Vikes look to collar Devilpups

Published 6:38 pm Thursday, December 5, 2013

Plymouth quarterback Malik Webb (1) pitches the ball during the Vikings 54-0 victory over Pamlico in the third round of the playoffs last Friday.  (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Plymouth quarterback Malik Webb (1) pitches the ball during the Vikings 54-0 victory over Pamlico in the third round of the playoffs last Friday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

PLYMOUTH — It’s been a dream postseason for Plymouth and the Vikings are hoping that they don’t awake from the slumber for another two weeks.
Last Friday the No. 1-seeded Vikings (13-0) dismantled No. 2 Pamlico 54-0 in the third round of the playoffs to advance to tonight’s East Regional round battle with No. 1 Lejeune at 7:30 p.m. at Foster Field, placing them one game away from returning to the state title game for the second straight season.
The defending state champion Vikings pounced on the Hurricanes early, as safety Adrian Moore picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first possession.
The Vikings delivered the knockout blow late in the second as they scored 24 points in the final 1:42 of the half to take a 40-0 halftime lead.
“That was big to get out to a big start like that. It just kind of rollercoastered” Plymouth coach Robert Cody said. “Defensively, we played well and it sure would be nice if we can play like that again (tonight).”
The Vikings defense has been flawless throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs as the unit has not allowed a single point to help Plymouth outscore teams 130-0.
The unit caused seven turnovers against the Hurricanes, while holding them to under 100 yards of total offense to win its 26th straight game.
That Coastal 10 conference champions’ defense will have to be its usual brick-wall self tonight as it takes on running back Jamaze Richardson and the Coastal Plains Conference champion Devilpups (13-1).
While Lejeune may not boast a winning streak that spans over two seasons, it’s still been nearly as hot as Plymouth.
The Devilpups lost the first game of the year to Swansboro, 36-8, but has won 13 straight since.
Lejeune began the postseason with a 48-0 win over No. 8 Northwest Halifax, then topped No. 5 North Duplin 28-12 before rolling over No. 2 Southeast Halifax 33-8 last Friday.
The key for the Devilpups has been the play of Richardson.
“He’s had a ton of touchdowns this year so we have to try to slow him down,” Cody said. “They’ll sweep him right and sweep left with him. He carries it between 30-35 times a game.
“They’re the (Lombardi) Packers. They run that old Packers’ offense and you can only run that if you have a back that sees the holes.”
While his stats are big in stature, Richardson is not. Cody estimated him to be around 5-6, 134 pounds.
Despite his size, there’s not a chance in the world that Cody will underestimate Richardson, being that the Vikings have won two state titles and a boatload of games with backs whose dimensions are nearly identical.
“Some coach told me, ‘You just won’t believe how big he is,’ and I said you don’t have to tell me I’ve had a lot of guys that were that size that were pretty darn good,” Cody said.
In order to keep Richardson in check, Plymouth must stay disciplined on defense and guard the cutback lanes, while getting a strong game from tackle DeAndre Keyes.
“I think our biggest key is to try to keep him going east and west, and when he cuts back we have to have somebody there,” Cody said. “I really believe the key is going to be our defensive tackle. He can’t get reached (blocked).
“I don’t think our ends will get reached. But, if they hook the tackle it’s going to give him a big hole for the back and the guards to get between.”