No. 8 Plymouth to host No. 6 Manteo

Published 7:25 pm Thursday, October 18, 2012

Plymouth running back Carl McCray (near) and the Vikings will take on Manteo in a battle for first place in the Four Rivers Conference standings tonight at Plymouth High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Week 10 is easily the most exciting week of the prep schedule as No. 8 Plymouth will host No. 6 Manteo in what has to be the best 1-A matchup going on in the state tonight.
In Chocowinity, longtime coach DeWayne Kellum will say goodbye to the hometown fans as his Seahawks will host Riverside in what is expected to be Kellum’s final home game.
All season long Northside and South Creek have been a play or two away from turning the corner and tonight the two schools will square off against each other as both the Cougars and Panthers desperately need a win to secure their playoff standings.
Here’s a look at the matchups:

No. 6 Manteo (8-0, 5-0) at No. 8 Plymouth (8-1, 5-0)
Plymouth coach Robert Cody knew there was no sense in even denying it, with arch-rival Manteo coming to town there is no doubt this week’s practices featured an extremely charged atmosphere.
“Yea, it feels different. It’s a big week,” Cody said. “It’s very disappointing when you don’t succeed against them and it’s very elating when you win. It’s either one of the two. It’s going to be a tough game.”
The Vikings avoided a major trap last Friday as they were able to keep their minds off No. 6 Manteo long enough to top Camden 56-6 to set up tonight’s battle between two teams that have undefeated records against fellow 1-A opponents and will fight for first place in the Four Rivers Conference standings.
This rivalry has become one of the best in 1-A football in recent years with the teams alternating wins and racking up conference championships.  Last year the Redskins pulled off the rare feat of beating Plymouth twice in the same season as they topped the Vikings 46-40 in the regular season before ended Plymouth’s playoff run in the third round with a 40-12 victory.
It was with that in mind that Cody opened this year with a more flexible playbook that adds spread elements to his wing-T offense. Manteo has been known to run several formations and the philosophy for Plymouth was simple: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
“I’ve been putting in more and more formations,” Cody said. “And the reason I did that is so that every day in practice they see some of the same stuff they see against Manteo. … I haven’t done that (in the past) but after they beat us twice I said, ‘What am I doing wrong here.’”
The Vikings will look to avenge those losses tonight in what should be a hard-nosed, grind-it-out game between two run-heavy teams. However, Cody said the passing game will play a critical role in tonight’s matchup as Plymouth will look to back Manteo out of the box behind the right arm of QB Shamontee Ferebee.
“If we can keep doing what we been doing and throw that ball the way we have been the last six or seven weeks we will be a lot better than we’ve been in the past,” Cody said. “(Ferebee) can throw it and if he can keep doing that I think we might be able to run against them.”

Riverside (4-5, 3-2) at Southside (4-5, 2-3)
The Seahawks will be playing in what could be the final home game coached by DeWayne Kellum who is retiring at the end of the season and there’s no doubt they would like to send him out a winner tonight when they take on Riverside.
Southside has been on a roll lately as it has outscored teams 104-44 during its current two-game winning streak.
Last week, the Seahawks topped South Creek behind a strong defensive effort as Rokeem Miller and Hayden Bogart both picked off passes, with Miller’s being returned for a score.
The defense must keep that effort going as they take on a Knights team that is capable of scoring with the best of them.
“We still have our moments where we let up some big plays,” Kellum said. “But as the game tightened up (last week), we tightened up. We’re improving.”
Riverside has been too, as its won three out of its last four games, with the one loss coming at the hands of No. 8 Plymouth.
The Knights have been tough on the defensive side of the ball as well, and will get even stronger tonight with the return of star LB Danielle Everett who has been out since Week 5 with a knee injury.
Knights’ coach Asim McGill will rely heavily on that defense and said the key for tonight’s game is to not let the Seahawks’ wing-T offense dominate time of possession.
“Southside’s going to do what they do and that’s run the football,” McGill said. “Southside is such a ball control offense that a lot of time you don’t get many possessions offensively. You have to try and make them punt and not have long drives because if they move the chains two or three times before you know it it’s the end of the quarter.”
Northside (3-5, 1-4) at South Creek (1-8, 1-4)
Injuries and turnovers had fueled the Panthers three-game losing streak as they head into tonight’s matchup with South Creek looking to find stability in their backfield, which they hope can cure some of their turnover woes.
Northside enters Week 10 minus four backs it started the season with and right now coach Keith Boyd is looking for some stability as his team heads down the home stretch.
“We’ve just not been as consistent in the backfield and right now we’re just trying to get a backfield together,” Boyd said. “We’re trying to put Band-Aids everywhere.”
Northside turned the ball over five times in its 26-12 Week 9 loss to Riverside, and has committed 10 turnovers in the last two weeks.
Tonight, the Panthers will take on a South Creek that has lost four in a row and whose struggles have mirrored Northside’s.
“They’re a pretty good team,” Boyd said. “They’ve been in some close games and from what I’ve seen they’re kind of like we are. If they don’t turn it over they can play with anyone. They have just had the misfortune of some balls that didn’t bounce their way.”
The Cougars have dropped four straight games, with their last being a 44-26 loss to Southside.
South Creek coach Jeremy Jones can relate to Boyd’s depth issues and said the key for his team tonight is to get the passing game back in sync.
“The timing in the passing game has been off a little bit,” Jones said. “We have some good receivers and we have a good quarterback and we protect him pretty well. … We just have to get the timing right.”