Pack’s playoff run resumes tonight

Published 7:35 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

Markell Spencer (left) and the Washington Pam Pack will be in action tonight when they face Hertford in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs. (WDN Photo/Ashley Vansant)

The year was 1956. A young, thin Elvis Presley broke on to the scene with Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog, Chevy was a year away from making its signature car, Dwight D. Eisenhower was successfully reelected and the Yankees topped the Dodgers in the World Series – the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was also the last time that the Washington football team advanced to the third round of the playoffs.
It was in that famed ’56 World Series that Yankees ace Don Larsen hurled a perfect game against Da Bums, and if the Washington football team wants to get back to the third round of the playoffs it will need to put forth a Larsen-like effort tonight when it takes on Hertford.
“The (players) thought about that a little bit,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “I told them, ‘Let’s take a moment to reflect on this. You guys have done some good things, but let’s go to the next level,’ and I hope they took that to heart.”
The third-seeded Pam Pack (9-2) punched its ticket to the second round of the playoffs with a near-perfect 48-6 thumping of West Craven last Friday to win its first playoff game since 2008.
Senior Jimmy Williams put on a performance for the ages as he returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to set the tone in Washington’s romp.
The Pam Pack QB would add TD runs of 76 and 10 yards, while throwing touchdown pass of 50 and 44 yards to guide Washington into the second round.
“Jimmy is a primetime player,” Sawyer said. “We had one game this year where he threw a TD, caught one and ran for a couple … But, with this being a playoff game, that was probably his best game all year.”
Tonight, Washington will travel to face No. 2 Hertford (8-2), who is coming off of a 52-26 victory over West Carteret.
While Williams was on top of his game last Friday, so was the Pam Pack defense as it held the Eagles scoreless for the better part of three quarters before surrendering a meaningless touchdown.
“I think we held them to around 100 yards of total offense,” Sawyer said. “Our guys were flying around. Sometimes flying around just means swarming and tackling, but our guys were hitting people. We were hitting the other night. It was just a good football game.”
Like Washington, Hertford, which placed third in the 2-A/3-A hybrid Northeastern Coastal Conference, has found the right time to play its best ball and heads into tonight’s game riding a five-game winning streak.
The Bears run a multiple offense that is powered by running back Kenneth Sharpe Jr. who has rushed for 807 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
Defensively, Herford will also present multiple looks and has shown a tendency to stack the line of scrimmage.
“Hertford is a pretty good team,” Sawyer said. “They will go from a spread to a power I on offense and on defense they will run a four-man front and a five-man front … In a lot of the games we’ve seen they will have 11 guys within seven yards of the line of scrimmage.”
Washington will counter that with a diverse offense that is powered by WR/RB Stevie Green, RBs Markell Spencer and Trey Spruill, WR D.J. Bell and H-back Stephon Moore.
Green has been a touchdown machine this season and has run for 796 yards and nine scores, while catching 19 passes for 493 yards and 11 TDs.
Spencer has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the year and reached the end zone nine times, while Williams is three yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark himself.
If the Bears chose to pack the box, look for the Pack to back them out of it with some play-action and bootleg passes.
“If they do that against us we might be able to pop a pass down field,” Sawyer said. “I think our blocking is the guy there. If we can make some blocks we can score some points, if not then it might be a long night.”
If Washington can pull out a win over Hertford it will move on to the third round to face the winner of the Havelock-Jacksonville game.