Panthers aim to bounce back away from home

Published 8:33 pm Sunday, October 16, 2016


Time: 6 p.m.

Location: Pamlico County

Northside will be the first Beaufort County football team to return to action after Hurricane Matthew’s flooding washed away all the games scheduled for this past Friday. The Panthers, who have lost three in a row heading into this game, will hope to overcome the adversity created by the weather when they head to Pamlico County on Monday evening.

“You get a win and validate yourself and get back to feeling good about things,” coach Keith Boyd said. “We kind of ran through a lull there midseason. We’re hoping to put that behind us and get on a roll going into the playoffs. A few more wins helps your position in the playoffs. That’s what it becomes now.”

Boyd likens this game to the Panthers’ homecoming meeting with then-winless North Pitt. He’s looking past Pamlico County’s record and focusing on the size and athleticism it brings to the table.

“When you line up against people that have size and have speed, and you don’t show up, in high school football, anyone can get beat,” Boyd said. “You have to have that mindset. You can’t fall underneath and take things for granted. We’ve got to get out there and play hard every night.”

Defensively, Northside will be challenged by a dual-quarterback system. The Hurricanes have George Jones and Caleb Barron working interchangeably. Both can throw, but Barron is better on the ground. He’s among the team’s rushing leaders, along with Derrick Columbus.

“They’ve got one that’s left handed and they throw with him. The other kid gets up under center with the read option and things of that nature,” Boyd said. “It’s two different systems, but this late in the year, you’ve seen an awful lot. It’s only of those things that you keep plugging along.”

Columbus is a preferred target when Pamlico County takes to the air, too. He leads the team in receiving yards as a do-it-all, offensive Swiss army knife. The Hurricanes do have problems with ball security when throwing, though. Northside’s defense came up with key turnovers that turned the tide of early-season games, and its secondary may be able to deflate Pamlico County’s aerial attempts.

The Panthers will need to bounce back on offense after a lackluster performance in the Anchor Bowl against Southside. Quarterback Jackson Midgette and running back James Barrow are the usual suspects, but were largely ineffective against the Seahawks.

Chris Slade had a relatively strong showing, though. He was able to both run the ball and haul in passes from Midgette. If all of those pieces can come together, the young Pamlico County defense shouldn’t stand a chance.