With half of the season already gone in high school football, all three local teams are coming down to crunch time in conference action with big games still ahead for them.
There is a three way tie for first place in the Eastern Plains Conference between the Tarboro Viking, SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars and the Beddingfield Bruins.
The SouthWest Cougars travels to Beddingfield tonight to play the Bruins with both teams sitting at 2-0.
Last year, the Cougars defeated the Bruins 43-20.
This year won't be a simple task for the Cougars though, because the Bruins are 4-2 overall and they are scoring an average of 31 points per game. They are also allowing 31 plus points per game to their opponents. The Bruins defeated the Kiston Vikings 31-12 last week which was a week after the Cougars defeated Kinston in a barn burner 56-49.
The Cougars are averaging 31 points per game in scoring and will have to put some long extensive drives together to be able to come out ahead.
Cougars head coach Raymond Cobb is well known for putting long extensive drives together. Cobb's team is averaging seven to nine plays per drive during the season. They have put several 15 play drives together and have chewed off as much as eight minutes off the clock during a drive in a game this season.
The Cougars offense is starting to come to form. Senior running back Gerald Hinton has been the main spark for the Cougars this season, but sophomore Barry Smith has come on as of late and added a punch to the offense.
Hinton has rushed for 763 yards on 100 carries this season and has scored 11 touchdowns. Smith has gained 276 yards on 46 carries and has scored four TDs.
The Cougars starting fullback Devante Williams and tight end Anthony Coley didn't play last week against Farmville Central due to injuries. They should be back in the lineup tonight at full strength.
Cobb was pleased with the way his defense played last week, when they gave up only 14 points. The Cougars defensive starters didn't allow a point.
Cobb said he knew his team had to work hard this week. He knows that Beddingfield is a good football team and is expecting a tough fought game between the two.
The Tarboro Vikings are coming off of a bye week where they worked strictly on defense last week on their off week. The Vikings defense has had problems all year with rapping up defensively and making the tackles. Head coach Jeff Craddock has made several changes to fine tune his defense and is expecting his team to come out fresh against the Greene Central Rams tonight and hopefully dominate from the very beginning of the game.
Tarboro's offense has been clicking on all cylinders the last several weeks, behind stellar performances from Quentin Roberson, Radja Bobbitt and Travonne Marshall.
Roberson has gained 716 yards on 61 carries this season and has scored 10 TDs, while Bobbitt has gained 442 yards on 61 carries and has scored six times. Marshall has been an impact player on both sides of the ball, but has been instrumental offensively as well. He has gained 374 yards on just 35 carries and has scored four times. Marshall's biggest impact has come on defense when he was moved to inside linebacker two weeks ago and with a healthy Saiid Murphy back at linebacker then the Vikings will be able to be stronger up the middle.
The North Edgecombe Warriors are coming off of a good hard fought victory, when they defeated the Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars Monday night 42-6 in Leggett.
Head coach Keith Parisher's team had been scoreless in their last eight quarters of play coming into the game, where they gained 365 yards on the ground.
The Warriors defense stepped up and played some the best football they have played all season in the second half. They held the Jaguars to only 175 yards of total offense.
Tonight's test isn't going to be an easy one for North Edgecombe. They are traveling to play Northampton County. Northampton County has a running back that has been their big spark all season and Parisher knows if his team is going to come out victorious they will have to stop him.
Parisher has been studying film of Northampton all week and knows the keys to winning tonight.
"We have to stop their running back from making big plays," Parisher said. "If we can stop him we will use that to our advantage and be able to score on their mistakes."
Parisher made a big impact move two weeks ago when he got senior fullback Darius Phillips back from an injury. When Phillips came back two weeks ago, Parisher moved freshman Antoine Pittman to the running back slot. He made a big impact Monday in his first full game there. Pittman rushed for 126 yards and scored four TDs on just 12 carries. Pittman has been the go to horse all season for the Warriors and hasn't let them down yet.