Aces, Panthers meet at Pasquotank

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John A. Holmes running back Mitjonta Stanley (left) has run for more than 500 yards in the Aces' first two games this season.

082618 Pasquotank Football

By David Gough
Sports Writer

Thursday, August 30, 2018

It’s an unusual week for most of the area’s high school football teams as five of the six schools will be playing under the Thursday night lights, instead of Friday.

With the exception of Currituck which already scheduled a Thursday home game against Hickory (Va.), possible bad weather Friday resulted in Northeastern’s home game against Camden and Pasquotank’s home game against John A. Holmes being moved up to tonight.

It’s not the first time that the latter game was moved up a day because of weather. In Paul Hoggard’s first year as the Aces’ head coach in 2015, John A. Holmes beat the Panthers 50-22 in a Thursday night home game in Edenton.

“Hopefully, (the impact is) very little,” Hoggard said. “I don’t think it’s had an impact in the past.”

That 2015 game was the sixth victory of a current eight-game winning streak for Edenton against Pasquotank; the last time the Panthers were able to defeat the Aces was in 2009.

Tonight, nothing changes in terms of the the Aces being the favorite to win the game. They’re off to another dominant start to the season as they head into their first road game of the season.

John A. Holmes followed a 52-27 win over First Flight in its first game with a 53-6 rout of Central Virginia Disciples last week.

“I think we got better from week one to week two,” Hoggard said. “Hopefully, we'll have improvement this week. Always room for improvement.”

One Ace who would only go from great to greater if he made improvement this week is running back Mitjonta Stanley. The junior has been spectacular on the ground to begin the year.

In his first two games, Stanley has carried the ball 27 times for 561 total rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 833 rushing yards all of 2017.

“Jonta is off to a good start, but we’re not surprised,” Hoggard said.

Meanwhile, RaShawn Spencer is still putting the pieces together in his first year as head coach at Pasquotank.

Last week’s 44-6 win over Northwest Halifax was a nice step forward. The Panthers bounced back after getting shut out 54-0 by SouthWest Edgecombe a week earlier to open up the season.

It was a nice sigh of relief for Spencer and company.

“It was big,” Spencer said. “Nice to get the monkey off our backs and it gives the guys some confidence moving forward.”

Sam Bingham played the biggest role in the win as he’s expected to continue being a key member of the Panthers’ offense moving forward. Against Northwest Halifax, the senior scored three touchdowns and a two-point conversion on 156 rushing yards.

“He’s been awesome,” Spencer said. “He had a big week last week. He’s key to the success of this offense.”

No matter the result, Spencer acknowledged that tonight’s game is a great way to gage just where the team is at so far.

He also believes the team will be energized and ready to go more so than the usual Friday night game.

“I think they’ll be even more on the edge against a team like John A. Holmes,” Spencer said. “I think we’ll see the guys stepping up and building off of last week.”