Let the Games Begin

Pasquotank game highlights opening night

Five area teams kick off their seasons tonight

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Pasquotank’s Trequan Williams (with ball) will look to lead the Panthers’ running attack as they host Southwest Edgecombe tonight in their opening game of the season.


By Craig Moyer
Sports Writer

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pasquotank is ready to get their season underway, as they prepare to play hard-nose football against Southwest Edgecombe at home today at 7:30 p.m.

The Panthers are one of five area teams in action tonight.

Pasquotank head coach Chris McGee spoke with The Daily Advance on Thursday about how he expects the game to closely-contested and very physical.

The Cougars run a wishbone style offense, with two running backs and a fullback lined up behind the quarterback and rely on power running for four or five yards on every play.

McGee believes the key to stopping the Cougars running attack is to slow down their powerful interior linemen and block up the running backs.

“They are a physical team on offense, but we switched to a 4-3 on defense and we are stronger and more athletic this year, so we feel pretty comfortable on the defensive side,” McGee said.

Southwest Edgecombe, out of Pinetops, relied heavily on their running game last season, as they rushed for 3,171 yards and return five of their top seven leaders in rushing yards from last season.

The Cougars and Panthers faced off against two common opponents last season, as Southwest Edgecombe lost to Edenton and defeated Bertie, while Pasquotank fell to both the Aces and the Falcons.

Watching film from those games, as well as trading scrimmage film this summer has allowed McGee and the Panthers to plan on how to attack the Cougars on both sides of the ball, but McGee said a wishbone style offense is difficult to prepare for.

“They run right at you so it will really be a war of the wills, there is not much you can do to scheme against the wishbone, but I feel like our depth on defense this year will help us in the hot and humid weather,” McGee said.

While Southwest Edgecombe relies on a run-heavy offense, Pasquotank will likely run a balanced-attack, led by first-year starter at quarterback Jonathan Lamberson and the running of senior Trequan Williams.

The Panthers and Cougars had very different paths on their way to similar records last season, as Pasquotank finished 5-5 and Southwest Edgecombe finished 5-7 with a trip to the first round of the 2A state playoffs.

Pasquotank got off to a strong start on the season, going 4-0 in non-conference play, but then struggled down the stretch, losing five out of six conference games and missing out on the playoffs.

Southwest Edgecombe’s season was much different, as the Cougars went 1-5 in non-conference play and then followed by going 4-1 in conference play and finishing in first place in the Eastern Plains Conference.

The game will showcase a lot of new players, as both teams graduated a large number of key contributors from last season and will look to new players to step up in important roles.

The hard-hitting, close-fought game will likely come down to one or two plays and will also provide a glimpse at what the 16 new starters for the Panthers have in store for the season.

Craig’s Prediction: Pasquotank: 27-24

Other area games:

Currituck at Manteo

Theme: The Knights defeated the Redskins 42-2 last season, but Currituck will have a much different look on offense this season, while Manteo returns several key starters. The play of Manteo senior Caz Wheeler, who led the team with 90 tackles last season, will be very important in slowing down the Knights’ offense. Currituck’s Albert Harris will look to play a key role on defense at middle linebacker and will likely get carries at running back on the offensive side of the ball.

Craig’s Prediction: Currituck: 28-20

Weldon at Camden

Theme: Weldon struggled last season, finishing 1-10 and graduated their leading passer, rusher and receiver, so the Bruins’ offense, which returns six  starters, should have no problem outscoring the Chargers. A win is very important for the Bruins, as they have a tough upcoming non-conference schedule, with games against Northeastern and First Flight, before entering conference play in the newly formed Albemarle Athletic Conference, which will likely be highly competitive.

Craig’s Prediction: Camden: 48-7

Edenton at First Flight

Theme: The game could likely be a high-scoring affair, as both teams had explosive offenses last season and return key players on that side of the ball. Edenon senior running back Keimon Bailey will no doubt be a factor after rushing for 2,853 yards last season on his way to being named Area Player of the Year. Kentreaz Coston will get his first chance to show what he can do behind center after the departure of All-Area star Luke Hoggard.

Craig’s Prediction: Edenton: 42-35

Perquimans at Northside-Pinetown

Theme: The Panthers finished 8-5 last season and came up just short of a trip to the third round of the 1A state playoffs, but did graduate their star running back James Barrow, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. The Panthers do return several key starters on defense, which could be a problem for the Pirates’ offense, which returns just three starters from last season’s team. The play of Perquimans quarterback Mason Votava will be vital in the Pirates’ chances.

Craig’s Prediction: Northside-Pinetown: 37-17