Second season begins tonight|Four area teams set to start 1-A playoffs

Published 5:09 am Friday, November 12, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — Tonight the second season begins for prep football teams as the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs kickoff with several quality matchups. This season is the first year the state has implemented a podding system which is designed to cut back on the distance schools must travel in the opening round of the playoffs. The pros of the new system are that is saves schools money on its travel budget, while the cons are that there is a lot of familiarity in the first round of the postseason.
Plymouth (10-1), which closed out the regular season with a 44-12 win over Perquimans to tie Manteo for a share of the Four Rivers Conference title, earned a No. 3 seed and will host fellow Four Rivers Conference opponent and sixth-seed Northside (3-8).
Southside (8-3) drew a No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 Columbia (6-4, Tideland), which is a team the Seahawks beat in the regular season.
Riverside (9-2) will play in the 1-AA tournament and will battle a fellow Four Rivers Conference team in Perquimans (5-6), who the Knights topped earlier this year. Here is a look at the matchups:
No. 6 Northside (3-8) at No. 3 Plymouth (10-1)
After suffering a tough 40-14 loss to Southside in which turnovers marred and otherwise close game, the Panthers drew what might be the toughest No. 3 seed in the postseason in Plymouth, a team that was ranked as high as No. 2 in the state only a few weeks ago and now sits at No. 5.
These two teams clashed in Week 6 with the Vikings winning 47-0, but with running backs Taequan Mackey and DeMarquez Martin capable of ripping off big runs at any moment, the Panthers are a team that possesses upset potential if they can play near perfect football tonight.
“The first time we played was in the rain on a Monday night and we didn’t play real well. We’re hoping for dry conditions and things like that might make things a little better,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “We know they are pretty good and we know we are the underdog. Nobody expects us to win, but as long as all 23 of us and the coaching staff believe we can that’s all that matters. We are going to go over there and play hard.”
Plymouth coach Robert Cody said that playing a fellow conference opponent in the first round can be risky.
“It’s always tough to play somebody a second time but that’s the way the state had it. They had (the pod system) before the season started so everybody knew the rules,” Cody said. “Keith Boyd does a good job of coaching and they have some real talented players. The first time we played them was in a rain storm and we were lucky to beat them. Getting them again makes it very, very difficult because they have seen us a lot on film. They got some good players and will be real tough to beat.”
No. 5 Columbia (6-4) at No. 4 Southside (8-3)
The Seahawks have been stellar on defense this season and have shown big-time potential on offense. If both units ever click at the same time for four quarters Southside could make a lengthy playoff run.
“We drive the ball up and down the field. We have done it on Manteo and we have done it on Riverside, but we just don’t finish drives,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said. “We can’t let our defense on the field and expect it to win games by itself. We have to finish drives and get some points.”
These two teams met in Week 4 of the regular season with Southside winning 47-0, but Kellum said that, that means nothing now.
“We are both totally different teams from when we played in the beginning of the year,” Kellum said.
Kellum said his defensive unit will have a tough task stopping the versatile attack of Columbia.
“They run a kind of a multiple offense, they will do a wishbone and a spread,” Kellum said. “They have a pretty good quarterback and a real good running back and overall they try to spread and balance the field and hit you at your weakness.”
No. 5 Perquimans (5-6) at No. 4 Riverside (9-2)
The Knights wrapped up their regular season in impressive fashion as they rolled past rival South Creek with a 48-6 victory.
Riverside will begin the postseason against another conference opponent tonight when it take on the Pirates, a team the Knights met in Week 8 and edged past with a 20-14 victory.
“It was a close game,” Riverside coach Asim McGill said. “I think we were down 6-0 at halftime and we came back and made it 6-6, then 14-6, then it was 14-14 then we scored and made a few stops. They got a good ball club and they played everybody close in the conference.”
Like Southside, Riverside is a team that has played solid defense all year, and at times has shown an offense that can be very explosive.
Tonight, the Knights’ defense will need to play disciplined football.
“They run a lot of option stuff, they will go wishbone and double wing and play a lot of option football,” McGill said. “We have to play assignment football because their quarterback does a good job of running that offense.”
Ever since star wide receiver K.J. Brown went out for the season with a knee injury midway through the year the Knights have been tweaking the offense to best find a way to replace his production. Heading into tonight’s game McGill said he feels comfortable with where the offense is at.
“We have been making some adjustments but I think the last couple of games I feel like we have been doing a good job of moving the ball but we just haven’t been finishing the drives,” McGill said. “I think we have been playing pretty decent but we just have to finish.”