Seahawks soar past Trojans in first round

Published 12:06 am Saturday, November 14, 2015

OFF TO THE RACES: Lawrence Brown rumbles down the field 68 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of Southside’s rout of Southeast Halifax. The Seahawks scored early and often to make a statement in the first round of the playoffs.

OFF TO THE RACES: Lawrence Brown rumbles down the field 68 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of Southside’s rout of Southeast Halifax. The Seahawks scored early and often to make a statement in the first round of the playoffs.

CHOCOWINITY — Southeast Halifax looked poised to siphon away some of Southside’s momentum when Johnathan Savage returned the opening kickoff of the second half 82 yards for a touchdown. The Trojans followed that up by forcing the Seahawks to punt.

Joe Myers turned around and stole the momentum right back with an interception on Southeast Halifax’s next drive. The No. 2 Seahawks, who held a 38-6 lead, were never worried, but the turnover allowed them to settle them in.

“We just told them to settle down,” said head coach Jeff Carrow. “(Southeast Halifax) came out fired up and ready to play ball. They’re a well-coached team and that’s what they’re going to do.

“They got big momentum running the kickoff back. They were pumped up … But we’re a solid team. We know not to panic and just play our game.”

It was smooth sailing from then on out. The Trojans had another chance to score early in the fourth. The Seahawks were able to make a goal line stand — thanks, in part, to a false start penalty that pushed the visitors behind the five-yard line.

“It was awesome,” Carrow said. “I think we get more pumped up for goal line stands than anything. To see our defense mature right there and start having goal line stands is huge for us.”

The visitors set a tone of aggression early when they attempted an onside kick recovery on the opening kickoff. All they did was hand over field possession, which allowed Southside to display its own brand of aggression. The Seahawks only took a couple of plays before Brandon Sullivan scored the game’s first touchdown from seven yards out.

Things only went downhill for the Trojans from there. Nigel Peele returned a fumble 29 yards for a touchdown and Lawrence Brown rumbled 68 yards for another to give Southside a 28-0 advantage before the end of the first.

The defense kept on earning the offense favorable field position. Matt Baxter forced a second turnover with an interception near the end of the first period, but the Seahawks didn’t capitalize.

“Our kick returner has been doing better and it’s always great when the defense scores,” Carrow said of picking up yards on defense and special teams. “It’s always a plus when the defense scores and can help us out offensively. But we’ve definitely got to get better on kickoffs.”

That wasn’t a common occurrence. On their next series, the Trojans turned it over on downs in their own territory. Zikajah Crawford scampered seven yards into the end zone shortly thereafter. Jesse Lohman dinked the extra point off the uprights and over to put Southside ahead 31-0.

Southeast Halifax marched down the field, bent on scoring before the halftime break. Another turnover derailed the chance, though. Brown punctuated the subsequent four-play drive with a touchdown from two yards out.

The 38-0 halftime lead gave Southside the breathing room to make its hiccup to start the second half excusable. Matt Baxter and Sullivan added touchdowns in the third period to help their team cruise to the 51-6 win.

The Seahawk offense ran as efficiently as anyone could’ve imagined. They ran just 41 plays in the game and collected an average of 8.2 yards on each. Brown led the charge with 147 yards and two scores on a dozen carries. Baxter added another 122 yards and a touchdown. Sullivan had six carries for 31 yards and hit pay dirt twice.

“We just do what we do,” Carrow said. “We hadn’t changed anything there. I’d like to be a little more consistent offensively. We punted a couple of times tonight. But we’re in the playoffs and that’s to be expected.

“Southeast Halifax had a heck of a team — well-coached, well-prepared and ready to go. They had a good game plan against us, but we stepped up our game and played well.”

The lopsided victory gave the Seahawks both a running clock and the chance to get some starters off the field. That should prove valuable at this stage of the season.

“With the clock running, we like to be able to get our second-string guys in for a little bit,” Carrow said. “But, obviously, at this point the objective is to win the ball game. The next game is the most important game, as always.”

Next up for the Seahawks is No. 10 Northampton County. The Jaguars decimated KIPP Pride 44-0 in their first-round contest.