Rivals set to clash in final week
Published 9:44 pm Thursday, October 27, 2011
After 10 intense weeks of football, the regular season will come to an end tonight in spectacular fashion as all five area Four Rivers Conference teams have something to play for.
After suffering its first loss of the year to Manteo in an overtime thriller last week, Plymouth now shares a spot with the Redskins atop the conference standings. The Vikings can clinch the conference crown outright if they beat Perquimans and the Redskins fall to Camden. Should both teams win their finale, they will split the conference championship, but Manteo would receive the higher seed because it won the head-to-head matchup.
Over in Chocowinity, Southside will look to break its two-game slide as it hosts area and conference rival Northside in the Anchor Bowl. The Panthers go into the bowl game still searching for their first win of the year and they would love to head back to Yeatesville with a victory and anchor in hand.
In Williamston, two of the hotter teams in the conference will clash in another area and conference rivalry as Riverside hosts South Creek in a matchup of two teams riding two-game winning streaks.
The Knights head into the battle in sole possession of second place with a 4-2 conference record, while the Cougars, Seahawks and Bruins are locked in a three-way tie for third with 3-3 records. Looking up at them is Perquimans, who with one win sits above Northside.
With all the team’s jockeying for playoff positioning, Week 11 figures to be the most exciting week of the season. Here’s a look at the matchups:
Northside (0-8, 0-6) at Southside (5-5, 3-3)
Northside has one last chance to get a win this season and nothing would be sweeter for the Panthers then to get it against rival Southside in tonight’s Anchor Bowl.
As of now, the Seahawks hold possession of the anchor, but a Northside win would bring it back to Yeatsville, along with giving the team an outside shot at making the postseason.
“With the season that we’ve had it will be really nice to go there and have a chance to win it,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “There’s a lot riding on the game. There’s a possibility of making the playoffs and then having a chance to win the Anchor, plus a win would give these seniors another week of practice.”
Northside comes into the matchup having put forth a solid effort against South Creek in the team’s 34-28 loss to the Cougars. Despite five turnovers, Northside was tied with South Creek with under five minutes left in the game, but could not pull out the victory.
“We played a lot better,” Boyd said. “We were able to move the ball and we got a few stops, but they won the turnover battle 5-1; we kind of stopped ourselves.”
The Seahawks can relate, as they also lost a tight battle last week to Riverside. Southside rallied to cut the Knights’ lead to 21-20 in the fourth quarter, but could not get any closer as it fell by a final score of 28-20.
“We played good in the second half, that’s when our defense woke up,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said.
Kellum knows his team must play all four quarters against the young Panthers.
“(Northside) has a bunch of young kids but they got a bunch of games under their belt now,” Kellum said. “They gave South Creek a run for their money, and (South Creek) whooped us.”
As of now, the Seahawks have the anchor and Kellum said that his team will fight hard to maintain possession of it.
“It’s a rivalry, it’s the Anchor Bowl and it’s a big deal to us and our seniors,” Kellum said. “We have to go out there and play defense for four quarters and hang on to the ball.”
South Creek (4-6, 3-3) at Riverside (5-5, 4-2)
The last time Riverside and South Creek met was on a Monday following the aftermath of Hurricane Irene as both teams went into the second annual “Battle for the Paddle” seeking their first win of the season. Riverside won the contest 33-6, but a lot has changed for both teams since that Week 3 matchup.
Riverside has fought off some of the injuries and inconsistencies that plagued it early in the year and have outscored opponents 92-20 in the last two weeks to bring a two-game winning streak into tonight’s regular season finale.
“I think when you look at South Creek they are the most improved team in the conference, but when I look at the film and I look at us we’re a much better team than we were in the first game also,” Knights coach Asim McGill said. “It will be a competitive game between two teams that have improved throughout the year.”
In Week 3, South Creek was still looking for its first-ever win in the school’s year-plus history. Since then, the Cougars have been victorious four times and arrive at Riverside having strung together back-to-back victories, with the last one being a 34-28 thriller over Northside.
“I think our team has a lot more confidence since (the first game against Riverside). At the end of that one we were 0-3, but since then we have been 4-3,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said.
The Week 3 loss to the Knights has a profound affect on the Cougars as the Knights’ blitz-heavy defense persuaded Jones to realign his offense.
“We took a lot of pressure and lost a lot of yardage because we only had one back in the backfield protecting the quarterback,” Jones said. “So we went to having a two-back set specifically knowing that we were coming up on the Riverside game and that they would blitz like crazy.”
Both coaches said that the key to tonight’s game would be stopping the other team’s playmakers.
“We have to stop (WR) Ramelle Lanier,” Jones said. “He’s going to get his touches and he’s going to get his runs. I would like to say that we’re going to shut him out, but the odds are he’s going to find his way into the end zone. The thing is to limit his big plays.”
McGill said his focus will be on slowing down South Creek’s dual threat quarterback Reginald Parker.
“Their quarterback is a ‘house guy,’ (someone who is capable of taking it to the house on any play) and you have to contain him,” McGill said. “You have to focus on him because he’s the quarterback and he touches the ball every play, you have to stop him.”
Perquimans (1-5, 1-9) at No. 7 Plymouth (8-1, 5-1)
The Vikings suffered their first loss of the year last week when they fell 46-40 in overtime to then-ranked No. 7 Manteo. The loss dropped Plymouth three spots in the poll, while the Redskins moved up to No. 6.
Vikings’ coach Robert Cody said his team must correct its mistakes and focus on the task at hand tonight.
“You try to go out and just fix yourself and correct some of the things you did wrong,” Cody said. “The key for us tonight is to just go out and block and tackle.”
The Vikings offense has been unstoppable all year long and has averaged 46 points per game and has scored at least 40 points in every game but one.
Perquimans on the other hand has struggled on the offensive side of the ball. The Pirates come to Plymouth in the midst of a four-game losing streak in which they have tallied a mere 40 points in the last four weeks.