PREGAME CHATTER: How about this for a nonconference game? Southern Nash’s double-wing, double-tight offense goes up against the Tarboro ‘T’ in a matchup of two tried-and-true offenses. Southern Nash is averaging more than 32 points per game. Tarboro’s defense has allowed seven total points in eight quarters against Big East Conference teams so far this year. Whichever team wins tonight won’t do so cheaply.
WHAT IT MEANS: In terms of long-term implications, there really aren’t any. But this game is the regular season matchup of the year in the Twin Counties. Two of the more successful programs of the past half-decade meet for one last tune-up before each opens its conference season. The Vikings and Firebirds should produce a physical, high-quality game which fans enjoy.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER: Southern Nash’s defensive line. The Firebirds have been hit-and-miss on defense so far this season, but mistakes against the Vikings and their speedy running backs easily can turn into touchdowns. The Vikings have allowed seven or fewer points three times already, and Southern Nash needs to turn in a good effort to match Tarboro’s defense.
PREGAME CHATTER: SouthWest Edgecombe usually does not take its bye early, but this season the Cougars had a week off after two tough losses to rivals Tarboro and Rocky Mount High. Coach Jonathan Cobb’s squad has a final tuneup before it begins Eastern Plains Conference action next week. The Cougars seek consistency over four quarters, which is something the team has lacked in see-saw efforts this season. SouthWest Edgecombe will have its full stable of running backs – Barry Smith, Devontrell Hyman and Marcus Williams – in the lineup for the first time in three weeks. Keeping control of the football will be helpful for the offense. East Carteret quarterback Brennan Lewis throws the ball quickly and accurately, so the Cougars’ defensive backs will have to be alert.
WHAT IT MEANS: A victory always is a good thing, especially one that could help the team’s confidence heading into the most important week of the season.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER: Start-up energy. The Cougars will leave campus at 12:30 this afternoon and make a three-hour bus ride to East Carteret. How the team responds after such a trip will be key, as they are facing a dangerous quarterback and a squad that has won three consecutive games.
PREGAME CHATTER: The Eagles are on quite a run. Having scored more than fifty points in the past three games while allowing just one score – at the most – in each victory, RMA looks like it is in midseason form. The Eagles continue to roll on offense, but coach B.W. Holt has continued to stress the little things – tackling and blocking. So far, it has worked this season.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Eagles enter the toughest part of their schedule after this week. Rocky Mount Academy closes with three teams that beat the Eagles last season, including a state championship favorite on the road.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER: The Eagles’ defense has allowed no more than one score in each of its four victories. It allowed 72 points in a Week 2 loss.
– Jessie H. Nunery, Justin Hite & Nick Piotrowicz