Friday Football Previews: Panthers, Seahawks end regular season

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

The 2016 football season is coming to a close as Northside and Southside both compete in their final games before setting their sights on postseason action. The Seahawks and Panthers are both in good position to wrap up the season with a win, and gain some traction for the playoffs in the process.

Northside finishes the season with Lejeune, while the Seahawks are at Pamlico County. The Devil Pups and the Hurricanes are both at the bottom of the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference standings. A win for each would put them right in the middle of a three-team logjam for second place, along with a 3-1 Jones Senior team traveling to East Carteret.

Washington will be playing its second to last game of the season. It hits the road for North Johnston, looking to preserve its perfect record in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. The Panthers will be fighting for a chance to tie for first in the league heading into the final week of the season, so it will undoubtedly be a tough matchup.

There’s a lot riding on this week, so it will be interesting to see how the Pam Pack, Seahawks and Panthers rise to the occasion.



Location: North Johnston

Time: 7:30 p.m.

North Johnston hosts the Pam Pack, and the Panthers need a win to have a shot at the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship. They come into the game having won their last two against North Pitt and Southwest Edgecombe.

Dual-threat quarterback Trey Whitley will be the motor driving North Johnston’s offense. He’s already passed the 1,000-yard mark in passing, and leads the Panthers in rushing, too. Whitley has proven his explosiveness in both avenues of attack. Through the first eight games of the season, his longest run was for 71 yards, and his farthest pass was for a 74-yard gain.

The Pam Pack’s best bet to stymie his explosiveness is to make plays up front and in the secondary early on. Nazzir Hardy leads the team with five interceptions, and four other defensive backs have picks, too. If they can turn the tables that way, and the front seven can get to Whitley in the backfield, they can shake his confidence.

Offensively, it will be all hands on deck for Washington. Sharwan Staton had a breakout showing in his first game of the season, helping lift the Pam Pack to a win at Beddingfield two weeks ago. However, he was largely quiet — one carry for three yards — last week in a close call against North Pitt.

If Staton can help the likes of Suae Poe and Hykeem Ruffin move the ball on the ground, and quarterback Frederick Holscher can strike for a few big plays through the air, Washington should be in good shape.

Leadership will be key, too. North Johnston is 4-0 on its home field this season. There’s a lot on the line for both teams, but especially for a Pam Pack squad that might miss out on the playoffs without a conference title. The team’s seniors will be tasked with making sure the entire group is mentally ready from the get go.




Location: Pamlico County

Time: 7 p.m.

Southside travels to Pamlico County Friday evening for this year’s Fossil Bowl. This year’s league rivalry matchup will be more lopsided, though. The hosting Hurricanes have only won twice in 10 tries this season.

One of those wins was by forfeit. The other was a 22-8 victory over Lejeune — the same Devil Pups squad that Southside decimated, 58-0, last week.

Pamlico County has utilized three different quarterbacks this season. Caleb Barron and George have found mild success throwing the ball. Jones, however, has struggled with security. He’s thrown five interceptions with only one touchdown in nine games.

On the ground, Lamont Murray leads the team in rushing. Barron is right behind him. The two have combined for over 500 yards, but the Hurricanes’ offense, as a whole, has proven largely inefficient. They’re only averaging 10 points a game.

Meanwhile, Southside’s defense, led by veteran linebacker Hunter Sparks, has excelled in conference play. The Seahawks held East Carteret and all of its firepower to just 26 points, and have conceded just over 17 points a game through 10 outings this year.

Much like last week against Lejeune, Southside’s running back corps has a chance to have multiple standouts. Jonquil Haywood and Kyle Hill both eclipsed the century mark in the game, and could very well tack on another 100 yards each this week.



Northside quarterback Jackson Midgette finds a lot of running room in a game against South Creek. Midgette and the Panthers should be able to run freely against Lejeune.

Northside quarterback Jackson Midgette finds a lot of running room in a game against South Creek. Midgette and the Panthers should be able to run freely against Lejeune.


Location: Northside

Time: 7 p.m.

Northside wrapped up a three-game last week at top-ranked East Carteret. The game didn’t go the way of the Panthers, but they get to come home this week and conclude the season with a dreadful Lejeune club.

All signs point to the Panthers earning a senior-night win to propel them into the playoffs.

The Devil Pups are fresh off a 58-0 dismantling at the hands of a Southside team that operates a lot like Northside. The Seahawks had no problem running all over Lejeune, so neither should the Panthers.

Look for the offensive line to open up plenty of running space for the likes of James Barrow, Jackson Midgette and Tyrece Taylor. As the offense takes what it wants, so, too, will the defense. Rhys Alligood, Cameron Cahoon and company have done well getting in the backfield this season, and shouldn’t struggle to do so against Lejeune.