County coaches cope with rain, time off

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Washington head coach Sport Sawyer and Southside head coach Jeff Carrow walked on their respective gridirons on Monday, as both teams prepare to host the county’s two home football games on Friday night. In both instances, the fields resembled more of an oversized sponge than a playing field, each step pouring water over the tops of their feet.

With Beaufort County Schools closed on Monday and Tuesday, coaches across the county continue cope with a lack of practice time and adverse field conditions. But overall, halfway through the fall sports season, some teams are taking advantage of the time off, using it to recover from injury.

“A couple days off definitely isn’t always a bad thing,” said Washington soccer coach Jim Kozuch, who has a conference game tomorrow against North Johnston. “Some guys need to get a little time off to freshen up and heal up, but also you can lose your conditioning real quick.”

The Pam Pack soccer team has battled through a slew of injuries on defense over the last two weeks, so the time off has certainly been a blessing in disguise. Striker Kyle Hodges suffered a sprained toe during last week’s match against North Pitt, while starting defenders Gabriel Vallez-Torres and Arturo Leal have dealt with injuries of their own. Without an organized practice since Wednesday of last week, all three players have used the last six days to heal and were given the green light for tomorrow’s game.

For the Washington football team, which played two games in four days last week, the flooding has not only allowed players to heal, but also given them some much-deserved time away from the season-long grind.

“After the Roanoke Rapids game (on Sept. 18), we went nonstop everyday, even Saturday, watching film or practicing,” Sawyer said. “They went a couple weeks there where it was 10 or 12 days — except for Sundays — in a row. Getting away isn’t bad because some of our guys are nicked up a little bit.”

It’s a much different scenario for Carrow’s Seahawks. They haven’t played a football game since Sept. 18, a 50-14-road victory over Spring Creek, and Monday’s game against South Creek was canceled due to the flooding. Like many football teams around this time of year, Southside is banged up with nagging injuries at many key positions. For Carrow, the time off has been a double-edged sword.

“For us it’s getting to be too long at this point,” he said. “The other teams had a chance to get their games in last week. We did not. It’s been two and a half weeks since we’ve played a ballgame, so we’re itching to get back on the field. It has helped with the injuries because we were banged up, but we were coming off an open week last week. We’re just ready to get back into the routine of things at this point.”

Northside will travel to Chocowinity to face Southside on Friday, no matter the field conditions, Carrow said. Washington will play host to Farmville Central in the Eastern Plains Conference opener, while the soccer team will face North Johnston tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.