Nash Central fell to 0-8 Friday with a 33-15 loss to Wilson Fike, but the Bulldogs played a game that encouraged the coaching staff. Nash Central was ready to go into halftime down, 13-8, but Fike completed a Hail Mary as time expired.
“That catch should be on ‘SportsCenter.’ That’s how good it was,” Nash Central coach Kevin Crudup said. “He made a spectacular, one-handed catch around his ankles, and that was a big momentum changer for them.”
After halftime, Crudup said the Bulldogs completed their best drive of the season and brought the game to a one-score margin.
Nash Central moved Khalil Macklin back to quarterback, where Crudup said he will start again this week against Northern Nash.
But the problem again for the Bulldogs was depth.
Macklin had to receive breaks at defensive back, and the Golden Demons’ hurry-up wore down Nash Central’s large crop of two-way players.
“It’s kind of a pick-your-poison thing trying to give our kids rest. We get tired with so many guys going both ways,” Crudup said.
Rocky Mount Academy
B.W. Holt knew a pair of facts before Friday night’s eventual 34-8 loss to Southampton Academy (Va.): The Raiders were the best team in 8-man football in the state, and his team would have to prove something to itself.
Although the Eagles (6-2) lost, they proved that they could compete at the highest level – something not lost on Holt, who said his team quit earlier in the season against Hobgood Academy.
“I think it was a big plus,” he said. “I think our kids came off the field knowing that we are just a step away right now. … We’re going have to have some people step up and make plays.”
After trailing just 6-0 after the first quarter, Rocky Mount Academy was victimized twice on fourth down for touchdown passes and gave up a fumble return for a touchdown.
Rocky Mount High
Before Friday night, the Gryphons (6-2) boasted the best defense in the Big East Conference. However, after allowing a season-high 48 points in a 48-31 loss to Wilson Hunt, Rocky Mount has fallen from its perch.
In fact, the 27 points Rocky Mount allowed in the third quarter alone would have been a season high points allowed.
“For what we’ve done the last couple weeks, our defense had a rough night,” Gryphons coach Jason Battle said.
Rocky Mount struggled with basic fundamentals on the defensive side of the ball, including missed tackles and poor coverage in the secondary. Rocky Mount allowed four scoring plays of 30 or more yards.
With a pair of Two Rivers Conference victories behind them, the Vikings (6-2, 2-0) might have a quarterback controversy to deal with in the upcoming weeks.
During a 78-14 victory against Rocky Mount Prep, both Danny Whitaker and Ludy Hinton took snaps for Tarboro, which has lost its top two quarterbacks to injury.
“Both of them played well,” Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock said of the two sophomores. “They ran our offense well. They looked good. … Here in about two or three weeks we’re going to make a decision about which quarterback will be the starter.”
Tarboro took a 54-0 lead at halftime and cruised to the conference victory.
Rocky Mount Prep
After seeing first-hand what he hopes the Jaguars program can become in a 78-14 loss to Tarboro, Rocky Mount Prep coach Don Reams has refocused to next week.
Next week against Robersonville South Creek, the Jaguars (1-7, 0-2) have a chance at a second victory and the school’s first conference win.
“In order for us to have a chance, it’s going to be the team that makes the fewest mistakes, comes with great commitment and maybe gets a break or two,” Reams said.
Reams stressed that his team can’t beat itself by making bad snaps, dropping touchdown passes or losing key fumbles. Those problems have plagued the Jaguars all season.
One day after his team’s 27-14 loss to Washington, Cougars coach Jonathan Cobb didn’t waste words.
“Washington is probably the best team we’ve played all year,” he said.
SouthWest Edgecombe (4-4, 1-1 Eastern Plains) played a nonconference schedule at included Tarboro, Southern Nash and Rocky Mount High, but it was the Pam Pack that took the Cougars completely out of their element.
Gaining just 98 yards on the ground, SouthWest Edgecombe had to take to the air and eventually threw a back-breaking interception that was returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Before the pick, the score was 14-6.
“Anytime we have to go to the pass game to survive off of it, we’re not doing what we want to,” Cobb said.
It all came crashing down in the second half for the Warriors in their 56-14 loss to Riverside-Martin.
The Warriors trailed, 16-8, at halftime but allowed a kick return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the second half.
North Edgecombe turned over the ball three times, and each led to Riverside-Martin points.
“It seemed like everything that could’ve happened did happen in the second half,” North Edgecombe coach Keith Parisher said. “Once it got started, we couldn’t slow it down or get them out of rhythm.”
Southern Nash received academic progress reports Thursday, and the grades were better than they ever have been, Southern Nash coach Brian Foster said.
When Friday came, though, the Firebirds did not play well even though they beat Northern Nash, 15-14.
With a team full of players who have good grades, Foster said he wants to see smarter football than the kind that saw Southern Nash make several mental errors and commit 112 yards worth of penalties Friday.
“We have 41 kids make over a 3.0 and 17 make over a 4.0,” Foster said. “I don’t see any reason we can’t have that and come out and have the same thing (on the field), instead of taking and taking and taking.”
With just more than two minutes to play Friday, Northern Nash led by six and faced a key third-and-five with Southern Nash out of timeouts. The Knights tried to clinch the game with a deep pass play to Kendrick Richardson, but what looked like a clear pass interference was not called.
Northern Nash was forced to punt, and Southern Nash scored a touchdown with 46 seconds remaining to win, 15-14.
“We gave it a shot,” Northern Nash coach Randy Raper said. “I really thought it was pass interference. I don’t care what anybody says, I thought it was, and they didn’t want to make that call at that time, right there. But that’s besides the point.”