Seahawks motivated by ‘redemption road’ bracket

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Football teams don’t need extra motivation once the postseason arrives, but another reason to play never hurts.

That’s the case with Southside. Many Seahawks have spoke of their playoff bracket as “redemption road.” It began with a first-round matchup with Northside — a Beaufort County showdown they won in convincing fashion, 20-0 — and they’d like it to climax with another third-straight trip to the 1-A eastern-regional championship game.

Only this time, Southside wants to get over the hump and earn a trip to the state championship. It’s a goal that’s been elusive in consecutive five-point losses to Plymouth, but has been a mission since the preseason.

“It gives us a lot of motivation because we know we’ve lost to these teams in the past,” senior Demetrius Ebron said. “We can see them again in the playoffs, so it’s a big motivation to us.”

Ebron was crucial to the Seahawks and their first step toward redemption. Northside had rolled into Chocowinity and left with a 16-12 win and the Anchor Bowl less than a month ago. Ebron was one of many seniors upset with how their final home game played out.

This time around, head coach Jeff Carrow added a new formation to the offense. Ebron, usually used as a receiver, had made plays in limited opportunities as part of a run-heavy offense. He had 13 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns going into the playoffs. He also leads the team in kickoff and punt returning.

The Seahawks lined him up as a wildcat quarterback as a way to get the most of his sheer athleticism. The new wrinkle proved to be the difference. Ebron ran for a game-high 114 yards and set up both of Southside’s first-quarter touchdowns.

“(Carrow) thought it would be a major part of this game and it turned out to be a major part of this game,” Ebron said after the first-round win. “He brought it up to me and I thought it would be a good idea. I really wanted to run the ball and get the ball in my hands more. It turned out to be a good formation.”

Southside’s regular season didn’t go as well as Carrow, Ebron and the Seahawks would have liked. They lost three in a row after starting the season 4-0. Then they finished the campaign with back-to-back losses.

In that mid-season slump, Southside dropped its first game of the season to the same North Duplin team it’s set to meet in the second round. The third-straight loss in that stretch came against a Pamlico County squad the Seahawks could potentially see should they advance to the third round.

In the end, though, Southside is maintaining the same mentality that has led to so much postseason success in recent years. The added motivation helps, but this group knows it can’t afford to look past its next opponent.

“Guys come up to stuff. Our motto, as always, is next game up,” Carrow said.