Getting defensive

Published 8:23 pm Thursday, September 29, 2011

Washington linebackers Jaquez Columbus (22) and Austin Mitchell (30) and the rest of the Pam Pack defense will look to slow down a high-powered Havelock offense when the Pam Pack battles the Rams tonight. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

On Monday, the Pam Pack put together its best effort of the season as it went on the road and beat fellow Coastal Conference foe West Craven 45-14. The victory was the third in the row for Washington, and the team will need that same kind of effort if it wants to stretch that streak to four this Friday when it plays at Havelock.
The Pam Pack (4-1, 2-0) and the Rams (6-0, 2-0) are tied for first place in the Coastal Conference standings along with West Carteret (6-0, 2-0), but after tonight’s road game that No. 1 spot will be a little less crowded.
When the dust clears, Washington is hoping it will remain on top, and for that to happen, its defense must continue to dominate.
After letting up a combined 81 points in the first two games of the year, the Pack switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense and the unit has been sensational. In the team’s last three contests it has allowed a mere 39 points, with no team scoring over 14.
That defense will face an immense task tonight as it looks to contain a Havelock team that has posted 43 points per game.
“They’re getting the concept of the 3-4 defense,” Washington head coach Sport Sawyer said. “Havelock is averaging about 40 points per game, so this week we have to really stay on top of receivers and get ready to come up and tackle.”
The Rams run a spread offense that will test each and every level of the Pack defense. In the secondary, Daniel Maultsby, Karim Topping, Pernell Razor and Devontae Corprew must continue to play at the level they have been playing at.
In the middle of the defense, linebackers Jaquez Columbus, Austin Mitchell and brothers Quashon and Corey Davis will have their hands full as they must lend a hand in pass coverage and provide a run-stuffing presence.
“Havelock is well-coached and they will throw the ball around, but they have some good running backs and will try and run it at you,” Sawyer said. “Our defense is capable of doing it, but we have to have our mind’s right.”
Havelock is coming off of a 42-28 victory over D.H. Conley and has knocked off teams such as J.H. Rose and New Bern en route to being 6-0.
Washington is coming off of what Sawyer called the team’s best win of the season and is hoping that momentum can be sustained.
“I think our guys got some confidence from that,” Sawyer said. “Both teams head into this 2-0 so it’s good to have some momentum.”
While the defense has been stingy, the offense has been explosive. On Monday, junior quarterback Jimmy Davis ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, while he connected on 11 of his 18 pass attempts for 151 yards and two scores.
Sawyer said the bottom line is that the team must be ready at all times on each side of the ball if it wants to put a dent in the Rams’ record.
“If we’re focused and know our assignments I feel like it will be a good game,” Sawyer said. “If we’re not focused then they can find holes and get us offensively and defensively.”