Pam Pack offense sputters in loss to Kinston

Published 11:24 pm Monday, September 26, 2016

Kinston struck twice in the first eight minutes of Monday’s game against Washington. Viking quarterback Kam’Ryn Webster and Daenard Branch connected for big plays early on to help lead their side to a 12-0 lead.

Webster found Branch on a 41-yard pass to set up Kinston mere yards from its first touchdown, which Webster ran in himself two plays later.

Two drives later, Webster hit Branch on a short slant route. Branch took it 75 yards to the house for the Vikings’ second score. Washington coach Sport Sawyer said that preparing for Webster — a mobile quarterback with a good arm — was a lot like getting ready for Conley quarterback Holton Ahlers.

“They’re both athletic and they do a good job,” he said. “They spread it out. We just wanted to play our assignments and stay on what we were supposed to do. I think, for the most part, we did that tonight.”

The Pam Pack defense, despite conceding two touchdowns in the first three drives, kept the team in the game. It gave up a dozen points in eight minutes before shutting out the visiting Vikings for the following 40 minutes.

More so than simply keeping Washington in the game, the defense set the table for the offense on multiple occasions.

Sophomore Uriah Lawrence recovered a fumble in the waning moments of the first quarter. The offense took over at midfield, and Suae Poe helped carry the Pam Pack into the red zone. Frederick Holscher was sacked for a loss of six yards, though, and Washington came a yard or two short of converting on a fourth-and-4 inside Kinston’s 10-yard line.

“We’re a little inexperienced at (offensive) line, even though we’ve played five games,” Sawyer said. “There’s not a lot of continuity up front, but (Holscher’s) got to get rid of it. … It’s a combination of everything.”

Suae Poe looks for a block in front of him as he cuts to the left and takes off.

Suae Poe looks for a block in front of him as he cuts to the left and takes off.

Kinston put the ball on the ground again in the second quarter. This time it was Logan Little that came up with the recovery. Once again, the Pam Pack marched down the field deep into Viking territory.

Washington trudged its way to the 1-yard line. It failed to punch it in on fourth down, giving the Vikings the ball back in the process.

“Our inexperience shows on offense,” Sawyer said. “You go on paper and we have a varsity offense that there’s one guy that got a lot of reps last year at the varsity level. Maybe two guys. The rest of them are (junior varsity) or didn’t play.”

The turnover on downs squandered what could have been a turning point for the Pam Pack. The first half was winding down. Washington was set to receive the opening kickoff of the second half, so making it a one-possession game prior to halftime would have been a big shift in momentum.

“We spotted them 12 points. The defense buckled down after that and got us some good field position,” Sawyer said. “We moved the ball and couldn’t get it in the end zone. There were some plays that I need to look at on film.”

That wasn’t the only chance to cut into the deficit before heading into the locker rooms, either. Cooper Anderson tipped a pass from Webster, and Nazzir Hardy came up with the interception. Washington had 1:09 left on the clock, but a trick play went awry and resulted in the Vikings getting a pick to effectively end the first half.

The second half went very much the same way. For every important stop the defense made, the offense stalled out.

As Washington was running out of time, the defense took advantage of a bad snap on a punt attempt to set up the offense on Kinston’s 20-yard line. Holscher found Matt Black for a 10-yard gain on fourth down, but the Pam Pack was a yard shy of the first down.

Washington remains winless heading into Friday’s non-conference finale at home against Plymouth. The quick turnaround for that game means things won’t get any easier for the struggling Pam Pack.