Playoff Football Preview: Pam Pack returns to playoffs at South Granville

Published 5:53 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017


Location: South Granville

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Washington shocked many by demolishing 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference champion West Craven last week, 47-28, just to earn its spot in the postseason. Hykeem Ruffin and the Pam Pack offense looked as good as it has all season in torching the Eagles. The defense also performed admirably, even though West Craven was without leading rusher Jonquez Green.

But Washington is going to have its hands full with an undefeated South Granville team. The Vikings use an option-based run attack that has allowed seniors Tucker Brown and Allajah Mitchell to thrive.

Mitchell leads the Vikings with 1,330 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns this year. Brown, the quarterback, has used his legs to add another 822 yards and 15 scores on a team-high 106 carries.

He’s also been moderately successful with his arm. He’s only completed 18-of-44 passing attempts (40 percent), but they’ve gone for 448 yards and five touchdowns (24.9 yards per completion). Seniors Ryan Jones and Antonio Lassiter have been his go-to targets.

Washington will need to channel something, defensively, that it hasn’t been able to all season. It has struggled to stop the run all year. South Granville will be ready to attack what previous opponents did to move the ball against the Pam Pack.

Sophomore linemen Khyric McCloud and Sherfield Smith have played a part in some of Washington’s most impressive defensive performances this season. Their presence helped keep Kinston off the scoreboard until the beginning of the fourth quarter just a few weeks back.

That said, it was when the two got worn down that Washington’s front began to struggle. Those with more varsity experience will need to step up if the Pam Pack hopes to slow South Granville down. The Vikings’ run game will be the primary concern as Washington has shown its proficiency when defending the pass.

The most concerning aspect of this matchup is the size differential. South Granville fields four linemen — all upperclassmen — weighing more than 250 pounds. Seniors Drew Daniel and Tyrese Bobbitt each come in at over 300 pounds.

Washington’s offense, as it has so often this season, will be responsible for keeping this game within reach. That will be a tall order as South Granville has conceded just 83 points this year. It has shutout four of 11 opponents. The most recent blanking was its regular-season finale against J.F. Webb.

Ruffin has had a number of spectacular games this season, but will need to have his best yet to keep pace with the Vikings. Washington’s offensive line will struggle to give him and quarterback Frederick Holscher time and space.

If they do get moving, Sean Deuger and Justin Bullock each have over 100 tackles for South Granville this season. Mitchell, who also plays linebacker, leads the team with 30.5 tackles for loss.

The quality of opponent shouldn’t be much of a shock for Washington. The ECC was loaded this year, and the Pam Pack was able to keep up with the likes of Ayden-Grifton, Greene Central and Kinston. South Granville, meanwhile, played down a bit in its combination 1-A/2-A league.