The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


November 18, 2013

Vikings defense superb in 52-0 rout

TARBORO — Tarboro has one objective that requires five steps – win the first four rounds of the 1-AA NCHSAA state playoffs to make it back to the state championship game and win the title.

The No. 1 seeded Vikings played near perfect Friday night when they completed step one and blew out No. 8 seed Spring Creek 52-0 in the first round.

"I thought we played well," Tarboro Coach Jeff Craddock said. "We don't take any team for granted. We've worked very hard to get to this point and to win like this at home is good."

Tarboro's defense played superb and held Spring Creek to just 71 yards and only allowed them to gain one yard in the second half. The Vikings offense piled up 346 yards and scored points on every offensive possession, including a 32-yard field goal by freshman Dawson Harris that capped off the scoring.

"I thought we did a lot of special things on both sides of the ball, especially defense," Craddock said. "We looked good on offense and our line did a good job blocking for us. We are starting to do some different things on offense now."

Tarboro's defense was all over the place. They physically stopped the Gators' run game with big hits and also had three interceptions. The first interception came on the fourth play of the game when senior Rayshawn Battle picked off Spring Creek quarterback DeOntre Hammonds and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown and Tarboro led 6-0. The score fired up the Vikings sideline, because on the ensuing Spring Creek possession, the Vikings defense forced the Gators to punt on a four-and-out possession.

On Tarboro's first offensive possession, they put together a 13 play drive that covered 67 yards and was capped off by sophomore quarterback Loody Hinton connecting with tight end Keitheon Battle on a 22-yard strike. Hinton added the two-point conversion and Tarboro led 14-0. Hinton completed 3 of 4 passes for 61 yards.

"Loody has had some practice time under center and it shows," Craddock said. "He is fitting in well with our offense now."

The Vikings defense continued to work its magic. Spring Creek couldn't get any type of momentum going on offense. They were only able to get four first downs and had just three plays over 10 yards. Hinton and Malcolm Speller added an interception apiece. Hinton took his interception back 75 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back for a block in the back penalty.

"Holding a team to less than 100 yards is saying something about our defense," Craddock said. "It shows that we are playing real good defense and we have done that a couple other times this season."

The penalty didn't hurt though, because the Vikings took a 7 play drive and capped it off with a two-yard run by senior running back Radja Bobbitt. He rushed for a game-high 111 yards and scored three touchdowns. Junior Deshan Farmer added 54 yards on four touches and scored twice on runs of 41 and four yards.

"We are moving the ball well right now, but our backs have to learn to hold onto the ball," Craddock said referring to the two fumbles that Tarboro committed, but recovered. "They have to do what they're coached to do...that's hold onto it."

Tarboro is averaging a winning margin of 49 plus points per game over their last six contests and they are averaging scoring 54.3 points per game.

The Vikings will be back at home Friday when they host Camden County in the second round. Camden County defeated East Carteret 48-45 in the first round.

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