Published 7:29 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012
Strong defensive performances propelled Southside and Plymouth into the second round of the playoffs and the team that can best keep that effort up tonight has the greatest chance to advance to the third round.
The No. 1 seeded Vikings (11-0) have been tremendous on the defensive side of the ball all season and crushed No. 8 Cape Hatteras (2-9) 54-0 on Saturday to move on.
The fifth-seeded Seahawks (6-5) clamped down on No. 4 Creswell (6-5) 34-0 last Friday to prolong retiring coach DeWayne Kellum’s final season for at least another week.
In order for Kellum to get another seven days with his club it will take a tremendous effort by Southside, as it must board the bus to take on a Plymouth team that has not lost to a fellow 1-A school all year an ended the regular season as the seventh-ranked team in the state in the AP poll.
Kellum said he has not paid much attention to the fact that tonight could be his final game with the Seahawks and said that all of his focus has been on the Vikings.
“I haven’t much time to think about (retiring), I’ll think about that when it’s over with,” Kellum said. “I just want our kids to play the best game they’ve played all year long. If we can keep ourselves in the ball game then we can give our self a chance.”
The odds of the Seahawks topping the high-powered Vikings tonight are as good as they’ve been all year as Southside peaked in the final portion of the season and heads into tonight’s game having won four of its last five contests.
“We’re playing our best ball. Is it good enough to beat Plymouth? I don’t know. They’re the best team in the East right now,” Kellum said.
The two Four Rivers Conference rivals met in in Week 7 and the Vikings came out the victors winning 48-0. However, Plymouth coach Robert Cody and his crew aren’t banking on a repeat performance.
“I don’t think we can take a lot from that first game because Southside has kind of found their identity,” Cody said. “They’ve brought up some kids and put them in the right spots and I think they got a little more healthy. It’s going to be a very difficult football game.”
The Vikings haven’t played too many of those this season as they are currently riding a nine-game winning streak in which they have thrown three shutouts and have not allowed a team to score over 14 points.
Offensively, Plymouth has posted spread-like point totals with its wing-T offense as it averages a whopping 49 points per game and has remarkably outscored teams 592-98.
Led by Kendrick Pitt, Quadree Pettiford, Carly McCray and Demarkius Price, the Vikings have a stable of running backs that bust through holes created by a big, athletic offensive line, which unlocks a world of options for Cody.
“We just kind of (distribute carries) by what team we’re playing and what they are trying to take away,” Cody said. “If they are trying to take a certain position away we do the best we can to go the other way with it.”
How Southside defends those backs will be the key to tonight’s game and Kellum said not allowing them to reach the second level of his defense is crucial.
“We have to make the tackles at the line of scrimmage,” Kellum said. “They run hard and they run fast and we can’t do anything once they get down the field. We have to get them right when they get through that hole.”
The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the third round of the playoffs to face the winner of tonight’s Manteo-Columbia matchup.