SouthWest Edgecombe coach Raymond Cobb had high praise for his football team after a 32-13 victory Friday at Wilson Beddingfield.
“It was one of the best games we’ve played in the past two years,” said Cobb, whose Cougars (3-3, 3-0 EPC) have won three consecutive games. “Beddingfield was playing some really good football. We went over there and were offensively as good as we’ve been.”
SouthWest Edgecombe scored on all but one of its first-half possessions, and only an unforced fumble stopped the squad from taking a double-digit halftime lead.
The Cougars controlled the ball for more than 34 minutes.
“We’ve continued to improve,” Cobb said. “We have a long way to go to be the football team we’d like to be.”
The Warriors are trying to find a consistent defensive effort. Coach Keith Parisher said that the team’s inability to stop Northampton County on third downs played a key role in a 50-14 loss Friday night.
“Our effort was fine, but we give up big plays way too easy,” Parisher said. “We’ll play two good plays, then take a play off or we get too aggressive.”
Northampton County’s third down conversions and fumble recoveries – the Warriors fumbled a pair of kickoff returns – led to North Edgecombe’s second loss in as many Tar-Roanoke Conference games.
The Warriors (2-4, 0-2 T-RC) also lost starting linebacker and running back Travonte Collins to a concussion only five minutes into the contest.
“I saw enough positives to build on,” Parisher said. “With the young guys, that’s what we have to keep doing. We played until the end.”
Tarboro was not pressed on the scoreboard in a 47-16 victory Friday night at Greene Central, but the Vikings continue to put pressure on themselves.
Coach Jeff Craddock said the team fumbled four times, including a muffed punt. Fortunately for the Vikings, they recovered all but one of the fumbles.
“Offensively, we played well and controlled the line of scrimmage,” said Craddock, whose team improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Eastern Plains Conference play. “We rushed for 500 yards, so we did some good things, but we have a tendency to put the ball on the ground.”
Craddock said he was encouraged by his defense’s ability to stop Greene Central’s triple-option offense but reminded his team that penalties and sloppy play must be avoided in the coming weeks against strong teams such as Kinston and SouthWest Edgecombe.
Rocky Mount High
After scoring 13 points in the first quarter against Nash Central, the Rocky Mount offense came to a standstill.
Though the Gryphons hung on for a 13-6 victory, the Bulldogs’ adjustments to Rocky Mount’s offense were successful. The Bulldogs clamped the Gryphons’ speed to the edges with their linebackers and forced Rocky Mount to be a power running team.
“We were kind of sluggish offensively, execution wise,” Rocky Mount coach Jason Battle said. “But I give a lot of credit to Nash Central defensively. They really played us well.”
The growth Rocky Mount showed from 2011 was on display Friday night. The game became difficult and the Gryphons showed frustration, which was exactly the situation that would have doomed them a year ago.
But this team is different, Battle said.
“The kids believe,” Battle said. “They believe, and it means something to them. They’ve had a lot of success and they started to believe in each other and believe in our coaches.”
After completing one of nine passes in their past two games, the Bulldogs’ passing game looked much improved in a 13-6 defeat to Rocky Mount High on Friday.
Quarterback Khalil Macklin was 2-for-6 for 21 yards, but all four incompletions – including one in the end zone that would have pulled the Bulldogs within one – were dropped passes.
While the drops were frustrating, the Bulldogs (2-4, 0-1 Big East) showed opposing teams can’t use all their resources stopping the run.
“We’re trying to do some things in the passing game,” Nash Central coach Kevin Crudup said. “We can’t throw all the passes, but we can throw some of them, and we’ve been working on those. We’re getting better.”
Nash Central’s defense was excellent against the Gryphons, particularly against star running back Mason Hines, who managed a season-low 54 yards, 41 yards of which came on a one carry.
The key for Nash Central will be making the few game-changing plays they did not make last week.
“We’ve played against the Tarboros and New Berns and Hertford Countys of the world, so we’ve seen special kids,” Crudup said. “We’ve got special kids, but ... once again, it came down to one play they made, and one we didn’t make.”
Rocky Mount Academy
Eagles’ first-year coach B.W. Holt has a saying that he likes to use.
“Sometimes, you are the windshield. Sometimes you are the bug,” he said.
On Friday night against Raleigh Word of God night, Holt said his team was the bug.
Rocky Mount Academy (2-4) had won two straight games, but lost to the back-to-back NCISAA 2-A state champion Raleigh Word of God, 54-0.
“I thought our kids had played five really good ballgames,” said Holt, who took blame for the loss. “It was not a good night not to play real well. … We’ll play better next time.”
After looking efficient and powerful offensively in the previous two weeks, Rocky Mount Academy was shut out for the first time all season, and it was down 20 points before the game was delayed nearly an hour and 30 minutes by the weather after the first quarter.
“We’re happy with what we are doing,” said Holt, who pointed to the Eagles’ need to tackle better as well as become bigger, stronger and faster as a team. “We have to go to work. We have three games to go, we’ll have a good week next week.”
Rocky Mount Prep
A familiar face reared its head again for Rocky Mount Prep in a 51-2 loss to Gates County on Friday night.
“At times, we did look better,” first-year coach Don Reams said. “At times, we were moving the ball, and at times, we played good defense, big turnovers still cost us.”
The Jaguars (0-6) fumbled eight times, losing six of them.
“That is back-breaking,” Reams said.
Still, Reams is seeing in improvement in Rocky Mount Prep, which is in its first year of varsity football.
He also sees two more potential victories on the schedule. The Jaguars play Southeast Halifax before their bye week. Then Rocky Mount Prep plays KIPP Pride and Weldon, which lost similarly to Gates County.
Reams believes that the Jaguars’ final two games are winnable because of the team’s growth.
“We have more players on the team than we’ve had all season,” Reams said. “Overall, the attitude is pretty good.”