It was the last time two great friends would meet on the field and coach against each other in a SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars and Tarboro Vikings rivalry and Vikings head coach Jeff Craddock and his team got the best of his friend Raymond Cobb and his Cougars team.
Big plays by the Vikings offense and defense and missed opportunities by the Cougars Friday night were main contributing factors to Tarboro defeating the Cougars 43-22 in Eastern Plains Conference action. Tarboro remains undefeated 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference while the Cougars fall to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
"Any time you can beat a team with the caliber of SouthWest it is big," Craddock said. "We are just one step closer to our ultimate goal which is staying undefeated in the conference. They are good team with great coaches and are a very well respected program. Just to play like we did makes me thrilled to get this win."
Craddock had said all season he didn't think he had a great team, but they were good. His team answered the question Friday, when they shut down the Cougars offensive attack and held them to just 211 yards of total offense.
Craddock said to win the game like they did shows that his team can be a great football team if they play up to their potential and he has known that from day one. His team just had to come out and prove to him that they were capable of beating a big time program like SouthWest.
Another factor for the Vikings controlling the Cougars was the time of possession. Tarboro had the football for over 29 minutes and SouthWest controlled the ball only 18 minutes. That was the second week in a row that the Cougars weren't able to control the ball more then their opponents and both times resulted in defeat.
"We didn't execute and they were a lot better then us," Cobb said. "Tarboro proved that they are the best team in this conference hands down."
Tarboro's offense responded just as big as the defense did. They collected 319 yards of offense and had four different players to score for them.
Quarterback Aaron Moore and their back field trio of Travonne Marshall, Quentin Roberson and Radja Bobbitt each scored. Moore led all rushers with 118 yards on just six carries, while Bobbitt had 65 yards on 10 carries.
"Tarboro is a heck of a football team," Cobb said. "They beat us in every phase of the game. The kicked us around."
Cobb went on to say this is the best Tarboro football team he has seen in quite a while. They are talented all over the field.
Tarboro's defense kept the Cougars star running back Gerald Hinton contained the entire game except for the two touchdown runs he had. Hinton rushed for only 60 yards on 14 carries.
Tarboro controlled the football the majority of the game and kept the Cougars offense on the sideline, which was a key that Vikings head coach Jeff Craddock knew was big for them to be successful.
Tarboro exploded in the second quarter when they put up 22 points and tried to put the game away, but the Cougars answered back, but in the third quarter Tarboro responded with a TD and put it away.
Bobbitt scored on a 5-yard pass from Moore and Roberson added the two-point conversion to put Tarboro up 14-0. Two minutes later, Marshall scored on a 2-yard TD run and Bobbitt added the two-point conversion to give Tarboro a 22-0 lead with 9:09 left before halftime.
Hinton answered back for the Cougars on a 3-yard TD run and he added the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 22-8.
That didn't last long though, because with 5:23 left before halftime, Bobbitt scored again on a 2-yard run to extend the Vikings lead to 28-8, but Hinton answered right back for the Cougars with 33 second left before halftime when he scored his second TD of the game from 26-yards out. Tarboro led 28-14 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Moore scored on a 14-yard run and Roberson added the two-point conversion to blow the lead open to 36-14 and Bobbitt scored again when returned a punt 65-yards to give Tarboro a 43-14 lead.
Devontrell Hyman punched it in for the Cougars from 1-yard out and Isaiah Lewis added the two-point conversion to end the scoring.
Craddock said his team still needed to work on putting teams away, because they are letting too many teams hang around.
"We look great in spurts and then we just sit back on our heels," Craddock said. "We don't continue to play to our potential the entire game and we have to fix that."
Craddock wants his team to clean up the mental mistakes that they continue to make and the penalties that they continue to get called on them each week.
Cobb knows his team will be able to regroup and fight back from this tough lose.
"We have some good kids that will bounce back and be ready for practice this week," Cobb said. "We have a big game Friday and it will be senior night so we need to go out with a win."
SouthWest will host Greene Central Friday, while Tarboro will be on the road at Farmville Central.