Friday Football Preview: Beaufort County squads play with lots on the line

Published 7:24 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

The regular season is winding down. In fact, this is it for Southside as the Seahawks have their bye in the final week of the season.

Washington will be the lone Beaufort County team staying home on Friday. The Pam Pack hosts a familiar Kinston squad. It is confident in the firepower it’s exhibited in the triple option and in the way it matches up with the Vikings.

Southside will hope to end its season by spoiling South Creek’s 4-0 record at home. After losing at home to rival Northside last week, the Seahawks know the importance of picking up a win to finish strong.

Northside faces a bit of a trap game as it heads to winless Jones Senior. A win will allow the Panthers to play for second place when they host Pamlico County for senior night in next week’s finale.

The Pam Pack has just as much on the line this week. Kinston has showed weaknesses to top 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference foes Ayden-Grifton and West Craven. The Vikings have fallen to both in the last two weeks after starting the season 7-0.

A Washington win would put it in the top half of the conference standings. Depending on how West Craven vs. Ayden-Grifton shakes out this week, the Pam Pack could also find itself playing for second place or even a share of first.



Location: Washington

Time: 7 p.m.

Washington, despite being new to the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference, knows what it’s in store for when Kinston visits for the second-straight season. The Pam Pack and Vikings met for a televised game during the non-conference slate last season.

Kinston escaped with a 12-0 win in that game. Washington pitched a 40-minute shutout after giving up two touchdowns in the first eight minutes. The Pam Pack offense couldn’t answer the call, though. It sputtered out in the red zone multiple times, leading to its fifth-straight loss to open the 2016 campaign.

The script is flipped a bit this time around. Washington’s offense has been on fire since switching to the triple option. It scored a combined 112 points in wins over North Lenoir and South Lenoir in the last three weeks. The one loss in that stretch saw Ayden-Grifton score on a last-minute touchdown to spoil the Pam Pack’s homecoming.

The Chargers bested the Vikings, 27-26, two week ago.

Kinston graduated quarterback Kam’ryn Webster. Kieren Hooker has taken over under center. Returning around Hooker is a cast of playmakers from last year’s seven-win season.

Leading the way is Tahj Ramsey. He had 717 yards rushing as a junior. He’s built on it for a stellar senior season thus far. Ramsey ran for 138 yards in a loss to West Craven last week.

Junior Jacel Jacobs had 229 receiving yards and three touchdowns last year, but Kinston’s offense has largely lived and died with Ramsey this season. The Pam Pack can find success by stopping him, thus stopping the run.

The other key for the Pam Pack will be discipline. Kinston was flagged four times for 60 yards last week. Washington will need to play a clean game to take advantage of any shortcomings the Vikings have in that aspect.




Location: South Creek

Time: 7 p.m.

South Creek’s football season has been nothing if not streaky. The Cougars were decimated by Riverside, 52-22, in non-conference play. When the two met in 1-A Coastal Plains action, it was South Creek emerging with the 26-25 win at home.

In fact, the Cougars have been a perfect 4-0 at home this season. They have yet to win a road game in five tries, though. Their two league losses came at Northside when the Panthers shut them down for a 14-8 win. The other saw Pamlico County put it on cruise control for a 34-8 win.

After scoring two touchdowns in two weeks, South Creek’s offense bounced back when it hung 51 on a struggling Jones Senior squad last time out.

South Creek’s offense thrives with the synergy between quarterback Jahkene Clark and running back Jaylen Short. The two lead a balanced option-based attack scheme.

Short is dangerous on the outside. He leads the Cougars with 986 rushing yards and a dozen touchdowns. Clark has shown mobility, too, as he’s rushed for 278 yards and another three scores. Clark has also thrown for almost 600 yards. Zikeyai Cherry has been his favorite target.

However, Clark has also thrown eight interceptions in nine games. Southside has playmakers in its defensive secondary. Four Seahawk seniors — Demetrius Ebron, Grant Jensen, Taiwan Ebron and Cody Modlin — combine for six interceptions this season. Southside has also recovered 21 fumbles this year.

That may force South Creek’s offense to become more one-dimensional. Defensive linemen like Quinton Vick and Teddy Minor already make it tough to run the ball. The two seniors have 19 tackles for loss between them. Taking away the pass will only allow Southside to focus more on stopping the run.

Offensively, look for the Seahawks to continue using a rotation of running backs with Trajan Rhome receiving the most touches. He’s been the most consistent of the bunch, which has had to fight through injuries this year. Also expect Brandon Sullivan to be more involved after only carrying the ball once in last week’s loss to Northside.




Location: Jones Senior

Time: 7 p.m.

There’s not a lot to break down about this game. Not only has Jones Senior not won a game all season, but it also scored only its second touchdown of the year in last week’s 51-6 loss to South Creek.

This is the epitome of a rebuilding season in Trenton. The Trojans lost five of their six leading rushers to graduation. Anthony Taylor, who led the team with 916 rushing yards and threw for another 855 yards, is gone.

All signs point to Northside leveling its record. Its defense has been playing lights out. Since their bye, the Panthers have conceded three touchdowns in wins over South Creek and Southside.

However, Northside has to hit the road and get this job done. A win this week sets the scene for a second-place clash between the Panthers and Pamlico County in Pinetown next week. They can’t afford to look ahead this week and get tripped up by a Jones Senior team understandably hungry for a win.