Published 8:37 pm Thursday, September 15, 2011
After an exciting Week 4 of football in which South Creek picked up its first win in school history and Plymouth earned its third win of the year, the action figures to intensify tonight as conference play kicks off.
Four Rivers Conference leaders Plymouth and Manteo will put their undefeated records on the line as the Vikings will be at Northside and the Redskins will host Riverside.
South Creek will look to build on its Week 4 momentum when it travels to Perquimans, while Southside hopes to overcome a tough loss to Midway when it plays at Camden.
Here is a look at the matchups:
South Creek (1-3) at
After the merger of Bear Grass and Roanoke in 2010, South Creek went winless in its inaugural year and started out the 2011 season with three straight losses pushing the skid to 14 games. With each week the pressure mounted on coach Jeremy Jones and the Cougars, but last Friday the team was able to take the monkey off its back when it topped Northampton-East 24-20.
“It was nice to sit back and watch the guys enjoy it,” Jones said. “It’s a little bit of a validation that you’re doing things the right way. You can’t help but begin to wonder for a while ‘are the kids being cheated because of something I’m doing?’”
The Cougars are not being cheated. Game after game area coaches commented that South Creek is just a break or two away from getting a win and last week the Cougars finally broke through.
The team has a legitimate shot of doing it again this week as it plays a young Perquimans team that is still searching for its first win of the year.
“When you play a young team you never know when they’re going to put it all together, so that makes it a little scary,” Jones said.
Jones said the Pirates offense can be challenging to stop and that his team must do a better job of taking care of the ball when it’s on offense.
“They’re mainly triple-option, but they’ll do a little bit of trap; we just have to be able to adjust. On defense they’re a 3-4 team but they will also run a 3-3 stack,” Jones said “I think we have to take care of the football better, that’s the one thing I was disappointed with last week. We left three touchdowns on the board in the first half by having three turnovers on their end.”
Plymouth (3-0) at Northside (0-2)
After having to cancel its Week 3 game against Washington and then having a bye in Week 4, Northside has not played a game in September and will take the gridiron tonight against arguably the best team in the area in Plymouth.
“I’ve never had to deal with anything like this in my coaching career,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “We feel like we’re starting the season over again.”
After falling to Creswell in their opener, the Panthers lost a tough match against Pamlico 34-28 their last time out.
Now, they face a big challenge in playing a red-hot Plymouth.
“They’re the No. 5 ranked team in the state, they’re a good team that’s very fast,” Boyd said. “We’re just going to have to try and contain them and play some ball-control offense. We definitely want to get some first downs and keep the ball out of their hands and keep playing hard.”
The Vikings have out-scored opponents 110-30 in their last two games, and are coming off a Week 4 drubbing of Northampton-West in which they won 50-18.
Plymouth generally relies on its stable of quality running backs to gash opponents out of its wing-T offense, but the scary news is that its passing game is improving.
“I thought we threw the ball really well last week, it’s the best we’ve thrown it in a long time,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “I feel good about our quarterback and receivers.”
Vikings’ QB Shamonte Ferbie hit on 5 of his 7 pass attempts for 195 yards and two TDs. However, running backs Kendrick Pitt and Quadry Pettiford are the keys to the offense and if Northside wants to be successful tonight it must contain those two players.
Riverside (1-3) at Manteo (3-0)
After picking up its first win of the season against South Creek in a Monday night game, Riverside had to play Washington three days later and struggled as it fell 38-13 in Week 4.
The usually explosive Knights’ offense hit a speed bump they struggle to replace injured WR Ramelle Lanier. The WDN all-area first-teamer is not only extremely valuable in passing situations, but also is a key figure in the running attack as he is the Knights’ main threat when they run their jet sweep.
“We have to get better offensively, I think defensively we’ve been pretty solid,” Riverside coach Asim McGill said. “Our offense is based on the jet sweep, and when you run the jet sweep you need speed. In the last few years we’ve been fortunate to have that and this year we have some guys that run hard. Ramelle was our big jet guy, he’s a sub 4.5 (in the 40 yard dash), so (not having him) hurts us a little bit.”
With players like 6-8 WR Marcus Freeman and burly running back Jadarian Brown, the Knights still have several threats on offense once they work out the kinks. Their margin of error will be slim tonight as they take on a traditionally tough Manteo team that is coming off of a 36-6 win over First Flight.
The Redskins run a disciplined option attack on offense and McGill said his team must be equally disciplined in trying to stop it.
“Any time you play an option football team you have to play assignment football,” McGill said. “You have to be disciplined. If you’re assigned the quarterback, then you’re assigned the quarterback, you can’t go ‘Coach, I thought the fullback had the ball.’ That’s that they want you to do. You can’t just fly around, everybody must play their assignments.”
Southside (1-2) at Camden (0-3)
After topping Creswell 31-24 to earn its first win of the year, Southside looked poised to make it two in a row versus Midway, but then allowed the Raiders to comeback and steal a 37-29 victory.
“I thought we played better, we cut down on turnovers but you can’t give up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said.
The good news for the Seahawks is that their ground game built around Terrill Moore, Johnnie Pender and Rokeem Miller looked solid, while other players are beginning to elevate their play.
“We had two guys (Moore and Pender) rush for over 100 yards,” Kellum said. “James Jones has really stepped up. We moved him to middle linebacker and he really got after it. We’ve got better on special teams and we really cutback on turnovers.”
Pender did not handle the ball last season, but has made a name for himself so far this year.
“He’s our starting fullback now and he’s just now really starting to get it going,” Kellum said.
Southside will face a Bruins team that has allowed 126 points in its last two games, both losses, and Kellum said stopping the run is a must.
“They’ve gone back to running the option, they’re not throwing as much as they did last year,” Kellum said. “North Duplin (who Southside lost to in Week 1) was an option team and they killed us with the fullback, so hopefully we will correct that.”