By VAN HOLLAND
As week four of the high school football season approaches, nothing gets any easier for the Edgecombe County teams. The big and highly anticipated county rivalry game between Tarboro and SouthWest has arrived. North Edgecombe also has some business to tend to when they travel to play Southeast Halifax.
A few things have changed since last year's game, including the new Cobb that is in charge of the Cougars program now, but the respect the coaches, Jonathan Cobb and Jeff Craddock have for each other remain the top of the line.
Tarboro blitzed by the Cougars last year 43-22 in conference action. This year's matchup doesn't have as much meaning as far as conference goes, because the two teams are in separate conferences, but it has a lot of meaning when it comes to county bragging rights. This will be the first time in nine years that the two teams are in different conferences.
The function at the junction has been one for the ages the last several years. The last time Tarboro traveled to Pinetops, they had a superstar running back named Todd Gurley and they were en-route to winning their third straight 2-A state title.
That has all changed, because this year, Tarboro doesn't have that outstanding player who sticks out like a sour thumb, but they do have some sore players on the team who won't be able to play.
Running backs Deshan Farmer, Julian Lee and Jerod Bennett will all be on the sideline in street clothes because of injuries.
They do have senior running back Radja Bobbitt though. The stocky back has been the leader for the Vikings this season and has scored at least two touchdowns in every game so far and has rushed over 100 yards in each contest.
SouthWest does have a superstar that is energizing their offensive attack. Junior fullback Devontrell Hyman has been the catalyst this year for SouthWest. He has rushed for over 400 yards and has scored six touchdowns. He had another stellar performance last week when the Cougars beat the Greene Central Rams 28-7.
Another coincidence the two teams have are similar likings to is the amount of penalties they had called on them last week.
SouthWest had seven holding penalties called against them in the second half alone, which negated three TDs and stalled three drives inside the Rams' 20-yard line. Tarboro was called for eight penalties and had trouble controlling their tempers against Northern Nash and were tagged for numerous unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
After the game last week, Craddock said he was sick because of the amount of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties his team had called against them. He said that is something they were going to work on this week in practice and clean it up because that isn't Tarboro football.
Cobb echoed him, as he wasn't pleased with the three TDs his team had called back because of holding penalties.
This week's matchup between the two is the difference in becoming a 2-2 team compared to a 3-1 team.
North Edgecombe is looking for a little revenge against the Southeast Halifax Trojans and they want to bounce back from a terrible 54-14 loss to SouthWest two weeks ago.
Southeast defeated North Edgecombe 14-0 last season. This year will be different, because the two teams aren't in the same conference this season and North Edgecombe has some young, aggressive players who want to win.
The Warriors are sitting at 1-1 right now and are coming off of a bye week where they had time to rest and work on some of the mistakes that coach Keith Parisher saw that he wanted fixed.
Over the past two weeks, the Warriors have been working on defense. Parisher said after the SouthWest game that they were still moving players around trying to figure out who fit in what position best for the team.
After that game, he was pleased with his team's offensive performance,but said they were still young and had some growing to do.
Antwoine Pittman and Jarius Collins have been instrumental for the Warriors out of the backfield this season thus far. They have carried the load. They will have to gain some big yards for North Edgecombe Friday and the defense will have to play up to Parisher's expectations for them to be successful.