The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 21, 2013

Jags no David to Vikes' Goliath


ROCKY MOUNT — ROCKY MOUNT — When the four-time state champion Tarboro Vikings, visited the second year football program, the Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars, Friday night, the newer program could only wish for a David versus Goliath type ending.

It didn't even come close to occurring.

The powerful Vikings (6-2, 2-0 conference) flexed their muscles from the beginning to the end and annihilated the Jaguars 78-22. The 78 points is one of the highest total in the school's history.

Tarboro won the game without its starting quarterback Tobias Pittman who is nursing a serious knee injury. The Vikings' second string quarterback Najee Brown, sat out with a broken wrist that he suffered against South Creek. Several other starters were also sidelined for various reasons.

Despite the missing starters nothing less than a lopsided victory would have been deemed acceptable by Vikings Coach Jeff Craddock. Craddock didn't quite enjoy the shellacking because it came against his friend, the Jaguars' head coach Don Reams. Reams was an assistant coach for the Vikings for many years. His offensive football knowledge is deeply rooted for some of the success of the Vikings' four championships.

Reams left the Vikings' camp three years ago to start the Jaguars' first football program. So far, building the program has been a struggle for Craddock's friend. The Jaguars have won only one game. That victory came this season against Kipp Pride (6-0).

Friday night, Reams more than likely knew many of the plays that Tarboro ran. His team just couldn't match the Vikings' athletic abilities.

Radja Bobbitt is one of the Vikings most dominate forces. Against the Jaguars, the senior running back led the Vikings with 8 carries for 97 yards and three touchdowns. His first touchdown, a 23-yarder on the Vikings' first possession, set the tone of the game. He also scored from 7 and 15 yards out.

Bobbitt, who is a candidate for the Two Rivers Player of the Year, has a total of 21 touchdowns this season, compared to 14 for the entire Jaguars' team. Due to the lopsided score, the Vikings superstar played sparingly in the second half.

With Bobbitt watching from the sideline, Rocky Mount Prep didn't have an answer for the Vikings second or the third string running backs either. Twelve backs combined to rush for 312 yards. J'Nail Johnson and Malcolm Speller, who have seen very limited time on the field, combined for 99 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, the Vikings' starters contained Reams' water bucket scheme offense. The water bucket uses a untraditional formation in an attempt to confuse the defense. Deshan Farmer emptied the Jaguars' water bucket when he intercepted a pass in the endzone and ran it back for a 100-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 54-0 lead at the end of the first half. Farmer's touchdown was perhaps the play of the game.    

Although the game was lopsided, the Jaguars' demeanor on the sideline and on the field didn't show it. Percy Harper ended the potential shutout with a 49-yard TD run and the Jaguars celebrated as if the game was close. The Jaguars also celebrated a goal-line-stand that stopped the Vikings second drive of the game. For the second half alone Tarboro scored 24 points compared to 22 to Rocky Mount Prep.

The Vikings' victory sets up a showdown between Tarboro and Williamston Riverside Friday night in Tarboro. With only two games remaining after Friday's contest, the winner will have the upper hand to win the Two River Conference title. Both teams are undefeated in the conference.