TARBORO – The Tarboro Vikings wielded a saber-sharp offense Friday night to defeat the visiting North Pitt Panthers, 41-24.
None of Tarboro’s scoring drives likely was as exciting – and certainly none was shorter – than the touchdown campaign that started the second half. Taking the kickoff on his own 3-yard line, senior running back Quentin Roberson dashed 79 yards to North Pitt’s 18-yard line. After an offsides penalty set the Vikings back 5 yards, Roberson sprinted left for a 23-yard scoring run that sent fans in the Vikings’ home stands roaring.
The score gave the lead back to the Vikings, 21-17, but North Pitt was far from ready to quit. Just six plays later, Panther junior running back Brian Staton bulled his way to the right in a 45-yard scoring run that returned the lead to North Pitt, 24-21.
Bouncing back, the Vikings scored twice more in the third quarter – on 5- and 37-yard runs by Roberson – and once in the fourth – a 45-yard run by junior running back Radja Bobbitt.
In a postgame interview, Coach Jeff Craddock also praised the players who set up the runners’ scores.
“Our offensive line, you’ve go to give them credit,” he said.
While showing toughness and forcing some Panther errors, the Viking defense didn’t wield the same power. One fault was key late-series high-yardage gains by the Panthers.
“We can’t give teams third-and-30s,” Craddock told the Vikings in a postgame huddle. In the later interview, he said. “We’ve just got to tighten up on our defense. That’s the key.”
The game saw one serious injury. Panthers junior Daquan Spruill was taken from the field in an ambulance after injuring his leg in the last minute of the first half. Information on the extent of the injury was not available before presstime.
Tarboro, the three-time 2-A state champions, has an open date next week. The Vikings (5-0) visit Greene Central on Sept. 28