Friday Football Preview: Panther-Pam Pack matchup highlights Week 4

Published 5:54 pm Thursday, September 7, 2017

The first quarter of the regular season is in the books. With Week 4 here, two of Beaufort County’s teams dive into it with plenty of momentum. Southside and Northside are coming off of blazing-hot offensive performances in which the two combined for 111 points.

The Seahawks and Washington both got their games out of the way last Thursday before a band of thunderstorms pummeled eastern North Carolina on Friday. The Panthers kept their matchup at Columbia as scheduled. Other than short drizzles, the game went off without a hitch.

The Panthers put up 50 points thanks to an all-around explosive performance. Like Southside did at Perquimans, Northside was able to score on all three sides of the ball.

Both Southside and Northside go into this week with plenty of confidence in the way they’re playing. After a two-game road swing, the Seahawks return to Chocowinity with a 3-0 record as they begin a spell of three-straight home games. They’re looking to use these last two non-conference games to slingshot them into their Sept. 22 1-A Coastal Plains Conference opener against Tarboro.

Washington is surer of itself now than it was this time last year. It took this long for the Pam Pack to find the end zone once in 2016. It has shown it can be competitive Week 1 at East Carteret, and played a close first half at Conley last week.

However, now the Pam Pack travels to Pinetown to renew its rivalry with Northside. It is still looking for its first win of the season. The Panthers aren’t as dominant as Tarboro, Conley or East Carteret, but they’re still going to be a tough task.



Location: Northside

Time: 7 p.m.

Beaufort County football fans will get to see two evenly matched teams square off in Pinetown on Friday. Washington has owned the recent meetings in this series. Unlike in years past, though, it’s Northside that has the advantage of a consistent system and culture established by a long-tenured coaching staff.

Offensively, quarterbacks Frederick Holscher and Matthew Marslender have both spent years learning the offenses they run. Marslender has an advantage in that the Panthers’ system has remained relatively unchanged in the years he spent as an understudy.

Washington’s attack plan has been modified by new offensive coordinator Perry Owens, but Holscher has an extra year as a starter under his belt.

Both have strong playmakers around them. The Pam Pack will bring power with fullbacks Hykeem Ruffin and Ganeryan Parker. Northside has plenty of finesse with the likes of Johnathan Clark, Tyree Blount and Marslender. The Pam Pack has its fair share of shifty running backs, too. Kaci Foreman has been becoming more effective each week, and Tyshawn Roberson proved at Conley he can provide a jolt on offense and special teams.

Washington’s offense boasts greater versatility, though. Holscher has thrown the ball well through three weeks. Defensively, Northside should be prepared to defend the pass after having to do so against Perquimans and Columbia.

For the Pam Pack, depth will be its biggest asset on defense. Its defensive players don’t have to play two-way football nearly as much as the Panthers. Key skill players — Clark, Marslender, Blount among others — will see a lot of action on defense, too. Meanwhile, the likes of Nazzir Hardy, Uriah Lawrence, Jaquez Ruffin and Cooper Anderson don’t have to take quite as many snaps.

With so many even matchups across the field, this game will likely be decided up front. Between Washington’s depth on the offensive and defensive lines, and Northside’s injuries at those positions, that advantage goes squarely to the Pam Pack. Washington will be better equipped to manage the game, and will likely be the fresher team come the fourth quarter.


Amari Peele nabs a pass from Will Warren during Southside’s Week 1 shutout of Ayden-Grifton.


Location: Southside

Time: 7 p.m.

Gates County rolls into Chocowinity hot off of its second win in a row. The Red Barons downed a 2-A Bertie club, 34-28, in overtime last Thursday. In doing so, though, they conceded 407 yards of total offense.

For context, the Seahawks amassed 317 yards on just 28 plays as they hung 61 points on Perquimans last Thursday. Their offense has taken efficiency to a whole new level. Scoring on defense and special teams helps, too.

Last week, Gates County gave up those same explosive plays that Southside has thrived on over the last three weeks. Over the course of 12 seconds, Bertie scored on a 36-yard pass and a 49-yard pick-six. It took the Falcons from trailing 21-16 to leading 28-21.

Now the Red Barons will be tasked with containing Southside’s cast of explosive athletes. Five Seahawks have more than 90 rushing yards on the season. Will Warren has been effective in striking when opponents focus too much on stopping the rush. His favorite target has been Amari Peele, who has 144 receiving yards and two touchdowns on only three catches.

Turnovers have been the bread and butter for the Seahawks’ defense. They’re plus-six in turnover differential in just three games this season. Coupled with that has been their offense doing well to take care of the ball. All three of Southside’s turnovers came in Week 2 at North Duplin — a game it still won, 48-24.

One of Southside’s top concerns will be junior Red Baron quarterback Jawan Riddick. He’s found success as a dual-threat signal caller. However, Perquimans quarterback Mason Votava showed the same kind of promise and the Seahawks were able to lock him down last week.

The Red Barons showed grit to pull out the victory in overtime last week. However, with as many playmakers as the Seahawks have all over the field, there’s no reason to expect they won’t continue to roll at the beginning of this homestand,