Grading Out: Washington, Northside conclude campaigns

Published 3:46 pm Saturday, November 4, 2017

The 2017 regular season has come to an end as Northside and Washington played their last games of the year. For Northside, a 42-6 loss to Pamlico County served only as a means of highlighting shortcomings ahead of the first round of the playoffs.

Washington, on the other hand, needed the win to even have a chance of making the postseason. The Pam Pack earned its most significant win in the past two seasons by upsetting West Craven. Its offense, on the heels of Hykeem Ruffin, exploded for 47 points. Defensively, it locked down the league’s top-ranked team.



Washington’s offense had had been keeping it toe-to-toe with some of the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference’s best teams. Senior running back Hykeem Ruffin was a major reason why. Then he and the Pam Pack ran into a stingy Kinston defense last week that kept Ruffin out of the end zone.

Ruffin bounced back in a big way. He scored four touchdowns to lead Washington to a 47-28 win at West Craven, which had just clinched the conference title a week ago. Ruffin played a significant role in arguably the most impressive Pam Pack victory in the last two years.



Northside was flat on Friday despite it being senior night and second place in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference on the line. The Panthers mustered just one touchdown: a short scamper by senior quarterback Matthew Marslender, who was one of a handful playing their last home regular-season game.

More impressive than the meaningless score was Marslender battling through injury. Pamlico County’s defense was as physical as it was athletic. Marslender got bloodied up in the second quarter, but still came back to fulfill his duties on offense and defense.



It was a two-possession game going into the fourth quarter at Washington. The Pam Pack had to know it needed to keep the pressure on, especially with the way it has struggled to close out games this season.

Washington got just what it needed in the form of a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by Uriah Lawrence. The defensive score and ensuing point-after kick pushed its lead to 40-21 with just under 11 minutes left in the game.



An well-oiled offensive machine starts with its quarterback, especially when it comes to the triple option Washington runs. Senior quarterback Frederick Holscher, with the possibility of his last season coming to an end, made sure the Pam Pack was firing on all cylinders.

Holscher’s ability to read West Craven’s defense played a large role in Ruffin running for 179 yards and four touchdowns. He also completed a 56-yard pass and punched in the final touchdown of the game.