Washington advances in playoffs with win over North Pitt

Published 11:51 pm Friday, November 14, 2014



The Washington Pam Pack thawed out in the second half to advance in the state 2AA playoffs with a 35-7 first-round win over the North Pitt Panthers at Choppy Wagner Stadium in Washington on Friday.

The Pam Pack, ranked No. 1 in the 2AA Eastern Regional playoffs, improved to 11-1 on the season. Next week in Washington, the Pam Pack takes on Kinston, which defeated Burlington-Cummings 18-13 on Friday.

A first half that saw the Pam Pack hit with three 15-yard penalties, commit several turnovers and star running back Markel Spencer sidelined with an ankle injury, the Pam Pack and Panthers were knotted 7-7 at the end of the first half.

The Pam Pack scored first on a three-yard run by Spencer with 8:28 left in the opening quarter, but the Panthers answered with a long scoring drive.

Two of the 15-yard penalties called against the Pam Pack were for unsportsmanlike conduct. One of them came with the Panthers facing a third-and-10 situation. The quarterback’s pass fell incomplete, but the penalty gave the Panthers a first down. The second one came with the Panthers facing a fourth-and-eight situation. That allowed the Panthers to keep its drive alive. Running back Anthony Harris scored on a one-yard plunge with 49.4 seconds left in the first quarter.

After trading possessions in the second quarter, the Pam Pack had a first down at the Panthers’ 10-yard line, but quarterback Patrick Thompson’s pass was picked off in the end zone by the Panthers’ Monte Foreman, who returned it to the Panther’s 20-yard line. The Panthers ran two plays before the half ended.

Then the Pam Pack’s offense heated things up by scoring 21 unanswered points in the third quarter. Not to be outdone, the Pam Pack defense, which has given up an average of less than 11 points a game this season, shut out the Panthers in the second half.

With a first-and-10 situation at the Panthers’ 25-yard line, Pam Pack running back Stepfon Rodman made his way into the end zone, but a holding penalty negated his run. Three plays later, Rodman scored from 21 yards out with 7:37 left in the third quarter to put the Pam Pack up 13-7. Ben McKeithan’s extra-point kick was good, giving the Pam Pack a 14-7 lead, a lead it never relinquished.

Hasaan Credle intercepted a North Pitt pass, but the Pam Pack was called for pass interference. On the next play, Eric Peartree intercepted Panthers quarterback Nytrell Chapman’s pass and returned it 64 yards for another Pam Pack score, giving the Pam Pack a 21-7 lead.

The Pam Pack would score twice more, on a seven-yard run by Rayekwon Satterwaithe with 1:31 left in the third quarter and on a 34-yard run by Clinton Pope with 7:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Pam Pack head coach Sport Sawyer was pleased with his team’s comeback in the second half.

Sawyer offered his assessment of the difference in the halves.

“We had a couple of injuries in the first half, some penalties on some mistakes we were doing. Then at half time I told them to settle down and let’s play ball. I felt like we weren’t focused. So, we got a little better focused and played better ball in the second half,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer had praise for specific players.

“I thought Rayekwon Satterwaithe played good on defense. E.J. Peartree played good on defense. I thought Clinton Pope did a good job going in there and running the ball on the offensive side,” Sawyer said.

The severity of Spencer’s ankle injury was uncertain immediately after the game.

“He’s been our workhorse all season. He turned his ankle pretty bad, so I don’t know his status. We’ve got to check on that,” Sawyer said.

In regard to preparing for next week’s contest, Sawyer said, “First of all, we need to look at what we did tonight, the things we did good and the things we didn’t do good — focus on that. Whichever team it is, it’s prepare for whatever defense, offense they’ve got. First of all, we need to look at the things we need to correct ourselves because a lot of tonight was they played hard but a lot of it was some mistakes we did.”

North Pitt finishes its season with a 4-8 record.

The only blemish on the Pam Pack’s record is a 37-6 season-opening loss to the Havelock Rams on Sept. 22 in Havelock.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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