Published 7:50 pm Thursday, November 3, 2011

Washington running back Keane Graham (3) runs the ball during a game earlier this year. Tonight, the Pam Pack will square off against Currituck in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

There was a little bit of gloom and doom surrounding the Pam Pack football team after its 21-7 loss in the regular season finale to Coastal Conference rival West Carteret to drop to fifth place in the standings and seemingly out of the playoff picture.
It turns out Washington’s 5-5 record was good enough to sneak into the playoffs, and with the addition of some injured players this week, the No. 7 Pam Pack will be looking to stun No. 2 Currituck (7-3) when the two teams kickoff tonight at 7 p.m. in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs.
It was believed that Washington would be forced to wipe out its win over North Pitt in the endowment game because of a rule that states if a team does not play over 10 games it must not count that game towards its postseason record. However, on the playoff bracket the Pack’s record is posted at 5-5.
Washington coach Sport Sawyer was not sure how or why the win was not dropped, but was happy to be able to play football for at least one more week.
“We’ve run into some roadblocks the last few weeks but we’ve gotten better in some areas and just to have a chance to play again is great,” Sawyer said. “We’re getting a few people back (from injuries) so I’m excited and the boys are excited too.”
The Pam Pack will see the return of a slew of players this week that will give the team a big boost, especially on the defensive side of the ball as MLB Jaquez Columbus, LB Devontae Corprew, OLB Quashon Davis, DB/WR/QB D.J. Bell and DB James Lawson are all expected to be back in action.
“They bring a little bit of experience and speed to the field that we have been lacking,” Sawyer said. “We’re excited to get them back, plus you have other guys that have stepped in during their absence and done well which adds to our depth.”
Offensively, Washington has struggled mightily since QB Jimmy Williams sustained a concussion and a broken nose during it’s Week 8 loss to White Oak. Including that 21-0 loss to the Vikings, Washington has scored  only 28 points in its final four games.
The quarterback situation will be up in the air tonight as freshman Patrick Thompson sustained a head abrasion during the final minute of the Pack’s season finale, and Bell is working his way back from an ankle injury and is more of a pass catcher than thrower.
“Patrick was injured late in the last game and is questionable for this week’s game, so we’re not sure if he will be able to go or not,” Sawyer said. “D.J. Bell has been getting reps this week, but he has an ankle sprain that he has been dealing with so we are a little limited at that position.”
The Pam Pack will need to post some points on the board if it wants to hang with the Knights as they look to combat the Washington defense with a fierce ground attack.
“They are good football team and have one of the leading rushers in the state on their team in Marques Grizzle,” Sawyer said. “He’s got over 2,000 yards rushing this year so I think it will be a good game.”
Sawyer said the key to victory lies in the players’ belief in themselves and one another.
“Confidence is the key,” Sawyer said. “If we can get some confidence early in the game and play hard I think our guys will be okay.”