Rivarly resumes at Foster Field

Published 8:28 pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

Plymouth QB Shermontez Ferebee (above) and the Vikings will host rival Manteo tonight in the third round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The storied Plymouth v. Manteo rivalry will add another chapter tonight as the two Eastern powers are set to collide in the playoffs once again when the No. 1 seeded Vikings host the No. 3 seeded Redskins in a third round matchup at Foster Field at 7:30 p.m.
Over the past few years these two teams have routinely battled for Four Rivers Conference crowns before taking turns knocking each other out of the playoffs and this season is no different.
“It seems like for the past four or five years we’ve been playing each other twice,” Manteo coach Eddie Twyne said. “A lot of those games have been in overtime and it’s just been a great rivalry.”
In Week 10 of the regular season Manteo, who was ranked sixth in the AP poll with a 9-0 record, battled a Plymouth team that was ranked eighth with an 8-1 record for the Four Rivers Conference driver’s seat. The Vikings won that battle in rare lopsided fashion as they dented the Redskins’ perfect record with a 44-8 victory.
The win not only handed Plymouth the conference championship, but allowed it to enjoy the home field advantage for tonight’s showdown.
Vikings coach Robert Cody was pleased with the win but said the past is in the past.
“We have to start over. It’s going to be zero to zero,” Cody said. “We have to find a way to stop them on defense and them make sure we can do some things offensively to move the ball.”
Defense was the key for Plymouth in the first matchup. The Vikings allowed Manteo to score early in the first quarter, but then capitalized on a slew of turnovers to turn back the Redskins.
“We came out of the game and took the ball and drove about 70 yards on seven or eight plays and I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that,’” Twyne said. “Then, we ended up with like five turnovers … Things kind of snowballed and we looked up and were down four or five touchdowns.
“That’s the thing about Plymouth, once they get a little blood in the water they go on a feeding frenzy and can rip off three or four touchdowns in a matter of seconds.”
Plymouth’s potent rushing attack has allowed it to rack up 114 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs as it topped Cape Hatteras 54-0 before downing Southside 60-6.
The Vikings have a versatile group of backs led by Carl McCray, Quadree Pettiford and Kendrick Pitt and each are a threat in Cody’s wing-T offense.
With strong-armed dual-threat QB Shermontez Ferebee orchestrating the offense, Plymouth has numerous ways to attack a defense and in the two team’s first meeting Cody decided it would be the fullback’s turn.
“We got out on them early and ran the ball real well,” Cody said. “We ran the fullback a whole lot and I don’t think they had seen us running him that much (in the past). Maybe tonight they will stop the fullback and if they do then we will have to find another way to beat them.”
Manteo runs its offense out of numerous formations but has an equally explosive ground game led by a pair of twin 1,000-yard rushers in Roy Bryant (1,104) and Rasheed Bryant (1,004).
The Redskins running game will also get a boost from the improved health of fullback Desmond McCmurran.
“He was a preseason NCPreps all-state selection and we lost him in the first half of this year with an injury,” Twyne said. “This is like the first game since he’s been back that I feel like he’s 100 percent.”
The key for Plymouth will be to slow down the Redskins running backs with a strong and speedy defensive line that has been stellar all season.
“Defensive tackle William Fletcher has been good all year and Demetrius Davis, our other defensive tackle, has played well. Against any kind of option you have to be really good there,” Cody said. “Up front nose tackle William Hollinsworth has done a super job too. What we need to do is be strong on that line of scrimmage and make sure we don’t get caught up in some of the double dive stuff.”
If the Vikings can do that, they will advance to the East Regional round of the playoffs where they will face the winner of the Princeton-Rosewood game.