Panthers to play first home game; Vikes move up in poll

Published 8:08 pm Thursday, September 20, 2012

Six weeks into the prep football season Northside will finally play its first home game of the year as the Panthers will take on Perquimans at Bing Mitchell Stadium.
Southside seeks to snap a two-game losing streak tonight as it travels to face No. 5 Manteo, a team that jumped up two spots in the AP poll after holding on to beat Riverside in a 29-28 thriller.
The Knights will look to bounce back from that loss against a Camden team that topped the Seahawks in their Four Rivers Conference opener last week.
After beating Northside 62-6, Plymouth moved up from the No. 10 spot to the No. 9 spot in the AP poll and will travel to play a South Creek team that earned its first win of the year last week against Perquimans.
Here’s a look at the matchups:

Perquimans (0-5, 0-1) at Northside (2-2, 0-1)
After playing their first four games of the year on the road, the Panthers will finally play their home opener tonight when they host Perquimans and Northside coach Keith Boyd and his squad are thrilled to be back at Bing Mitchell Stadium.
“We’re excited. We’re excited about going on the road this whole time and being .500,” Boyd said. “We played four games and we’re 2-2 and the next four out of six games are at home. We’re excited to finally get back to our field and play and not have to get on a bus.”
The Panthers have played two extraordinary tough road games the past two weeks as they first fell to 3-A Washington 42-0 before losing to then-ranked No. 10 Plymouth 62-6 in last week’s conference opener.
That rough stretch could threaten the resolve of any young team but the Panthers have refused to hang their heads and enter tonight’s matchup with the same enthusiasm they displayed in the preseason.
“I don’t think the kids were demoralized or anything by those two losses,” Boyd said. “We were up against two pretty good football teams. One is 4-1 in 3-A and Plymouth is 4-1 and is ranked. We’re young, but being young I think we forget easier. They’re just excited about playing our first home game.”
Perquimans has struggled this season and is coming off of a 32-7 loss at the hands of South Creek and despite the team’s winless record Boyd said he will not overlook the Pirates.
“You look at the records and we’re 2-2 and they’re 0-5 and we’re in a situation that we haven’t been in, in a long time where on paper we’re supposed to win,” Boyd said. “But, watching film they’re not a bad 0-5 football team. They have played some good competition.”
Panthers’ QB Noel Howson returned to the lineup last week after missing time due to an injury and his health continues to improve. While Northside has its QB back, it still searching for a wingback and right now Rockne Butler and Kysheem Mackey are the lead candidates for the job.

Southside (2-3, 0-1) at No. 5 Manteo (4-0, 1-0)
Southside will look to put an end to its two-game losing skid on the road tonight against a stellar Manteo team that is ranked fifth in the state and is averaging 399 rushing yards per contest.
The Seahawks fell 40-12 to Camden in last week’s Four Rivers Conference opener and Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said that his team has responded well at practice.
“They showed up at practice and worked hard,” Kellum said. “I don’t think they’re going to quit, we just have to get better.”
The Seahawks showed flashes of potential in their loss to the Bruins and the key for Southside is to sustain that strong play throughout all four quarters.
“When we got off the ball and executed we could run the ball up and down the field,” Kellum said. “On defense, when we didn’t step back on our heels, we got after them and stopped them.”
The Seahawks will have their hands full tonight as they attempt to hand defending Four Rivers Conference co-champions Manteo, who escaped Riverside with a 29-28 victory last Friday, its first loss of the year.
“Manteo gets after it. They run 100 formations and do a lot of option and traps,” Kellum said. “Defensively, they fly around to the ball.”
Southside QB Cole Kellum is expected to return to action tonight after missing most of last week’s game with an arm injury, while running back Johnnie Pender (back) is questionable for tonight’s game.

Riverside (1-4, 0-1) at Camden (3-1, 1-0)
Down 29-14 at halftime against then-ranked No. 7 Manteo, Riverside rallied to cut the deficit to 29-28 in the fourth quarter despite not having its place kicker but never got any closer. Tonight, the Knights will look to bring that second-half intensity to the start of their matchup with the Bruins.
Riverside coach Asim McGill credited star senior fullback Jadarian Brown with helping fire up the team last week and the Knights’ coach wants to see that same leadership continue.
“Jadarian Brown is a four-year starter and he’s a guy that I’ve been trying to get to be a leader because the kids look up to him and he came out after halftime and became a verbal leader,” McGill said. “He was like a kid I’ve never seen before.”
The Knights will need that intensity tonight as they hit the road to face a Camden team that is coming off a 42-12 win over Southside.
“Camden is going to come out and play tough, we have to play aggressive football,” McGill said. “They run a lot of option and veer and we have to play assignment football.”
Though the Bruins pose a formidable challenge, McGill’s main concern is the execution of his own team.
“What we have to worry about is ourselves,” McGill said. “We’ve done a great job of moving the ball and had some long drives but don’t always get points out of it. We can’t self-destruct on our long drives. If we can take care of the little things I think we’ll be OK.”

South Creek (1-4, 1-0) at No. 9 Plymouth (4-1, 1-0)
After posting only six points in the past three games South Creek coach Jeremy Jones was desperately seeking more production from his offense last week and the unit responded as the Cougars topped Perquimans 32-7 to break a four-game losing skid and earn their first win of the season.
Jones tweaked his lineup in Week 5 and the move proved to provide the spark he was looking for.
“We put some guys at some new positions and I think we found a good answer at running back with Troy Everett, who we moved from wide receiver to the backfield. He ran the ball real well and had 88 yards rushing on eight carries,” Jones said. “The offense played a little bit better. Jacquan Durham ran the ball and played offense and defense the whole night.”
That offense will need to continue to post points as the Cougars clash with the explosive Vikings who average 42.2 points per game and are coming off of a 62-6 victory over Northside.
“It feels really good to be 1-0 in the conference. We’re getting ready to play South Creek and they’re 1-0 (in the conference) too, so it should be a tough battle,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said.
Led by Quadree Pettiford, Kendrick Pitt and Demarkius Price, the Plymouth offense has been dynamic, but the defense has been just as stellar as the Vikes haven’t allowed over 20 points in a game all season.
“Defensively, Markey Brooks has been really coming on now,” Cody said. “Keimon Blount has done a super job at linebacker and William Pledger has been real good at defensive tackle.”