Stepping Up: Playoff momentum on the line late in the season

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fall sports are winding down. Although some seasons have already come to a close, football is approaching the end of its regular season. Northside and Southside both play their final games before the postseason this Friday, and Washington has two contests remaining.

This marks an important stretch for what has been one of the better all-around campaigns for Beaufort County football. The Pam Pack has more than picked up the pieces from a 0-6 start. Southside has followed up last season’s deep playoff run nicely, despite losing its top-two rushers. The Panthers are in the midst of their best season in years, and are eyeing the playoffs after missing out last year.

In addition to locking down their playoff spots, a win would mean crucial momentum for both Northside and Southside. Second-ranked Jones Senior is set to wrap up its season at East Carteret. The first-place Mariners have not been scored on in 1-A Coastal Plains Conference play, so all signs point to them improving to 5-0 and the Trojans dropping to 3-2.

Should the Seahawks and Panthers both pick up wins in their last games, they would insert themselves into the second-place logjam.

Both are in a good spot heading into the final week, too. They’ll be taking on the league’s bottom feeders. Northside hosts a winless Lejeune team and Southside travels to a two-win Pamlico County club. Picking up season-ending wins would mean a better seed in the playoffs and valuable momentum.

Washington, on the other hand, doesn’t have as clear a path to the postseason. The Pam Pack is looking to be in good shape now. At 3-0 in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, locking down a title in the next two weeks would assure them a spot in the playoffs.

Still left on the slate is a trip to North Johnston this Friday and then senior night against Southwest Edgecombe next week. North Johnston, which is 2-1, will be hoping it can knock off the top-ranked Pam Pack, tying it for first in the league in the process. Southwest Edgecombe is also 2-1 with two games left, so the Cougars will be gunning for a spot near the top of the table, too.

Both of those will be tough challenges, but Washington has proven it’s capable. It knocked off Beddingfield — which is one of three two-win teams behind the Pam Pack — on the road during the Bruins’ homecoming.

It won’t be easy. However, the Pam Pack’s consistent defense — chock full of playmakers like Nazzir Hardy, Rontavion Floyd, Mark Halbert and Logan Little — has propelled it far, and the offense is clicking more and more each week.

With the fine details regarding the playoffs still very much up in the air, this should be one thrilling conclusion to the season.