Friday Football Preview: Washington, Northside aim for two in a row

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, October 20, 2016

There’s a sense or normalcy returning to the area after Hurricane Matthew ravaged Beaufort County athletics last week. Southside is off this week, but Washington and Northside return to action in their first traditional Friday games in a few weeks.

Both the Pam Pack and Panthers look to build on momentum they picked up on the road last time out. Washington earned its first win of the season at Farmville Central on Oct. 7, and suddenly it feels like a new season. After going winless through its non-conference schedule, there’s a lot this team can accomplish after starting 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play with a win.

After dropping a 22-6 decision at home against their rival Seahawks, the Panthers managed to level their league record by handling Pamlico County earlier in the week. Another win on the road this week will give Northside a winning record in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference — something that would be valuable as it ends a three-game road swing at top-ranked East Carteret next week.

Local football fans will have to travel to either Wilson or Trenton to cheer on their favorite teams this week as both are on the road again.



Location: Beddingfield

Time: 7:30

Washington and Beddingfield enter Friday’s conference tilt with unblemished league records, but only one will leave 2-0.

The Bruins boast an experienced squad comprised of 25 upperclassmen. Barry Bullock, Dyquavius Ballard and Marcus Parker are all leaders on a Beddingfield team that is riding a two-game winning streak into Friday’s game.

Like Washington, the Bruins are coming off a long layoff after having not played since Oct. 7. In that last contest, they blanked North Johnston, 21-0, to start off the conference stretch with a win.

Defense has been Beddingfield’s strength this year. With the exception of conceding 48 points to a 7-0 Southern Nash team in Week 2, the Bruins are allowing opponents under 16 points a game.

Normally, that wouldn’t bode well for a Pam Pack team that has struggled with its scoring touch. However, the boys are eagerly anticipating the season debut of senior do-it-all athlete Sharwan Staton. He’s been sidelined while recovering from injury until now.

Staton would have likely been ready to go had the Pam Pack played last week. However, the layoff gave him some time to get extra practice under his belt. Expect to see him get offensively involved in numerous capacities. He will make for an exception receiver for quarterback Frederick Holscher, and can run the ball lined up as either a quarterback or running back.

Since opening the season with Havelock, Tarboro and Conley, Washington’s defense has allowed its last four opponents, on average, 10.5 points a game. Beddingfield’s offense hasn’t quite taken over games. A 34-point showing at Greene Central was the most it’s produced.

This game will likely boil down to which defense can make plays. Ball security will be a top priority. If the Pam Pack defense continues to hold strong, and Staton can adjust quickly in his first game of the season, Washington should improve to 2-0 in league action.




Location: Jones Senior

Time: 7 p.m.

Northside coach Keith Boyd saw first hand how Jones Senior quarterback A.J. Taylor can take over a game. He ran all over Southside on Tuesday to the tune of 179 rushing yards for four touchdown. He threw for another 59 yards and a score, accounting for all five Trojan touchdowns.

Boyd, who made a trip to Chocowinity to scout Jones Senior, also watched on as Southside scored three times in the first half. Similarities between his group and the Seahawks give him a sort of blueprint for taking on Jones Senior.

Northside’s front seven will need to have a strong showing like it did at Pamlico County on Monday. The Panthers’ sizeable defensive line and linebackers will be tasked with plugging up running gaps. The secondary will be on up to neutralize Taylor’s passing abilities. It will also need to stop explosive plays that break through on the ground.

Northside’s defense has plenty of capable players both up front and in the secondary. Rhys Alligood is but one player that has made himself cozy in the opponent’s backfield all season. He leads the team with 15.5 tackles for loss, and only junior Cameron Cahoon has more total tackles on the season.

Offensively, James Barrow will hope to make an impact much like he did against the Hurricanes. He had 17 carries for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Tyrece Taylor pounded also pounded the Hurricanes to the tune of 68 rushing yards, and he and Midgette hit pay dirt twice, too.

Other than East Carteret, Jones Senior has emerged as the team to beat in the conference. It will take a season-best performance from many of Northside’s leaders, and then some, to snag a victory on the road.