Panthers host Knights, Seahawks take on Cougars

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

Riverside’s Esamuel Burnett (3) in action during a game earlier this year. Tonight, Burnett and the Knights will travel to Northside to take on the Panthers. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

With just three games left on the regular season calendar area football teams will continue to try an improve their Four Rivers Conference standings as Week 9 kicks off tonight.
Northside will look to climb the conference ladder as it hosts Riverside in a homecoming matchup where both teams are attempting to bounce back from Week 8 losses to ranked opponents.
The Seahawks snapped their four-game losing streak last week with an impressive 60-18 win over Perquimans and will attempt to win their second straight game against a South Creek squad that is in the midst of a three-game skid.
Plymouth, the No. 8 ranked team in the state, has been outstanding all season long and will put its four-game winning streak on the line tonight against a Camden team that sits one spot beneath the Vikings in the standings.
Here’s a look at the matchups:

Riverside (3-5, 2-2) at Northside (3-4, 1-3)
Both Northside and Riverside head into their Week 9 matchup looking to bounce back from losses to ranked opponents as the Panthers fell 65-0 to No. 5 Manteo and the Knights were topped 52-14 by No. 8 Plymouth.
For Northside, the loss was its second straight but coach Keith Boyd said he was happy with the effort put forth by his players.
“We played hard and competed well,” Boyd said. “We were just kind of outmatched. Manteo’s a pretty good football team, there 7-0 for a reason. You just hope that by playing some good competition it will make you better.”
Knights’ coach Asim McGill felt the same way and said that his team would not dwell on the loss.
Riverside was able to throw for 218 yards against the Vikings but McGill said he wants to see his club do a better job of wrapping up ball carriers.
“We’re working on some tackling drills this week in practice,” McGill said. “I thought we had been pretty good at it up until the Plymouth game. Now, that might be attributed to Plymouth because they have some good backs, but we didn’t tackle as well as I thought we should.”
Boyd’s Panthers have also gone back to basics as their main objective this week at practice was to become more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball when they take on the Knights in a homecoming matchup.
“We’re working on getting more physical, we did that (Monday) and had a great practice,” Boyd said. “We feel like that’s been an issue for us. We’re going to the right spots but we’re not sustaining blocks and things like that.”

Southside (3-5, 1-3) at South Creek (1-7, 1-3)
The Seahawks got back on track in a big way last week as they rushed for nearly 500 yards in their 60-18 victory over Perquimans.
Running backs Rokeem Miller and Andrew Jones reached the end zone three times each, while Darrius Whitley and Cole Kellum scored once to hand Southside its first Four Rivers Conference win of the year.
“We had a lot of people step up and we’re getting better,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said. “Hayden Bogart, at pulling guard and at linebacker, at moments looked brilliant. Cole led us in tackles with 12 and (kicker) Kyle White, a soccer player, made two tackles and assisted on two others. Darrius Whitley is constantly improving, and him and Andrew Jones have been strong.”
The Seahawks will attempt to get their second league win tonight against South Creek, who fell  35-6 to Camden in Week 8.
“They have a lot of athletes, a lot of athletes,” Kellum said. “They can hit you with the run out of the gun and they pass all over the place. They have a lot of guys that can catch the ball.”
The Cougars have faced some stiff competition in the last three weeks as they fell to No. 8 Plymouth and No. 5 Manteo, before falling to Camden 35-6 last Friday.
South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said in order to snap his team’s three-game slide the Cougars must defend the Seahawks’ ground game.
“Our defense has to come out strong from the very beginning,” Jones said. “They have to play their gaps and play their keys. We have to be more aggressive then them coming off the ball.”
Kellum said the key tonight for his club is to improve on its staunch defensive effort against the Pirates in which the Seahawks surrendered a mere 100 yards of offense
“What I want to see is us continue to improve on defense,” Kellum said. “We can’t have breakdowns and give up big plays. (Last week) we got stronger as the game went on. Rokeem Miller started hitting and getting after it, but we have a long way to go.”

Camden (5-2, 3-1) at No. 8 Plymouth (7-1, 4-0)
Since their 18-14 loss at the hands of 2-A Edenton in Week 3 the Vikings have been a juggernaut as they have ripped off five straight wins in which they have beaten teams by a combined score of 280-32.
Plymouth’s latest win was 52-14 victory over Riverside in which RB Kendrick Pitt tallied four touchdowns.
Vikings’ coach Robert Cody said Pitt’s talent and leadership has been a key ingredient in the team’s success.
“He’s a very, very humble individual. That’s No. 1. You just don’t find a lot of people like that,” Cody said. “He’s a really good player and a good individual and he doesn’t want anything but team success.”
The Bruins sit one game behind conference leaders Plymouth and Manteo in the standings and Cody expects a stiff challenge tonight.
“All I know about them is that they are 3-1 and they are going to come here looking to knock us off and get into first place,” Cody said. “We have to be able to stop their option and their running game. We need to be able to block and tackle and knock them off the ball.”
Looming one week beyond tonight’s matchup with the Bruins is a much-anticipated showdown Manteo, but Cody said he and his team refuse to look ahead of the schedule.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Cody joked when asked about Manteo. “I’ve probably been asked about them 100 times this week but I tell you Camden is too good of a team to overlook. We can’t have a hiccup.”