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Bruins, Panthers hope to end early struggles

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Friday, September 7, 2018

Pasquotank and Camden’s game tonight is between two teams that have mostly struggled so far this season. In six combined games, the two schools have combined for one win.

Pasquotank is the owner of that win, a 44-6 blowout over Northwest Halifax in week two. Unfortunately, both teams have been on the receiving end of blowouts in each of the other five combined games.

For Camden’s sake, it has yet score a point.

“It’s obviously been rough,” Bruins coach Josh Blood said. “But I look at our competition. I know we’ve played some really good competition and that’s only going to make us better as we go on.”

After losing to Weldon, the lone win on last year’s schedule for Camden, the Bruins did run into two of the three remaining undefeated teams in the Daily Advance’s coverage area.

They lost 48-0 to an upstart team in Currituck and followed it last week with a 61-0 loss to an always-dominant Northeastern team. Regardless of how Camden lost those games, it’s not a big surprise to have lost to those two schools at all.

So far, the biggest impact on the season for Blood’s group has been youth.

“It’s inexperience for sure,” he said. “We got three or four sophomores starting on offense and we’ve got kids who are really new to football, relatively speaking. We’ve played some great competition. Those two things in combination have definitely hurt us so far this year.”

With that said, there are players moving forward through the rest of this year and the next couple years that bodes well for the Bruins moving forward.

Blood mentioned sophomores Jayden Walton and Justin Noon as being two young standouts on the team. Walton starts on both the offensive line and defensive line, while Noon has been active as a running back and safety.

“I’ve seen awesome effort from all these kids,” Blood said. “It’s just the competition was a little more than we could handle at the moment.”

Pasquotank has been going through much of the same, albeit the Panthers have a little more experience on their roster than the Bruins.

But Pasquotank also played two of their three games against solid football programs in SouthWest Edgecombe and John A. Holmes. Just like Camden, those are two difficult matchups to begin the season with for the Panthers.

A trend that Pasquotank coach RaShawn Spencer, who was unable to be reached for comment in time, would like to see end is the turnover bug that the Panthers especially had in their two losses.

Senior quarterback Jonathan Lamberson, who sat out most of last year with injury, was picked off three times by SouthWest Edgecombe. Against John A. Holmes, the Panthers lost four fumbles all in the first half.

Limiting the turnovers could go a long way for Pasquotank as they have the experience to move the ball down the field. In the win against Northwest Halifax, senior Sam Bingham ran for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

Fellow senior Jaquan Smith ran for 71 yards in that one as those two have been a major part of the Panther offense so far this season.

For Camden, despite the bad start, there’s still optimism within the program. Before the year began, Blood talked about how excited he was with the notion that everyone was buying into this season.

Because of that, he’s had hopes of winning more than just one game this year. It’s a stance he hasn’t wavered on just yet.

“I don’t really change my stance from (media day),” Blood said. “We can’t expect to go from 1-10 to 10-1. It’s a slow process, but with these young guys who work really hard, I still feel confident about where this team is at.”

For Camden’s best game so far, whether it’s a win or loss, Blood acknowledged it comes down to just executing the fundamentals.

“We need to tackle and we need to block,” he said. “We haven’t done a good job of either thing yet this year and I think we will. Overall, if we’re able to run the ball and have one or two breakaway runs, and stop (Pasquotank) from getting outside on us, we’ll be fine.”

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