By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
SCOTLAND NECK —
LEGGETT – The ultimate goal for Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock is to get his Vikings better by the week heading into the playoffs. He saw signs of a what could be a great team by the end of the season before his eyes Friday night even though there are still things that need to be corrected.
Tarboro pitched their fifth shutout in the season finale when they thumped county and Two Rivers rival North Edgecombe 47-0.
Tarboro's defense held the Warriors (5-5, 2-3) to just 86 total yards of offense and the Vikings (9-2, 5-0) exploded for 408 yards of their own. The Vikings rushed for 345 yards and threw for 63 more. They had six players score a touchdown, five rushing and one catch, and seven players who rushed for over 20 yards.
"I thought we came out here and did exactly what we were suppose to do," Craddock said. "We were coming off a great week of practice with some real intense work."
Tarboro put the game away early on when they scored 34 points in the first half. The second quarter was the big quarter for them. In a 10 minute period, the Vikings scored four times to take a 34-0 lead at halftime.
Sophomore quarterback Loody Hinton scored the first TD of the game on a 19-yard run and capped the scoring off in the second quarter with an 18-yard TD strike to Ravontya Braswell with 1:22 left before halftime. Deshan Framer, Rayshawn Battle and Radja Bobbitt also added scores in the first half.
"We stayed focused the entire game and our offense moved the ball well," Craddock said. "I think we're playing well at the time of the season when we should be."
The thing that impressed Craddock was his defense. They have held each of their conference opponents to an average of seven points per game. The defense has been outstanding and hasn't allowed their last five opponents to gain over 150 yards in a game.
North Edgecombe was no different. They had just three plays to go over 10 yards and two of them were runs. They were held to just seven first downs and turned the ball over twice – a fumble and interception.
"We made some mistakes that hurt us on offense," Warriors coach Keith Parisher said. "We couldn't get anything going."
The Warriors were playing without sophomore running back Antwoin Pittman, who is nursing a bruised shoulder. They looked to sophomore Jarius Collins to give them positive production, but he was denied by the stingy Tarboro defense. He couldn't get it going like he did a week ago when he rushed for 229 yards. He was able to gain just 40 yards.
"Our defense is really coming together," Craddock said. "That's what it takes to make deep playoff runs. We have to keep teams out of the end zone and score a lot of points."
Parisher was pleased with his defense's second half performance when they held Tarboro to just two scores.
"I was pleased to see our defense not quit in the second half," Parisher said. "We came out and played hard and that's what I have been looking for."
Tarboro earned the No. 1 seed in the 1-AA East bracket and will host Spring Creek Friday, while North Edgecombe was pegged the No. 3 seed in the 1-A Mideast bracket. They will host East Columbus Friday.