The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Sports

November 14, 2013

Win or go home

Edgecombe teams ready for playoff openers

TARBORO — Playoff time has arrived for high school teams across the state. Tarboro and North Edgecombe earned home games in the first round, while SouthWest Edgecombe hits the road on a three hour journey westward to play the No. 1 seeded team in the 2-AA East bracket.

No. 1 Tarboro vs. No. 8 Spring Creek

Tarboro plays a Spring Creek team who is 3-8 and is making the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. This is the most wins Spring Creek has had since 2005 and they lack depth in the athletic ability.

The Gators like to run the flex-bone and triple option offense. They are led by junior quarterback Tre Hammonds, who apparently by the numbers is the best athlete on the team. He has rushed for 800 yards and scored six touchdowns on 124 carries. He is 31 for 79 passing and has thrown for 497 yards and seven TDs and eight interceptions.

"Their quarterback is pretty good," Tarboro Coach Jeff Craddock said. "He is quick and we have to make sure we do a good job on him. He has a good receiver who we can't let get away from us."

The Gators are averaging just 19.9 points per game and are allowing their opponents to score 38.2 points per game.

Tarboro has rushed for 3,659 yards as a team and senior running back Radja Bobbitt has contributed 1,382 of those yards and has scored 24 times. Rayshawn Battle has added 482 yards and scored seven times this season.

The part that has been a concern was the 23 fumbles that Tarboro committed this year. They had nine in one game, but by the overall numbers on paper, Tarboro will run over their opponent Friday night, but Craddock isn't taking them lightly.

"We're always concerned no matter who we're playing," Craddock said. "On any given day, any given team can be beat."

Tarboro has continued to work on themselves this week to get better heading into the playoffs.

"We always work on our fundamentals and we cleaned up a couple of areas," Craddock said. "Key reads on defense, holding onto the football and blocking are the big three."

No. 3 seed North Edgecombe vs. No. 6 seed East Columbus

The Warriors will hold the key to their success Friday when East Columbus comes to Leggett for the first round of the 1-A playoffs.

East Columbus is 4-6 and has two backs that carry the ball most of the time. They  will spread the field and run some trips formations.

"They have a couple of big backs," Parisher said. "No. 34 is their big power back and No. 7 is their speed back and he looks good running to the outside."

If North Edgecombe can stop their running game, then the Warriors should be successful, because they get sophomores Antwoin Pittman and Jacoby Bullock back this week. Bullock will not be at quarterback, but will see time out of the backfield.

North Edgecombe can take advantage of an East Columbus' weakness that falls right in place with the Warriors offense – pound the middle of the defensive line with the fullback and hit the gaps hard. East Columbus blitzes a lot and if North Edgecombe can pick them up, they won't have a problem being successful  offensively by hitting big plays and gaining big yards.

"Our offense will be fine if we can pick up their blitzes," Parisher said. "The two games I watched...when their opponents picked up the blitz they moved the ball on them, but when they didn't they kind of stalled."

North Edgecombe has worked on faking out of the backfield this week and have moved defensive players around especially at defensive end.

"We want more strength at the defensive end side," Parisher said. "We did that to help us contain better."

No. 16 SouthWest Edgecombe vs. No. 1 T.W. Andrews

SouthWest Edgecombe has nothing to lose Friday night when they travel to play T.W. Andrews. Knowing that Andrews is a talented team, Cougars Coach Jonathan Cobb has a few tricks left up his sleeve heading into the first round.

The Cougars are facing a high powered team that possesses a lot of good athletes. They are stacked with talent and have beaten their opponents with ease since week two of the season. Andrews is scoring 49 points per game and holding their opponents to just nine points.

Cobb said he wants his team to try and control the football and clock.

"They are a great team, but we are going to try and control the game by using the clock to our advantage" Cobb said. "They move the ball well on the ground and through the air."

Cobb hopes his team can move the ball on the ground and through the air as well, but for that to happen, his offensive line has to do a good job upfront and make key blocks.

"We have to get off the football on offense," Cobb said. "If we move the ball on them we could make things happen."

Cobb wants his defense to recognize Andrews' formations, because they show numerous ones through their run and passing game.

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