Pack begins playoffs tonight|Will travel to take on the Cougars

Published 5:08 am Friday, November 12, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
The Washington football team lost a heartbreaker in its regular season finale last Friday as it fell 36-29 to Coastal Conference opponent West Carteret to finish fourth in the conference with a 5-6 (4-3) record.
That loss led to the Pam Pack earning a sixth seed in the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs where it will be on the road against No. 3 South Brunswick who finished second in the 3-A/2-A Waccamaw Conference with 9-2 record.
While nobody likes to head into the playoffs after a loss, Washington can take pride in the fact that it fought hard for all four quarters and held a lead with under two minutes left to play.
The young Pam Pack team struggled with consistency earlier in the season, but has seemingly improved each week.
Trailing 28-21 to the Patriots with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, sophomore quarter Jimmy Williams led his team down the field to recapture the lead. Williams connected with junior Keane Graham on a 30-yard pass play, and after a two-point conversion, Washington held a 29-28 lead with under two minutes left in the game.
Though time was short, there was enough of it left for West Carteret to score one more time to steal the victory, and a higher playoff seeding, as it ended the year with 5-2 Coastal Conference record.
“You never like to lose by no means, but I thought our guys played really hard,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “If we had a couple of minutes left I think we could have went back down the field and scored. You never know, I just felt like we ran out of time.”
That loss may have stung the Pam Pack a little bit, but starting tonight every team’s record rolls back to 0-0 as the postseason begins.
Washington will look to go 1-0, but in order to do that the team must stop a potent South Brunswick offense.
“They have a good football team,” Sawyer said. “They run an I-formation offense and have a good running back who rushed for about 1,500 yards and a receiver who is really good. They have a lot of speed on both sides of the ball so we have to go down there and play good football if we want to win.”
The Cougars are coached by Roman Kelley and led by running back Marcus Hankins who is tallying 142 rushing yards per game and has racked up 1,435 yards on the season. South Brunswick balances out the rushing attack with quarterback Nejuan Watts, who throws for 134 yards a night.
“They are a run-first team, but they do have a receiver who is pretty good and can jump out and get the ball,” Sawyer said. “They like to throw the fade route a lot to him, but they do a good job of mixing it up.”
Washington, who also runs out of the I-formation, will counter behind its three-headed rushing attack of tailback William Ellegor, fullback Marquin Hill and Williams, the quarterback.
Ellegor leads all Washington rushers as he has run for 103 yards per game this year despite battling a toe injury for a large portion of the season.
Williams is second on the team with 450 yards on the year and posts a 7.6 yards per carry average, while Hill has galloped his way to 425 yards and has run for 6 yards per attempt.
Those three will play a critical role for Washington in tonight’s playoff battle.
“We have to go out and get some positive yards on first downs,” Sawyer said. “We have to keep the chains moving, maintain our drives with the run and throw some play-action in there. I feel like our guys are just a small step away from being a very good football team, but our time has run out. We have to do it now or it’s over.”