason, while the Cougars have their focus fixed on next season.
Riverside needs to close out the regular season with a win to ensure the highest seed possible in the event that Manteo or Plymouth, or both teams should lose. Should the Bruins and Vikings win, a Knight’s win would give them the No. 3 seed.
Riverside is coming off of a 13-8 win over Southside in Week 11 and if the team can match its defensive effort from a week ago that three seed is well within reach.
“Defensively we have been playing good football all year,” Riverside coach Asim McGill said. “Offensively, I thought we moved the ball well but just did not capitalize. … We just need to get point once we get into the red zone.”
McGill has traditionally done a good job crafting ways to put points on the board. Last week, on the first play from scrimmage the Knights’ coach reached into his bag of tricks and came up with seven points as he called for a jet sweep, option pass that resulted in a 44-yard TD reception from wideout Trevon Rogers to Marcus Freeman.
South Creek battled Northside in Week 11 and continued to struggle as it fell 44-13 to the Panthers. It has been a rough season for first-year coach Jeremy Jones, whose team is still trying to learn his new triple-option offense as well as his 3-4 defense.
Jones’ team heads into the regular season finale winless and has already started a youth movement with hopes of a better 2011 season.
“We have started playing a lot of younger players. Last week we played (on defense) two freshman, three sophomores, five juniors and one senior to end the game Friday night,” Jones said. “Offensively, we ended up with only two seniors on the field. We haven’t had good leadership, so we have been playing guys that are trying to do things the right way. … If guys want to step up this week they have a chance to win their spots back.”
Despite having one eye on next season, Jones said there would be no better way to end this year then by topping the rival Knights.
“It would mean everything,” Jones said. “When you don’t have a win and you beat your rival who is having a pretty good season, you can send them into the postseason on a little bit of a downer. It’s something you can go out and hang your hat on.”