Self-inflicted mistakes cost Northern Nash a chance at upsetting Tarboro on the road Friday, when three third-quarter turnovers led to 14 Tarboro points in the Knights’ 21-7 loss.
The Knights’ offense was able to move the chains for the better part of the night, however, and their defense played well with the exception of a few missed assignments.
The contest was evenly played for most of the night. The third quarter was the lone exception, but Tarboro made the Knights pay for nearly all of their mistakes.
Once that is cleaned up, Northern Nash coach Randy Raper said, the Knights will be OK because they know they can play with good teams.
“If we play with that intensity and that resolve, and take away the little mistakes – because they turn into big things – you know, we’re going to be fine,” Raper said.
Turnovers can be a telling statistic in any football game.
On Friday night, Hobgood Academy fumbled five times. Each time, the ball bounced out of bounds or right back in its hands. Rocky Mount Academy fumbled three times and lost all three.
The result was a 72-40 final in favor of Hobgood Academy.
“That’s eight possessions, when you look at it,” Rocky Mount Academy coach B.W. Holt said
Each possession was big, especially for a game that was 42-32 before Hobgood pulled away from Rocky Mount Academy (1-1) for good. One of the main reasons was the Eagles’ lack of defensive resistance.
“I can’t remember a time when we’ve tackled worse,” said Holt, who promised his players he’d do better as a coach. “… We’ve got to be better tacklers than that. When you can’t tackle, you have to go back to practice. You have to go back to work.”
Still a program in its infancy, the Jaguars can’t give away points or do things to hurt their cause.
On Friday night during a 54-14 loss to Louisburg, both things continued to go wrong.
Snaps went over their quarterback’s head, laterals were dropped and forgotten and punts were blocked. On all three occasions, Louisburg found the end zone.
“You just keep pointing out the fact that in the game of football you have to hustle,” coach Don Reams said.
Rocky Mount Prep (1-2), just two weeks removed from the only win in school history, struggled to maintain blocks and tackle. Markevion Pittman shined at quarterback and defensive end, but the Jaguars still struggled on the field.
“There were several others you could tell at the end of the game that the taste of defeat is not to their liking,” Reams said. “It’s not throughout the whole team. We just have a work in progress.”
Led by Rashawn Harris, who recorded his second punt return touchdown in three games, the Gryphons proved that they can score at any point in a game.
Running back Mallik Lewis scored a long touchdown run in the second half, the defense returned a fumble and Harris brought a punt back during the Gryphons’ 26-19 come-from-behind victory against Hertford County.
“We take a lot of pride in special teams, and it gives us opportunities,” coach Jason Battle said. “I was excited to finally see us score a defensive touchdown. They play hard, week in and week out. It was good for them to get some reward for it.”
The Gryphons fell behind, 19-13, at halftime but managed to shut out Hertford County and score two touchdowns of their own. The defense came up big late in the game when Deangelo Swift picked off a pass to abruptly end Hertford County’s final drive of the game – the second time he has done that in as many games.
“Our kids came to play and play hard,” Battle said. “I’m really impressed with how aggressive we’ve been able to play and finish the game. … They just keep after it.”
The Bulldogs were heavy underdogs against Greenville Conley, but through one half, it was difficult to tell which team was favored.
The Rampants took the opening kickoff down to the Nash Central one-yard line only to be turned away on four straight plays, and the Bulldogs trailed only 6-0 at half.
Conley wore down Nash Central in the second half, eventually winning, 34-6, but the Bulldogs felt good about the way they played against a 4-A contender.
“We came out focused and ready to play,” Nash Central coach Kevin Crudup said. “...It’s a building block for what we’re trying to do. The guys understand we’ve played against some of not only the best guys in the state, but in the country, and we hung in there.”
Conley defensive end, Kentavious Street, is ranked in the top five in the country at his position, and Crudup said the Bulldogs “just couldn’t block him.”
But Nash Central (0-3) did play excellent defense and grow as an offense, Crudup said, something he felt would aid the team.
“Once we get that first win, it’s going to be a snowball effect,” Crudup said. “We have to be the best 0-3 team in the state right now.”
Senior Richard Hall continues to be the victim of bad luck.
He was forced into the starting lineup after the Firebirds’ top three running backs went down with injury, but for the second week in a row, he had a touchdown called back.
Midway through the second quarter, Hall caught a punt and started down the right sideline before cutting back across the middle. He found his way to the end zone only to have the score called back, an identical fate to his punt return score against Wilson Beddingfield in Week 2.
“At least they’re blocking for me,” Hall said after the Firebirds’ 28-23 victory Friday against Bunn. “At least they’re getting out in front of me and blocking for me. If they make the block, I’ll make the play.”
On Friday, Southern Nash (3-0) managed to find the end zone on the same drive, eliminating any lost points.
Vikings coach Jeff Craddock has been a stickler in his time at Tarboro that the Vikings, win or lose, must do things the right way.
The Vikings (2-1) did win, beating Northern Nash, 21-7, but the game had to be stopped in the fourth quarter because numerous personal fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct were called on both teams.
Craddock and the Vikings’ coaching staff weren’t happy with a minority of the team, especially when a 15-yard penalty cost the Vikings a chance to put the game out of reach. The failure to put the game away made Tarboro’s defense obtain one last stop.
Foolish penalties like that can cost a team games, Craddock said, and if the team is going to improve, it has to eliminate unnecessary penalties.
“We should have been up, 28-7, and the game should have been away with six minutes left in the game,” Craddock said. “But because of our mouth and lack of control, we left them in the game. You can’t do those things and be a great team.”
Physically and athletically, SouthWest Edgecombe did everything it needed to do in a 28-7 victory Friday night against Greene Central.
SouthWest Edgecombe held Greene Central to only 126 total yards and five first downs.
Devontrell Hyman ran for 152 yards and a score.
Mentally is where the Cougars (2-1) disappointed first-year coach Jonathan Cobb.
SouthWest Edgecombe led, 26-0, at halftime, and by the end of the game, the team had committed 115 yards worth of penalties. Only a safety kept the Cougars from a scoreless half after dominating early.
“We were very undisciplined in the seocnd half and couldn’t put the game away,” Cobb said. “We lost focus and made too many mistakes. We must focus on being a selfless and disciplined football team if we expect to compete in big-time games.”