The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


November 21, 2013

Tarboro ready for 2nd-round challenge

TARBORO — Tarboro has completed the first step in their five step journey to win another NCHSAA state championship. This time it will be in the 1-AA classification.

The No. 1 seeded Vikings are playing their best football of the season especially on the defensive side of the ball. They have defeated their last six opponents by 49 plus points and are averaging 54 plus points per game.

They are coming off of a 52-0 blowout against Spring Creek and will host No. 4 seed Camden County Friday in the second round of the playoffs. The Bruins advanced to the second round after they defeated East Carteret 48-45 in overtime.

"We have to clean up all of our mistakes," Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock said. "We have to continue to play the way we've been on both sides of the ball and if we do that then we could win every game.

"This is the time of the year when you have to play good football, because one bad game then it's over with," Craddock said. "There's a small limited window of opportunity to play a better game then what we did last Friday."

Tarboro held Spring Creek to just 71 yards of total offense in the blowout victory and for Tarboro to win this week, they are going to have to stop Camden County's triple threat option, which is quarterback Noah Tuttle, halfback Jamar Cowell and fullback Marcus Joyner.

Tuttle has thrown for 710 yards on 49 of 119 passing attempts this season. He has thrown for nine touchdowns and has thrown nine interceptions. Joyner has run for 477 yards on 94 attempts and has scored seven times.

"The quarterback will keep the ball and run at times," Craddock said. "Their fullback runs hard and blocks well."

The main Bruin the Vikings have to keep an eye on is Cowell. He has rushed for 1,411 yards on 170 attempts and has scored 15 times.

"Their halfback is quick and they give him the ball on toss sweeps," Craddock said. "They will also use him in the triple option. He is fast and can scoot. He's a good player and we have to be careful to not let him get big plays."

Tarboro will get senior Tobias Pittman back this week. He has missed the last three weeks with a knee injury. He won't be at quarterback though, because Craddock feels comfortable with the setup that is back there right now, because he feels like his offense is flowing smoothly. Pittman will be the backup quarterback this week and will play some defensive end.

"I can't imagine teams having a better backup quarterback then what I have now that Tobias is back," Craddock said. "I'm really happy for him, because he gets to come back this week and play some more football as a senior. His roll has changed, but as a coach you have to make those types of decisions sometimes."

Craddock is liking the progress his offense has made since Loody Hinton has been under center and didn't want to upset that type of balance.

"I think Loody has done a great job for us," Craddock said. "He has been brought along slowly and last week we saw that what we've been working on behind the scenes has helped to open up our offense."

Radja Bobbitt continues to carry the load for the Vikings offense. He has rushed for  1,507 yards and has scored 27 times this year on 180 rushes.

Bobbitt scored three times last week and rushed for 111 yards, while junior Deshan Farmer added 54 yards on the ground and scored twice.

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