PLAYOFF PREVIEW ROUND 3: Pack, Hawks face turning point

Published 2:05 pm Friday, November 28, 2014

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS GAME DAY: Washington has allowed just one touchdown in two playoff games, thus far. Head coach Sport Sawyer is hoping that trend can continue tonight.

GAME DAY: Washington has allowed just one touchdown in two playoff games, thus far. Head coach Sport Sawyer is hoping that trend can continue tonight.

The dust has cleared from the early rounds and the Washington Pam Pack and Southside Seahawks still find themselves afloat in the NCHSAA state playoffs. From this point forward, every matchup will be against a respectable opponent. Nothing is written in stone.

After a 35-7 rout of North Pitt in the first round, Washington continued its success last Friday in the form of a 30-0 win over Kinston. It was the Pam Pack’s 12th-straight victory, marking the best stretch of games in the Sport Sawyer era.

The final score may seem lopsided, but with a banged up Markel Spencer, who was limited to just six carries for 18 yards, Washington led just 7-0 at the half. It took awhile for the offense to get going. However, supported by one of the best defensive performances of the season, one that included an interception from Jamond Ebron and two from Hassan Credle, the offense was able to comfortably move the ball.

Southside’s road to the third round has hardly been as smooth as Washington’s. The Seahawks easily took care of Creswell in the first round, 47-12, as expected, but in the second round, their defense looked undersized against a North Edgecombe team known for its offense. However, Southside’s running game provided 56 points of support, enough to edge the Warriors by 16.

With a spot in the regional round on the line, Washington and Southside line up against their toughest competition in weeks.



After a prolific high school season running the football, one of the best in the area, Washington’s Spencer has carried the ball 11 times in the last two games, combining for 39 yards. It’s not exactly what Sawyer had in mind for his standout running back, who suffered a minor ankle injury in the first quarter against North Pitt, but the Pam Pack has managed to win, nonetheless.

With a week to rest, Spencer is likely closer to full strength and should get over 10 carries, which could be more than enough to make an impact on the game’s outcome.

Winners of the Northern Carolina Conference, the Yellow Jackets enter with an impressive 10-3 record and have won seven of their last eight games. Like Kinston, Washington’s second-round opponent, Roanoke Rapids relies on a balanced overall approach to winning, their defense compensating for a lack of offense and vise versa.

But the Yellow Jackets owe much of their success to two dynamic running backs: DJ Jones, a power runner who has notched over 1500 yards, and De’Juan Walker, more of a lateral runner with over 1000 yards.

A Washington front seven that has been brilliant of late will need to contain both backs in order to give Spencer and the Pam Pack running game a chance to methodically put points on the board.



PLYMOUTH — Head coach Jeff Carrow’s Seahawks enter as clear-cut underdogs on the road tonight against the 12-1 Vikings.

Even without fullback Dylan Lewis, Southside has been able to run the ball with success of late, but it’s the defense that has been inconsistent against good teams. Plymouth, unfortunately, is more than just a good team.

Head coach Robert Cody has his squad playing disciplined football of late and, like Southside, has a deep arsenal of running backs he’s ready to use.

Quarterback Malik Webb has been nothing short of excellent in his senior campaign, throwing for 1021 yards, 27 touchdowns and no interceptions, while also rushing for 1001 yards.

For Southside to pull the greatest upset in program history, it simply needs to have its best defensive showing of the season.