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Knights, Aces clash for regular season finale

Game postponed from September

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Currituck junior Jayden Calloway (with ball) has been the Knights' quarterback for most of the season.

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Currituck football is having its best season in five years.

The Knights are 7-3 (3-2 Northeastern Coastal) going into tonight’s non-conference and regular season finale against John A. Holmes. The game was originally scheduled to be played in September, but it was postponed due to possible impact of Hurricane Florence.

It’s the first time Currituck has achieved a winning record since 2013, when the Knights went 11-3 and made an appearance in the third round of the 2AA NCHSAA playoffs.

Five years later and they’ve made their case to be back in the state playoffs this season.

“(This season) went about as well as we expected or could’ve hoped for,” Currituck interim coach Paul Bossi said. “We were really hoping for that seven-win season. One more game left, hopefully we can get number eight.”

An eighth win in 11 regular season games will be a tough task for the Knights as John A. Holmes comes to Barco with a 9-1 record (5-0 Albemarle Athletic).

Not to mention, it’s also been eight years since Currituck has defeated the Aces. In what was a then-Northeastern Coastal Conference matchup in Barco, the Knights crushed the Aces 52-12.

Both teams only managed three wins each that season.

Since then, John A. Holmes has dominated the series as it has evolved into a non-conference game the last couple years.

The Aces have gone on to finish the regular season with a winning record every year since 2010 and make a couple deep postseason runs at both the 2A and 1A levels.

After a dominant undefeated conference season, John A. Holmes will be looking for yet another deep run when the playoffs begin next week.

“Hopefully, we can just continue to grow and get better as the playoffs approach,” fourth-year John A. Holmes coach Paul Hoggard said.

The only slip-up the Aces had this season was a home loss to the eventual undefeated NCC-champion Northeastern.

Currituck also fell victim to the Eagles a couple weeks later, but if anything Bossi called it a “moral victory” as the Knights were just a play or two away in the fourth quarter from upsetting its conference rival.

Currituck’s defense is what kept them in that game as it gave up just 23 points to Northeastern, its lowest amount of the season.

The Knights defense will have maybe its biggest challenge of the year since that October 12 game, considering the offensive threat that John A. Holmes is.

The Aces’ running game has racked up 3,664 yards in 10 games this season. Most of that has come from junior running back Mitjonta Stanley, who has rushed for 2,192 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Behind him is senior Nakevin Hill with 541 yards on the ground and senior quarterback Kentreaz Coston with 403 rushing yards.

“Our defense is our backbone, so they have to come to play ball,” Bossi said. “We have to contain and keep their speed inside in order to win this game. If they get outside of us, we’re dead.”

Bossi noted that the Aces aren’t that big, but their speed and toughness make John A. Holmes an amazing offense.

Currituck will rely on junior quarterback Jayden Calloway on the offensive side of the ball like it has for most of the season. Calloway has the ability to find the end zone any time he touches the ball.

The Knights have also relied often on handing the ball off to sophomore running back Traveon Powell this season.

For John A. Holmes to clinch a 10-win regular season tonight for a second consecutive year, Hoggard acknowledges his team will have to play hard because Currituck likely won’t beat itself.

“We’ll have to match (Currituck’s) intensity level,” Hoggard said. “Currituck is a hard place to play at. We’ll have to play well to have a chance to win.”

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