Vikes eye conference crown
Published 8:00 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011
Week 10 of the prep football season is highlighted by a mega-matchup that features two ranked teams as No. 4 Plymouth travels to No. 7 Manteo with a chance to clinch the Four Rivers Conference championship. The undefeated Vikings hold a one-game lead over the one-loss Bruins, who are currently sitting in second place.
Riverside and Southside are locked in a tie for third place in the standings, but that tie won’t last past tonight as the two teams will square off at Riverside High School in what should be a tremendous contest.
Breathing down the Seahawks and Knights’ necks are South Creek and Camden, who with two conference wins each are tied for fourth place. The Cougars are coming off of a thrilling victory over Southside and will look to keep the momentum going when they travel to Northside. Camden will try to keep pace with the Cougars against Perquimans, who with one conference win sits above Northside at fifth place in the standings. With every team fighting for playoff positioning, Week 10 figures to be a crucial week for everyone. Here’s a look at the matchups:
No. 4 Plymouth (8-0, 5-0) at No. 7 Manteo (7-1, 4-1)
While there are several rivalries in the Four Rivers Conference, none has been better than Plymouth-Manteo over the last two seasons. During that period the two teams have played each other four times, with at least one of the teams being undefeated in three of those four contests.
In 2009, Plymouth lost to Manteo in the regular season, then spoiled the Bruins’ perfect year with an 18-12 victory in the playoffs.
Last year, the Bruins returned the favor as they dented the Vikings a perfect record by beating them at their own homecoming. Plymouth had the last laugh when it was able to bounce the Bruins out of the playoffs a few weeks later.
Heading into tonight’s matchup, it’s Plymouth who has the perfect record once again, and the Vikings will look to clinch a conference crown with a win over their rivals.
Though tonight’s game has added significance, Plymouth coach Robert Cody said he handles the week the same as any other.
“You have to approach them all the same,” Cody said. “You don’t want to go out and over-coach. Sometimes you get wrapped up in trying to put in new things and you take away from what you really do.”
Aside from a history of success, these two teams have plenty in common. Both run a ground-based attack as the Bruins are an option team and the Vikings run the wing-T, while on defense both programs will use a 3-5-3.
Cody said slowing down Manteo’s offense will be critical.
“Well, we have tried to sit and read the at times and that didn’t work,” Cody said. “Then we tried to just blow gaps and get them before they handed it off, but a lot of times you just have to bring that safety into the box and give them one extra guy that needs to be blocked.”
Cody said the big key to tonight’s game will be ball security.
“We can’t go out there and turn the ball over,” Cody said. “We have to tackle on the option and block up front and maybe we’ll have a chance.”
Southside (5-4, 3-2) at Riverside (4-5, 3-2)
Tonight’s matchup between Southside and Riverside features two teams that have much more in common than just their matching conference records. Both teams have had some inconsistent Friday nights, but when either one of them is on top of their game they are awfully tough to stop.
The Seahawks and the Knights each feature physical, tough defenses, and both teams potentially possess one of the best offenses in the conference when they execute properly. Whoever does that will likely win tonight’s game.
Riverside has gotten a big boost from the return of WR Ramelle Lanier. Knight’s coach Asim McGill said that when the wideout plays well it opens up things for the other players.
“Ramelle has brought a spark to us offensively,” said McGill, whose team is coming off a 64-0 win over Northside. “In high school football I believe that you have to have one or two ‘house guys’ who can take it 50 or 60 yards at a time and Ramelle can do that. That opens up the inside running game for (RB) Jadarian (Brown) and the passing game.”
Southside’s wing-T attack features several backs that can burn a defense, and though Riverside may run its offense out of the shotgun, spread formation, Seahawks’ coach DeWayne Kellum said that the two offenses are very similar.
“Their offense is just like our offense except it’s just a different setup,” Kellum said. “They run the jet, they can hit the backside with power, they run the counter and they can throw the jet pass, they don’t depend on one person either.”
They key for both teams will ball security. Last week Southside fumbled five times in its 38-34 loss to South Creek and Kellum knows that cannot happen again.
“We need to cut down on penalties and hold on to the ball,” Kellum said. “If you cut down on those things you can have a chance to win.”
South Creek (3-6, 2-3) at Northside (0-7, at 0-5)
South Creek heads into its matchup after earning its best win in the school’s year-and-half existence as it forced five fumbles and came up with a big defensive stand late in the game to top Southside 38-34 last Friday.
Fueling the Cougars’ success, as been the play of running backs Markell Farmer, Tyree Manning and Dreshon Amply.
“Markell had three touchdowns the other night (against Southside),” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “Tyree Manning is a legit 4.5 guy and he is only a sophomore. We have been telling him he can be a stud and the last coupe of weeks and he is really starting to buy into the fact that he can be that. … Dreshon is a good runner and he blocks. If he gets two or three carries and 20 yards he’s happy and he’s kind of the heart and soul of the backfield.”
Northside will host South Creek and is coming off of a 64-0 loss to Riverside looking for a chance to remove the zero from its win column.
Jones can relate with Panthers’ coach Keith Boyd, as his team finished the 2010 season winless. Jones knows he will face a hungry Northside team tonight and is not overlooking his Week 10 opponent.
“There front three on defense are good, their nose guard demands a double team up front,” Jones said. “They got kids that play hard. We were in that situation last year and we felt going into the last couple of games that we were running out of chances and played harder.”