By VAN HOLLAND
Tarboro came into Friday's game against the Riverside Knights knowing what was at stake. First place in the Two Rivers Conference. Tarboro showed up on defense, holding the Knights to just 117 yards and the Vikings were able to pitch another shut out 48-0. The win proved who the better team in the conference was between the two and the shutout was the Vikings (7-2, 3-0) third of the season.
"Our defense read their keys well and they were just dialed in," Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock said. "They want to get back to hitting shutouts. They just really want it. When there is a challenge out there, they really get focused. Knowing they've been lighting up the scoreboard. They just want to make a statement that our defense is pretty good."
With the defense making the statement they did, causing five turnovers, with three of them being interceptions, the offense shined at times, but at other times they forgot how to hold onto the football. Tarboro fumbled seven times and four resulted in turnovers.
"We can get away with fumbling that many times on certain nights," Craddock said. "But in big time games your going to lose. So we have to figure out a way to tighten it up."
Loody Hinton shined on both sides of the ball. He rushed for 90 yards on just four carries and scored two touchdowns. One came on a 62-yard run, on what turned out to be a broken play.
"I thought it was '12 keep' because that's what I'm use to running, but they called '13 keep'," Hinton said. "I turned a busted play into a good one."
Hinton also had an interception in the second quarter and returned it 33-yards, which gave the Vikings great field position to set up their third score of the game.
"Loody is a great athlete and has a lot of potential," Craddock said. "He can make plays and the more we can use him we are getting some runs at quarterback with him. He played a great game at defensive back. That's because he breaks on the ball well."
Radja Bobbitt led the Vikings with 118 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 40 and six yards, while Rayshawn Battle added 73 yards and three TDs. Battle scored on runs of 39, 12 and three.
Craddock was pleased with the production from his backs and with the way they were faking, especially heading into the final three minutes of the half when the defense and special teams went to work and got Tarboro the ball back and gave them two extra chances to score.
Leading just 7-0 with 2:41 left before halftime, Tarboro added their second score when Bobbitt went in from 40-yards out to give them a 13-0 lead. Then Hinton made the interception, which set up Battle's 12-yard run out of the WIldcat.
The Vikings caught another break on the ensuing kickoff when Riverside fumbled the ball and Tarboro recovered it at the 45-yard line. Six plays later, Hinton scored from 16 yards out to give Tarboro a 27-0 cushion at the half.
"Not sure if it's because we are playing at home, but sometimes we get a spurt where we just kinda put a team away," Craddock said. "We gave them a different look towards the end of the half and went down the field and scored."
Tarboro can keep that spurt alive, because they are back home Friday when they host Northampton, who is tied in second place with Riverside after they defeated North Edgecombe.