Pack to face Eagles

Published 11:11 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Washington running back Keane Graham (3) looks for daylight during the Pam Pack’s win over Riverside earlier this year. Tonight, Washington will hit the road to take on Coastal Conference rival West Carteret. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

In its Coastal Conference opener the Pam Pack held on tight to take a 14-12 rain-soaked victory over Jacksonville last Friday. Washington is hoping to eliminate some of the theatrics tonight when it goes on the road to battle West Craven (1-4, 0-1).
Washington (3-1, 1-0) built up a 14-3 halftime lead over the Cardinals, but in the second half it could not get much going on offense as Jacksonville crept back into the game. The Cardinals cut the lead to 14-12 after they blocked a Pack punt and recovered it for a safety. On their next possession they attempted the go-ahead field goal, but Jimmy Williams blocked the attempt as Washington was able to avoid a collapse.
As the Pam Pack heads into its second conference game of the year, coach Sport Sawyer said he would like to see his team execute better than it has so far. In last Friday’s win the team fumbled five times and lost two of them.
“Each week we’ve had turnovers … we have to get those turnovers down to one or zero,” Sawyer said. “Our timing between the center and quarterback has been off. Then at running back we’ve played a little bit of musical chairs there and that’s caused some problems on Friday night too. I really want to see more continuity between the center, quarterback and running back.”
One group that has seemed to jell over the last two weeks is the defense. Washington switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 against Riverside two weeks ago and the unit has handled the transition well.
In the last four quarters of play defensive coordinator John Blank’s crew has allowed a mere 10 points. The lone touchdown during that time was not a result of a drive, but a 61-yard run by Jacksonville running back Jermaine Linton. Aside from the blocked kick, sophomore defensive back Karim Topping added an interception to conclude a solid defensive effort.
“They’re starting to get a little bit of an identity,” Sawyer said. “I want our front line to be a little more aggressive and Coach (Jerome) Tyson and Coach Blank are really working hard at doing that. But, they are starting to develop a little bit of an identity and a swagger about themselves.”
Sawyer said he has had several players step up and help form that identity.
“(MLB) Jaquez Columbus has been a leader and (OLB) Quashon Davis has been a leader  along with (DB) Devontae Corprew,” Sawyer said. “Those three guys have really stepped up their game.”
They will have to do so once again tonight when the Pack takes on an Eagles team that looks to rebound from a 41-6 loss to D.H. Conley its last time out.
“West Craven runs a 4-2-5 defense and on offense they do a lot of spread stuff,” Sawyer said. “They’re not a bad team, they have just had some bad breaks. That’s why we have to try not to give them any breaks because if we do they can rally around that and get some momentum.”