Throwback Thursday: Looking back at significant season openers

Published 9:20 am Thursday, August 17, 2017

The first Friday of football season rarely makes or breaks an entire season. There are positives to take away no matter the outcome. After all, many teams struggle to play their best football in their first game of the season.

While losses can be made up in following weeks, a win to begin the campaign can go a long way. It sets a team on the right path and provides an injection of confidence. There’s no assurance in how a player is performing or a coach is planning quite like a victory to begin a season.

Here are Beaufort County’s coaches recalling significant season openers from the past:


Washington at North Pitt, 2007

The Pam Pack got off to a hot start in 2007 when it took the opening kickoff of its first game to the house for a touchdown. It went on to defeat the Panthers, 35-13, and win six of its first seven games.

“I believe it was Jamont Jones, who was a very good player for us and went on to play at Lenoir-Rhyne,” coach Jon Blank said. “You had a group of kids that really fed off of each other. When that positive momentum hit right off the bat, it felt like ‘hey, we’ve got a pretty good thing going.”

Washington travels to East Carteret on Friday at 7 p.m.


Northside at Creswell, 2016

One of Northside’s more significant season openers was just last year. The Panthers headed out to Creswell and rolled past the Tigers, 47-0. They avoided turning the ball over in the wet conditions and made big plays on all sides of the ball. Northside went on to start the season 4-0.

“We had weather like we’ve had all this week,” coach Keith Boyd said. Many teams in eastern North Carolina are moving their openers from Friday. “It reminds me of last year. We played with wet balls, and I do remember it didn’t affect us as far as turnovers go.”

Northside hosts Perquimans on Friday at 7:30 p.m.


North Duplin at Southside, 2015

In 2015, Southside put together one of the best seasons in program history. The Seahawks soared to 12 wins, including a 50-0 mugging of North Duplin at home in their opener. The entire backfield ensemble got involved, and other than a plethora of flags, the entire team was in sync right off the bat. It was the first of seven-straight victories to start the year.

“Even back to the 2000s, we knew if we could get a victory or compete well during Week 1, you’re engaged for the rest of the season,” coach Jeff Carrow said. Southside will break its lengthy streak of opening with North Duplin.

The Seahawks host Ayden-Grifton on Friday at 7 p.m.