Grading Out: Athletes live up to hype in Week 4

Published 12:32 pm Saturday, September 9, 2017

There was plenty of hype going into the fourth week of the 2017 football season. Expectations were high as Washington squared off against Beaufort County rival Northside. Southside also looked to improve to 4-0 as it began a three-game home stand.

Local athletes delivered on the excitement surrounding Friday. The Panthers defended their home turf by jumping out to a 16-0 lead, but the Pam Pack — behind Hykeem Ruffin — was able to escape with the 36-32 win for its first victory of the year.

The Seahawks had the tables turned on them early against Gates County. They had been using big plays and turnovers to their advantages in the first three weeks. It was the Red Barons that were explosive as they built a two-touchdown lead in Chocowinity. Southside rose to the occasion, though, in a 40-29 win.

Here are the standouts from Week 4:



Washington coach Jon Blank, who picked up his first win as a head coach on Friday, said senior Hykeem Ruffin went into Friday’s game ready to be the Pam Pack’s driving force. He was all that and more as he ran for just north of 200 yards and four of the team’s five touchdowns.

Ruffin made plays when Washington needed a playmaker. He helped the Pam Pack respond quickly after a third-quarter Northside touchdown. He didn’t just keep the game close. He blew it open with three-straight scores. He also put the nail in the proverbial coffin with a last-minute sack.



Much of Northside vs. Washington was Raydarius Freeman vs. Hykeem Ruffin. Between his three touchdowns and two-point conversions, he accounted for 24 of the Panthers’ 32 points on Friday.

He drew first blood with a 4-yard strike in the first quarter. He fed off the energy by picking up 32 yards on the first play of Northside’s second drive, helping to set up Matthew Marslender’s touchdown that made it 16-0 in the second quarter. Defensively, Freeman was everywhere the ball was when he was on the field.



Southside’s passing game continues to evolve with each passing week. Demetrius Ebron’s capabilities as a receiver were touted heading into the season. He had his best outing yet as he fought off Gates County defensive backs to haul in a 17-yard touchdown from Will Warren, tying the game at 14 apiece late in the second quarter. He finished with 49 receiving yards.

Ebron was stout on defense, too. Against a Red Barons group that can attack in the air, Ebron notched five tackles (three solo) and helped out on a backfield stop.



A touchdown is worth six points, but some feel much bigger than others. That was case with Frederick Holscher’s short quarterback sneak into the end zone just before halftime. Washington was set to kickoff to Northside to open the second half. Holscher’s connection with Drew Ferguson set up the score, which kept the Pam Pack from going into the break facing a two-score deficit.

While Holscher overthrew a few receivers, he was accurate when he absolutely needed to be. On fourth down, he nailed Cooper Anderson over the middle to keep what turned into the game-winning drive alive.



One aspect of Southside’s offense that makes it so successful is that any player is capable of having an explosive performance on any night. It was junior Hayden Mayo this week. He had a team-best 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Mayo scored for the first time on a 13-yard run in the waning seconds of the third quarter. He struck again, this time from 33 yards out, less than a minute after Gates County cut its deficit to 11 in the fourth quarter.