Area teams hit gridiron tonight

Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With the fear of Hurricane Irene putting pressure on the eastern side of the state, all five area Four Rivers Conference teams went into their scramble drill as they moved away from playing Friday and will hit the gridiron tonight at 7 p.m. instead of the usually 7:30 start time.
Week 1 was rough on the area teams, with the exception of Plymouth, which is the only school to enter Week 2 at 1-0.
Aside from the Vikings, Southside, Northside, Riverside and South Creek each suffered setbacks in their opener. Tonight, those teams will look to rebound and avoid 0-2 starts. Here is a look at the matchups:

Northampton East (0-1,Tar-Roanoke) at Plymouth (1-0)
Plymouth’s new backfield impressed in its opener as the Vikings were able to fend off Farmville Central 26-21 to win their season opener.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was stunned we won, they’re a very good team” said Plymouth head coach Robert Cody. “We executed a lot better than I thought we would at this time of year. I think it gives these kids a whole lot of confidence.”
Plymouth’s ground game was led by Kendrick Pitt, who rushed for 140 yards and two TDs, but Cody said the team’s ability to excel at the fundamentals went a long way.
“The new backfield looked pretty good,” Cody said. “Like every first game there was a lot of mistakes, but we didn’t make any fumbles or interceptions; that was a big key.”
Tonight, the big key for Plymouth will be to slow down NHE’s pass-happy offense.
“They’re a wide-open team. They look like the East Carolina Pirates, they throw it every play” Cody said. “(Co-defensive coordinators Corey Crossen and Terry Perry) are getting the defense ready for that wide-open stuff, he’s got three quarterbacks throwing against our DBs one-on-one in practice.”
The key for Plymouth tonight will be to once again excel at the fundamentals.
“We have to defend the pass, block and tackle well, and not turn the ball over,” Cody said.

Southside (0-1) at
Creswell (1-0, Tideland)
Southside opened up its 2011 season with a tough 27-6 home loss to North Duplin. Tonight, Seahawks coach DeWayne Kellum is looking to right that defeat on the road against a Creswell team that topped Northside 36-20 in Week 1.
“We threw that (game against North Duplin) away,” Kellum said. “We looked at the film, tweaked a few things and simplified it so that more people can help us.”
After its offense lacked punch in the opener, Kellum is looking to find ways to jumpstart the attack and will move Terrill Moore from the quarterback position into the running back spot. Taking over at QB will be junior Cole Kellum.
With the electric Moore in the backfield, Kellum said that his team must execute properly to in order to move the ball.
“We have to be more aggressive and stay with our blocks. We have to tackle better and we have to execute this offense without missing a beat.” Kellum said.
Kellum was upset with his team’s lack of aggression against North Duplin and said that tonight the Seahawks have to be prepared for another physical battle.”
“If (Creswell) does nothing else, they will hit you on both sides of the ball,” Kellum said. “(Tigers’ coach) Wayne (Rodgers) does a great job, especially with his line, of getting his guys to play. His defensive and offensive line will hit you no matter what, and they don’t quit.”

Riverside (0-1) at Edenton-Holmes (1-0, NE Coastal, 2A)
Sometimes a loss isn’t as bad as it looks. That was the case for Riverside coach Asim McGill, who upon watching tape of the Knights 28-7 Week 1 loss to Farmville Central was a bit more encouraged.
“Everything we saw on film was correctable mistakes. It wasn’t like when I watched the film I was like ‘wow, were not very good,’” McGill said, whose team trailed only 14-7 heading into the fourth quarter. “Every mistake we saw we have worked hard to correct.”
Of the list of things to fix, the Knights coach said the ability to block by the wideouts was at the top.
“We saw some things on film we could have done better blocking-wise,” McGill said. “It wasn’t necessarily from the guys up front, we saw some things on the edge that we can do better. I think the difference in the game was that Ayden-Grifton did a good job of blocking on the edge, their receivers and backs did a great job.”
McGill also said too many drives were stalled last week by penalties, something that Riverside must cut back on this week if it wants to beat Edenton, which is coming off of a 53-8 win over Corinth Holders.
“We have to eliminate our mistakes, we can’t beat ourselves,” McGill said. “We have to get off to a strong start, block on the edge and do the things that we can control well.”

Pamlico (0-1, Carolina Plains) at Northside (0-1)
Northside coach Keith Boyd gave his game film rom its Week 1 36-20 loss to Creswell mixed reviews. While the young Panthers made mistakes, they were ones that Boyd hopes he can fix heading into their Week 2 clash with Pamlico.
“A lot of it was youth. At times our line was bad, at times we saw five freshmen out there on defense, and sometimes they lined up right and sometimes they didn’t,” Boyd said. “A lot of times when weren’t aligned right we gave up a big play, and the offense was the same way.”
Boyd said there were also several things he liked about the team’s first game.
“We tackled better than we did last year,” Boyd said. “Our character was better than last year, we didn’t start fighting amongst ourselves. The offensive line helped us move the ball but we just didn’t have explosive plays. We’re going to have to have drives that will have 12 to 14 snaps.”
Northside, which fields on five seniors on its entire roster, will look to improve on its effort tonight despite the short week.
A key for the Panthers will be stopping the Hurricanes’ spread attack.
“They run a spread, they go back in shotgun and throw it all over the place,” Boyd said. “They’ll mix in some run a little bit, so it’s night and day from what we saw last week against Creswell (which runs a ground-based wing-T).”

South Creek (0-1) at North Pitt (0-1, Eastern Plains, 2A)
South Creek is still searching for its first win in school history after falling 56-6 to North Edgecombe in Week 1. The Cougars will face a stiff test in Week 2 as they will take on North Pitt, a 2A team that is coming off a 47-28 loss at the hands of Washington in its opener.
Cougars’ coach Jeremy Jones credited North Edgecombe for its physical play, saying it was the most aggressive team he has faced since taking over at the school a year ago. The Rainbows’ play forced Jones to remove QB Zack Phelps and bring back last year’s starter Reginald Parker, a decision that the coach will stick with for the time being.
“We made a change at quarterback in the second half and we got a little bit of a passing game going,” Jones said. “But, we just have to establish ourselves up front, we have to have guys that can pick up the blitz.”
Against North Pitt, Jones said it will be critical to get off to a fast start.
“We have to catch some breaks, we got to make our own breaks and do something positive early in the game,” Jones said. “We have to get a turnover or an early score and make our own luck.”