Rocky Mount Prep's Caleb Johnson, left, tries to avoid Granville Central's Tre Bullock during a run Friday at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex.

Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

Rocky Mount Prep's Caleb Johnson, left, tries to avoid Granville Central's Tre Bullock during a run Friday at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex.

TELEGRAM FOOTBALL INSIDER: Aug. 31

By Telegram Sports Staff

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Danny Ward has a short week to plan for Louisburg next week, but he will not let his team be unprepared for a second consecutive week.

The Jaguars’ coach took the blame for Friday’s loss to Granville Central and admitted the defense might not have had enough reps against the Panthers’ offense in practice. Ward said that will change in the upcoming week but also said he must put his players in more situations where they are going to succeed.

“I’ve got to know my players better,” Ward said. “I’ve got to know who’s going to execute what is being called. I’ve got to put the right persons in the right places who are going to carry out whatever play is called.”

North Edgecombe

 

The Warriors competed for four quarters against cross-county rival SouthWest Edgecombe. They just competed too hard at times.

North Edgecombe was whistled for 11 offsides or false starts in the game, most of which occurred during crucial moments in the contest. SouthWest Edgecombe (1-1) was gifted four first downs because North Edgecombe (1-1) jumped too early on defense, and the Cougars made the Warriors pay for it.

Warriors coach Keith Parisher said he is not too concerned with his team’s aggressiveness because it is easy for him to correct.

“We were just being aggressive, and that was what we talked about all week, that we needed to be ready to go,” Parisher said. “It’s something we can fix. I’m not worried about that.”

SW Edgecombe

 

Despite the fact the Cougars beat their cross-county rivals Thursday night, there was one troubling trend that almost came back to haunt SouthWest Edgecombe.

Junior quarterback Tucker Pridgen bobbled four center-quarterback exchanges, losing three of them, in addition to bobbling two last week. The issues stem from constant changes on the offensive line, including three different centers during the two games.

Starting center Kevin Parker is out with a sprained ankle, and backup center Brady Overstreet left Thursday’s contest with an injury.

That forced senior Cole Pierce to move from tight end to center for the remainder of the game.

Coach Jonathan Cobb said the team practices the exchanges at the beginning of every practice, and part of that drill is the quarterback’s eyes are closed to force him to feel when the snap is coming.

Rocky Mount High

 

Two weeks into the season, Rocky Mount High looks like the top team in the Twin Counties. Friday night, the Gryphons blew past Oxford Webb, winning 51-7 on the road.

After back-to-back wins, Gryphons coach Jason Battle isn’t talking about his offense or defense.

Instead, he’s praising his special teams.

For the second straight game, senior Rashawn Harris returned a punt for a touchdown.

“(Rashawn’s) doing a good job, but you have to credit those guys around him. They take pride in it,” Battle said. “He makes the play, but those other 10 kids on the punt team are doing a good job.”

Battle stressed a team effort in fall camp, and special teams already have been paying off for the 2-0 squad.

Tarboro

 

It’s not time to hit the panic button – just yet. After Tarboro suffered its worse loss in eight years, Vikings coach Jeff Craddock isn’t ready to make any drastic changes.

Craddock said after Friday’s 42-7 loss to Washington, in which the Vikings managed just four first downs, Tarboro wasn’t going to change anything on offense.

“You are who you are,” Craddock said. “This is high school football.”

Tarboro (1-1) inserted running back Deshan Farmer at quarterback for a few plays, but Craddock hinted that it was just an effort to get the offense moving.

“We tried it, and thought it would give us a spark,” Craddock said. “But we just couldn’t do anything.”

Dawson Harris remains the Vikings quarterback, but if his struggles continue, Farmer might need to be more than just an expirement.

Nash Central

 

Another game, another loss. For the second straight week, Nash Central found its self trailing early against a superior opponent.

Kinston built a two touchdown lead in the first five minutes of the game before rolling to a 41-12 victory.

If the Bulldogs (0-2) hope to snap their 17-game losing streak, it’s going to have to start in the first quarter. Last season, Nash Central could never overcome early deficits, and that’s the same this season so far.

Southern Nash

 

Southern Nash’s inability to hold on to the football Thursday night made all the difference in winning and losing.

The Firebirds’ 19-7 defeat at Wilson Beddingfield was all about fumbles.

Southern Nash (1-1) fumbled eight times and lost five of them, including one on the 22-yard line late in the contest when the team was driving for a possible go-ahead score.

The contest was tied at 7-7 with seven minutes to play before the Firebirds gave up the go-ahead score.

Beddingfield (2-0) broke a long run on the game’s last play for the final margin.

“The kids played hard, but we can’t have five turnovers,” said Southern Nash coach Brian Foster, whose team played without its starting quarterback and center for most of the game.

Northern Nash

 

Coach Randy Raper said the slow starts are obviously not to his team’s benefit, but it’s a learning process he is confident his team (1-1) will master.

“Our kids have to learn to be mentally prepared to play from the start, and we’re not there yet,” Raper said. “We need to play for all four quarters ... I know we’ll be able to get there.”

RM Academy

 

The Eagles are fortunate to have enough players to keep most from playing both sides of the ball.

That usually helps with conditioning, but in Thursday night’s 29-0 season-opening victory against Halifax Academy, the Eagles had their troubles with cramped muscles.

Rocky Mount Academy coach B.W. Holt said Monday’s practice would be “fun.”

His players knew what that meant after Holt spent some of his postgame speech talking about hydration.

“I know we’re going to run a lot Monday,” running back Rod White said.


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