Football season wraps; bring on the roundball

Published 7:08 pm Monday, November 29, 2021

2021 has been a dream year for high school football fans in North Carolina.

Thanks to COVID-19, the 2020 fall season didn’t begin until the following spring, giving us two seasons to follow.

After a two month break, the fall season kicked off as normal in August, meaning there were games to watch and practices to follow almost every week from late February until now.

Like I said, a dream year for fans, coaches and players, although I imagine the coaches are okay with having a break until after the holidays.

Northside led the way, going 19-5 in 24 games with two bye weeks. That’s 26 weeks of practices and games, exactly half a year, on top of off-season workouts and pre-season practices. The Panthers played for the 1A state title in the spring and were a couple of plays away from heading to Tarboro for a chance to return, but their final drive fell short this past Friday at home against Pender HS.

Washington High School won the conference title with a wild comeback win over Kinston in the spring to finish 7-2, then followed up with a 10-3 fall season that ended in the third round of the 2A playoffs.

Southside bounced back from a 3-4 spring to go 11-2 with both losses to Northside, the final one coming in the second round at Bing Mitchell Field.

The 32-7 combined record this fall was the best in Beaufort County since Southside opened in 2000. Coupled with the Panthers state title run in the spring, I’d say 2021 was an unpresented success.

Any way you slice it, 50-16 is a pretty good combined record, not to mention an abnormal about of games in one year.

By the way, we Midwesterners use the term “pretty good” like most use outstanding, hugely successful or any other superlative you can think of.

Nick Saban has won six national championships at Alabama, you say? Tom Brady has won seven Super Bowls? Hmm, that’s pretty good. You get the idea.

All three county teams run the ball more than they throw, so it figures Terry Moore, Mitch Godley and Kenjray Coffield would put up some numbers.

Moore led WHS with 2,087 yards rushing and averaged 11.7 yards per carry. He also caught 15 passes for 348 yards and scored 39 touchdowns, 30 on the ground.

Godley ran for 1,998 yards and 28 touchdowns, while Coffield posted 1,451 yards and scored 20 times.

Not to be forgotten, Pam Pack quarterback Hayes Pippin threw for 1,727 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 1,269 with another 12 scores.

Combining the seasons in 2021, Moore totaled 3,559 rushing yards and scored 50 touchdowns. That’s pretty good.

Speaking of Moore, reports from the Pam Pack camp say the Duke commit is still just that in the wake of veteran coach David Cutcliffe’s resignation after a disappointing 3-9 season. Moore is still on track to officially sign with the Blue Devils in mid-December.

Now that a double dose of gridiron action is behind us, what’s next? Hibernate until it gets warm again?

An attractive thought at times recently, but it’s not going to happen.

Basketball season looks interesting and there’s wrestling and swimming to follow as well.

Washington’s boys look to improve on last year’s trip to the 2A third round with three time defending state champion Farmville Central back in the conference.

The Northside girls made a trip to the East finals and lost only one senior, albeit their captain, Katie Godley. The Panthers, under veteran coach Michelle Leathers, have basically reloaded and should be around until the weather warms up.

Southside features the most talented girls player in the county, if not the East in junior Ka’nyah O’Neal, who drove the Seahawks to the third round of the playoffs by averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds a game as a guard.

While the football seasons were ones for the ages, basketball season will be entertaining as well.

I’ll keep you posted.