WASHINGTON — The odds began working against the Tarboro Vikings from the outset of the second game of the season when the starting quarterback, Tobias Pittman and starting tight end Markesse Clapp, were suspended for violating team rules.
Washington's odds improved dramatically after Deshan Farmer, Julian Lee, and Rayshawn Battle left the game with major injuries. All three players start on offense and defense for Vikings.
Traveling to Washington, the 4-time state champions were the prohibited favorite to win. Only the Pam Pack faithful believed that they had a chance to beat the Vikings.
They were right.
The Pam Pack (1-1) pulled off a monumental upset by defeating the Vikings 20-14.
Although Tarboro Coach Jeff Craddock could have made plenty of excuses for the loss, he didn't make not one.
"We don't make excuses for Tarboro football," Craddock said. "We got beat by a very good Washington football team. The good news is that's only one game. It doesn't make our season."
For the first time in at least five years, the Vikings were held scoreless in the first half as they trailed 13-0. Untimely penalties, which caused one touchdown to be called back was perhaps one of the major problems. The Vikings also lost a couple of fumbles.
To make matters worse a botched punt gave the Pam Pack the ball on the Vikings 17-yard line. On the Pam Pack's first play Markel Spencer rumbled 17 yards for a touchdown. Christian Crompton added the extra point and the Pam Pack led 20-0.
At that juncture in the game, it may have appeared that the game was over for the Vikings. However, they rallied back behind Najee Brown who was thrust into the limelight to replace Pittman as quarterback, the most important role on the team. But it was Jerod Bennett who lit the fire for the Vikings with an 80 plus yard kick-off return to the 6-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Jerod Bennett capitalized on a 6 yard run for the Vikings first TD of the game.
Bobbit also ran in a 9 yard TD with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter to bring the Vikings to within striking distance. However, the Pam Pack offense proved to be too much as they made a first down and then ran out the clock and claimed the victory.
"I have to give credit to my guys. They did not give up," Craddock said. "We fought to the end. We faced some adversity. That's a good thing this early in the season. We will bounce back. This is just a minor setback."