TARBORO – It’s not often that SouthWest Edgecombe has a chance to face a 4-A school.
The 2-A Cougars are usually too busy navigating through their conference schedule to play a team with a much larger talent pool.
But Friday at the Tarboro Football Jamboree, the Cougars found themselves matched up with Greenville Rose in a scrimmage.
SouthWest Edgecombe coach Jonathan Cobb said it was just what he wanted with the regular season kicking off next week.
It was the perfect measuring stick.
For 20 minutes the Cougars went head-to-head with a team that made the state semifinals last year. And while there was no official score kept in the scrimmage, Cobb treated it like a win.
“That was awesome,” Cobb said. “I was actually pleased with how it went. I know they scored twice and we didn’t score on them, but we made some great defensive plays and moved the ball.”
Outside of the team’s performance against Greenville Rose, Cobb said the biggest benefit of Friday’s jamboree was having the chance to face multiple schools of all sizes in a short period of time.
The Cougars were joined by Tarboro and North Edgecombe at the event, along with Edenton and Farmville Central.
Cobb and other coaches said they treated the event like a practice but were still interested to see how their teams stacked up against other schools.
“You know, every opponent is different [at theses jamborees] and you’re just running your base defense trying to adjust on the go, so it’s good,” Cobb said.
North Edgecombe coach Keith Parisher agreed.
“We don’t get to play these big schools during the year, and we know we’re going to have to make some adjustments so we just go at it with them,” Parisher said.
Both 1-A Tarboro and 1-A North Edgecombe had a chance to play Greenville Rose, and like with SouthWest Edgecombe, each team walked away with some positives.
North Edgecombe’s defense was able to limit Greenville Rose for a handful of plays, and Tarboro even scored a touchdown with a run from Deshan Farmer.
“I like the effort we gave,” Parisher said. “It’s the same way we always scrimmage, just a chance to hit somebody besides us.”
Vikings coach Jeff Craddock had spent the past two weeks looking for consistency in his backfield, and Friday he finally found some.
Junior Tay Battle and senior Deshan Farmer split carries and showed that they could provide a 1-2 punch this season.
Farmer found the end zone on a 14-yard run against Greenville Rose, while Battle raced 35 yards for a score against North Edgecombe.
Senior fullback Markese Clapp was sidelined with a fractured wrist, which means both Battle and Farmer could have an extended role when the Vikings open play next week against Nash Central.
The Cougars were without junior running back Marcus Williams, who was limited with a sore hamstring. His absence put junior running back Kynazi Page in the spotlight.
The 5-foot-6, 140-pound Page flashed signs of his breakaway speed, but the run game wasn’t the same without Williams.
Cobb believes that his offensive line might be the deepest unit on the team, and the Cougars were able to rotate a number of bodies.
Junior Kevin Parker projects as the starting center with senior Cole Pierce penciled in at right guard.
It’s often rare to find two servicable defensive tackles that can play in high school, let alone three.
But at North Edgecombe there’s a trio in the middle.
Together senior Trye’Quain Harris, junior Jaquel Knight and sophomore Quantavius Harrell all form the core of a rare five-man front.
Each player tips the scale at least 265 pounds, giving the Warriors some beef up front.
“We’ll play to whatever we got,” Parisher said.
Expect all three to plug the middle of the defense this season and also anchor the offensive line.
Andrew Ivins can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org