Revenge-minded Vikes head to Manteo|Plymouth seeks payback for late season loss

Published 7:52 am Friday, November 26, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
Ever since Manteo become the first team to knock off Plymouth this season the team has wanted its shot at revenge and it will get it tonight when the third-seeded Vikings travel to take on the No. 1 Bruins in the Sectional Round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs.
It was only a few weeks the Bruins derailed the Vikings perfect season by forcing six turnovers in their 20-14 upset victory over then No. 2 ranked Plymouth.
The stunner not only handed the Vikings (12-1, 6-1) their first loss of the year, but allowed Manteo (11-2, 6-1) to sneak up and get a share of the Four Rivers Conference crown and a higher playoffs seed.
It’s a good bet the Bruins were more than happy to remove the zero from the Vikings’ loss column. For Manteo, its Week 11 shocker served as payback for when Plymouth put a dent in the Bruins perfect season a year ago when the Vikings pulled off their own stunner in the second round of the state tournament.
Tonight, these two teams will meet for the third time since that playoff upset setting up a winner-take-all scenario as the victor will advance to the East Regional Round of the playoffs while the loser will have to put away the pads till next season.
“It’s definitely a matchup that we wanted,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “They were the team that beat us and now we have the opportunity to play them and maybe we won’t fumble as much this time. I’m not sure the outcome will be any different, but we definitely want the opportunity to play them.”
Cody said he has made some adjustments since the team two teams clashed last and he is hoping that they will lead to success.
“We just have to do a couple of different things with our blocking schemes,” Cody said. “Maybe we can come out and block them a little bit better. They were paying a lot of attention to our big tackle Paris Palmer, so maybe we just got to run the other way.”
Running in any direction has turned out to be a good choice for Cody as his team is led by a large, athletic offensive line that has coupled up with a host of talented running backs to power Cody’s wing-T offense.
That line paved the way for a 50-6 victory over No. 2 Creswell in the District Round of the playoffs. Running back Ronnell Blount led the way with 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Blount, last year’s WDN Athlete of the Year, has been consistently productive all season and that is because he has been better at reading his blocks.
“He’s been doing a really good job,” Cody said of his senior back. “He runs the counter real well and that’s just takes a long time to run. You have to get the kick-out with the guard and turn up by the backside tight end. He’s been learning how to run North and South with it; it takes a while to learn it.”
Tonight, Cody will look to use that high-powered ground game to control the tempo and milk the time of possession.
“I think we are just going to try and keep the ball in our hands,” Cody said. “We are going to try and do like we did last year in the playoffs and just keep the clock ticking and keep their offense off the field.”
The Bruins, who topped No. 4 Southside 40-27 in the District Round, will counter with their own run-orientated, option offense that is led by quarterback Wes Carmichael and running back Kwamere Bailey.
“They are a wing-T team that runs the option and we just have to come out and try and contain them,” Cody said. “We didn’t do a good job of containing their quarterback and then Baily beat us later on, but we just didn’t do a good job of staying with the quarterback.”
Plymouth is young on defense, but so far the unit has been just as impressive as the offense as it has allowed only 18 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs. This season the Vikings have allowed only two teams to score over 20 points. No team has made it to 30.
“Defensively, we are just getting better every week,” Cody said. “We got six or seven sophomores in there that are learning how to play and adjust to new formations and have tackled real well. (DB) Kendrick Pitt is probably one of our better defensive players and Kiemon Blount, he plays the other corner and they both have done a nice job. In the middle you have Mike Ramos, he’s been doing a super job inside with defensive tackle Michael Whitten.”
That unit will look to slow down the Bruins’ attack, and if it can, the Vikings have a good chance to advance to the East Regional round where they will face the winner of the No. 1 Wallace-Rose Hill (13-0)-No. 6 Northampton-West (6-6) matchup.