Regular season finales filled with drama

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, November 7, 2013

Northside’s Dajuan Jones and the Panthers will face Lejeune on the road tonight in a battle for a piece of the Coastal Plains Conference crown.

Northside’s Dajuan Jones and the Panthers will face Lejeune on the road tonight in a battle for a piece of the Coastal Plains Conference crown.

The drama will be at a fevered pitch tonight as each team heads into the final week of the regular season with something to gain.
For the first time in over 10 years Northside can clinch a share of conference championship, but first it must find a way to take down Coastal Plains Conference leaders Lejeune.
Meanwhile Southside, who has lost two straight, will look to bring some momentum into the playoffs as it takes on Pamlico.
Plymouth, the No. 2 ranked team in the state, has its sights set on garnering the No. 1 overall seed in the East when it takes on Gates County, while South Creek battles rival Riverside desperately needing a win to punch a ticket to the big dance.
Here’s a look at the matchups.

Northside (6-4. 3-1 Coastal Plains) at Lejeune (9-1, 4-0 Coastal Plains) at 7 p.m.
The Panthers held on to take a rain-soaked 42-34 victory over East Carteret last week and thanks to that they have a shot to clinch a share of the Coastal Plains Conference tonight when they face the division-leading Devilpups.
“There’s a lot of excitement around here right now,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “We played pretty well against East Carteret for three quarters and then we had to weather the storm a little bit. But, we were able to do that and the players were jacked after the game.”
With good reason. The victory allows the Panthers to compete for their first conference title in a decade, but first they must get past a Lejeune team that is in the midst of an eight game winning streak.
“They have a really good running back. He’s shifty and fast,” Boyd said. They just toss sweep him the football and try to get him into space. They rely on their outside running game, and on defense they have two or three good linebackers that play hard.”
Northside has a few good running backs too, as evident by their nine-minute drive in the third quarter of last week’s game. But, the key for the Panthers tonight will be the defense’s ability to collar the Devilpups run game.
“If we can contain them we feel like we have a good shot,” Boyd said. “When they have the ball we have to get some three-and-outs.
“Offensively, we’re going to have turn around and put together some drives and take some time off the clock. If we can do that we feel good about our chances.”

Pamlico (6-4, 3-1 Coastal Plains) at Southside (3-7, 1-3 Coastal Plains) at 7 p.m.
The Seahawks will look to end their regular season on a high note at home against Pamlico tonight.
Southside has had its fare share of struggles in the second half of the year, but a win in the regular season finale would give the team a jolt of momentum going into the playoffs.
Southside, who currently sits in fifth place in the Coastal Plains Conference standings, has dropped three of its last four games. The Seahawks could catch a break tonight against the Hurricanes, who are locked in a tie for second place with Northside, as it was rumored Pamlico’s starting QB will miss the contest due to an injury.

Riverside (6-3, 3-1 Two Rivers) at South Creek (1-9, 0-4 Two Rivers) at 7:30 p.m.
After suffering their ninth straight loss, the Cougars host area and conference rival Riverside desperately needing a win to cement a playoff spot.
With one win on the season, South Creek is sitting squarely on the bubble and that bubble could burst with one more loss.
“It looks like right now our chances are pretty slim,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “… If we can win our last one it looks like we would definitely be in.”
The Cougars have been banged up all season but are hoping a few key players, including WR/LB Aaron Little, will be back in time for tonight’s game.
While South Creek has been struggling, the Knights are coming off of one of their best outings during head coach Asim McGill’s tenure with the team.
The Knights racked up 80 points in their Week 11 victor over Rocky Mount Prep and have won three of their last four games.
“We just did a good job of executing,” McGill said.
Though the Cougars have been wounded, McGill said he is not overlooking them.
“We’re going into our last game against one of our rivals so it’s always a big game for us,” McGill said.

No. 2 Plymouth (5-0, 9-0 Atlantic) at Gates County (4-6, 3-3 Atlantic) at 7:30 p.m.
The Vikings clinched the Atlantic Conference crown in style, shutting out rival Manteo 30-0 to win the school’s second straight conference title.
“It was a big for us,” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “It’s always good to win a conference title, it was a one of our goals this season.”
With the victory, Plymouth has now won 22 straight games, and if it can get to 23 tonight against Gates County it has a strong chance to be the 1-A’s No. 1 overall seed in the East in the upcoming playoffs.
“That’s definitely something we are looking to accomplish,” Cody said. “We want to try get as many home games as we can in the playoffs.”
The Vikings have been playing out-of-this-world football all season, but have taken it to another level in the second half of the year.
In their last five games they have allowed only one team to break double-digit point totals, giving up an average of 4.8 points per game. On the other hand, the Plymouth offense has been unstoppable, posting a 50-point per game average.
The Vikings will look to close out the regular season against Gates County, who lost three straight before topping Columbia 40-20.