Anchor Bowl 2022: County rivals square off in annual clash

Published 12:25 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Playing at home in any sports is supposed to be a decided advantage, but the Anchor Bowl series history suggests that it’s actually a disadvantage when Northside and Southside face each other with the trophy on the line. The rivals meet for the 22nd time in the series and the home team has won four times since 2003. The Seahawks prevailed at home in 2005, 2011 and 2015, while Northside’s only home victory came in the COVID-19 delayed spring season of 2021. Since this is an even year, the Panthers host.

“There’s a lot to be said for a 45-minute bus ride to block out the noise and focus on doing your job,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “I love playing in front of our fans and we just have to focus on the field.”

Carrow can’t explain the trend either and thinks it’s better to be home.

“That’s just a funny stat,” he said. “I’d play this game at home every year if we could. There’s no advantage in going to their place for me.”

Southside leads the series, 13-8, but Northside has won the last three and four of the last five.

This is just the second week of Coastal Plains Conference competition, so it’s a little early to say the winner controls its own post-season destiny, but a win is huge for both sides.

Southside is 4-2 with a conference win at Pamlico County, while Northside stumbled Monday night at East Carteret, 29-22, leaving them 3-3 and 0-1.

“I think it’s a great way to show off our talented athletes in Beaufort County,” Carrow said. “The key is to stay focused and play football. It’s hard to do, but that’s key to winning. I’m looking forward to it as always.”

Both teams are run-oriented on offense and are opportunistic on defense. Boyd and Carrow know each other’s style, so it comes down to execution.

“Leopards don’t change their spots,” Boyd said. “We both know what’s coming, it’s a matter of stopping it, then avoiding turnovers and penalties. Whoever does that best will win.”

Former Washington Daily News Publisher Brownie Futrell and sports editor Mo Krochmal created the annual game in 1989.

Southside hadn’t opened yet, so the Panthers played Washington High School until 2001. The Panthers won three of the first four, then the Pam Pack dominated the rest of the series.

“We felt like it was a better match-up when Southside opened,” Futrell said. “We wanted to give the county something extra to be excited about during football season and to bring more attention to the kids. I am very pleased that the Anchor Bowl is still a big deal.”

Futrell put Krochmal in charge of finding the actual anchor.

“I can’t remember what boat store I found it in, but I knew it when I saw it,” Krochmal said. “I wanted the gnarliest, rustiest old anchor that had really been through it. We mounted it to a base and it’s neat that it’s still intact.”