Stepping Up: Local teams to measure up against one another

Published 8:33 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The first week of preseason football is in the rear-view mirror. Washington, Northside and Southside have had all hands on deck as they begin implementing the base of what fans are going to see come season openers one week from Friday.

Hearing pads collide and seeing some fans riddled in the stands was an appropriate climax for the first week. Washington and Southside hosted workouts at midnight Friday open to spectators. Northside did the same Saturday morning.

Not only was it a chance for the public to get a glimpse at some local football, but it was also a payoff for the athletes themselves. They provide a figurative light at the end of the tunnel for what can be a grueling first week of camp. For the Seahawks and Pam Pack, scrimmaging against teammates under the lights is a tradition players look forward to.

Now, Beaufort County’s teams set their sights on another anticipated portion of the preseason: scrimmages. Washington lined up against a handful of teams in summer 7-on-7s. New offensive coordinator Perry Owens also got to test his firepower against a seasoned defensive coach in Jon Blank.

Washington’s defense swarms the ball during its midnight exhibition on Friday. The Pam Pack travels to Edenton today and then to Southside on Friday.

This week marks the first time the Pam Pack, Panthers and Seahawks are allowed to get physical with other eastern North Carolina foes. Northside is hosting a scrimmage today. Southside, North Pitt, Bertie, Pamlico County and Manteo will all converge on Pinetown.

The scrimmage, which starts at 6 p.m., is important to Northside and Southside’s preseason. As much as each team relies on running the ball, it lets them get a look at how their respective offensive lines match up against some teams they’ll see later on in the fall.

Furthermore, it’s an opportunity for running backs to test their skills against a new crop of defenders. Will the Seahawks and Panthers be able to matchup with North Pitt up front? Will they be able to throw against a senior-laden Bertie secondary?

While Southside and Northside get to stay in Beaufort County this week, Washington will travel out to Edenton for its first scrimmage. The Pam Pack got a peek at the Aces during the summer. However, adding contact to the mix will give Washington a much better idea about how it measures up to an Edenton team that played for a state title last season.

Southside hosts it annual jamboree on Friday. Like the scrimmage at Northside, it will be another chance for local teams to see competition from plenty of other teams. That is set for 6 p.m.

Of course, this won’t be full-speed football. Things will be simplified, and coaches will keep a lot of the playbook closed. It wouldn’t be wise for a team like Northside to show its hand to a team like Manteo, which it plays on Sept. 15.

Regardless, it lets coaches see their teams play against someone other than their own teammates. Tape from scrimmages this week will highlight areas of weakness, which will in turn provide the basis for next week’s practice agendas.

Fall athletics are here. Football continues to ramp up, and other sports are allowed to open the season on Monday.