Friday Football Previews: Southside, Northside face tough challenges

Published 11:06 pm Thursday, November 24, 2016

Northside lambasted its first-round opponent and Southside endured a defensive battle last week. The two games played out very differently, but the commonality is that the Seahawks and Panthers both moved on.

The two teams — Beaufort County’s last standing — continue their postseason runs with Black Friday showdowns. The Seahawks will remain at home in the second round, while Northside takes a trip to North Edgecombe.

After opening the postseason against teams that were way below .500, Southside and Northside both have tougher tests to overcome this week. The Seahawks host KIPP Pride, which hails from a stiff 1-A Tar Roanoke Conference. Granville Central, Louisburg and Southeast Halifax all finished 4-1 in conference to tie atop the standings, so KIPP Pride has seen plenty of good competition this season.

After hosting Rocky Mount Prep last week, the Panthers take on another 1-A Two Rivers Conference foe in North Edgecombe. The Warriors’ lone loss on the year came against a top-tier Tarboro team.

The theme of this time of year is survive and advance. Of course, that gets tougher with each round, but the considerable bump in competition will make it that much harder for each team to prolong the season another week.



Location: Southside

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Despite boasting 11 seniors on its 34-man roster, KIPP Pride has relied on its young talent to reach this point in the season. Sophomore quarterback Jamauri Baker facilitates the offense. Sophomore running back Jaden Gardner leads the team with over 1,000 rushing yards on the season, and junior Jarvis Adams isn’t far behind him.

The Pride seems to find most of its offensive success on the ground, but doesn’t have a problem airing it out, too. Baker has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season, but can still be explosive with his arm. His favorite target has been another sophomore in Antonio Davis.

Southside’s defense may be able to capitalize on his inconsistent passing. Demetrius Ebron and Kyle Hill both notched interceptions in their 8-0 win over South Creek in the first round.

The Seahawks were able to recover a pair of fumbles last week, too. The 4-1 turnover differential proved to be the difference in Southside moving on, and will likely play a role in the second round.

While the Pride has a lot of younger players at skill positions, the offensive and defensive lines are manned mostly by upperclassmen. The Seahawks won a lot of trench battles last week, but will hope to improve further. Their offense mustered just one score against South Creek — a 24-yard touchdown run by Brandon Sullivan.

Discipline was also problematic for Southside last week. The Seahawks were flagged eight times for 70 yards.

The offense sputtered out much more often than not. Southside was a combined 3-of-18 on third- and fourth-down conversions. With as much talent as the Seahawks have in the backfield, they may need to give some different looks once in a while to give them the spark they need.

If the defense plays like it did last week, and the offense shows the explosiveness it has all season long, Southside should be moving on to the third round.



Quan Spencer, Matthew Marslender and Tanner Alligood combine to bring down a Rocky Mount Prep defender. Northside’s defense has a tall task ahead.

Quan Spencer, Matthew Marslender and Tanner Alligood combine to bring down a Rocky Mount Prep defender. Northside’s defense has a tall task ahead.


Location: North Edgecombe

Time: 7:30 p.m.

The difference is going to be night and day.

Last week, Northside routed a different 1-A Two Rivers team in Rocky Mount Prep. The Jaguars had no answer for Jackson Midgette and the Panthers’ ground assault.

Now they face a North Edgecombe team that has been held to three or fewer touchdowns just thrice this season. Conference opponents South Creek — which held Southside to eight points last week — and a 10-2 Tarboro team were two of them. The third squad that did an admirable job slowing down the Warriors was a 2-A team in Southwest Edgecombe.

Four Warrior linemen — only one of which is an underclassman — weigh at least 300 pounds, including 364-pound center and defensive tackle Keavion Pittman. The Panthers have found success thanks to their size, but that may be neutralized on Friday.

Midgette, James Barrow, Tyrece Taylor and Chris Slade all did well finding gaps against Rocky Mount Prep last week. They may be harder to get against North Edgecombe, but those four, among others, can use the individual skill they’ve shown to make plays.

It’s going to be tough, though. North Edgecombe is allowing just around 15 points a game. Northside’s offense is going to have to have its best game of the season to keep up with the firepower the Warriors have.

Defensively, the Panthers will need to hunker down a bit after allowing a pair of big plays for touchdowns against Rocky Mount Prep. They can’t let North Edgecombe break off those big plays. With almost 43 points scored per game, the Warriors have shown they can pile on those big plays once they get a spark.

It’s going to take an almost perfect game for Northside to keep its best season in over a decade alive. Unfortunately, North Edgecombe has rolled through most opponents this season, and hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down.