The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 5, 2013

Cougars, Vikings looking for second win


Sports Correspondent

TARBORO — SouthWest Edgecombe and Tarboro are playing for the same thing Friday night, their second win of the season. For that to happen, SouthWest needs a repeat performance like they had against North Edgecombe and Tarboro has to play better then what they did Friday night at Washington.

SouthWest had a convincing 54-14 win and earned Jonathan Cobb his first varsity win last week, but this week isn't going to be as easy looking at the game on paper. Cobb knows his defense has to be in good conditioned shape and has to play with some mental toughness, because they are facing a fast paced offense.

SouthWest will host the Greene Central Rams Friday. Last year, SouthWest defeated the Rams 52-6, but this year is a different story.

The Rams are 0-2 and are averaging 17 points a game, but they possess a quick paced offense and run their offense out of the spread formation. The Cougars are going to try and stop the Rams with mainly their 4-3 base defense.

"It's basically about knowing your opponent to be successful," Cobb said. "Our guys have to come out ready to play, because they (Rams) are going to play fast. We have to be ready every play."

Greene Central will throw a mixture of plays at the Cougars defense. They will run some trap plays on the ground and use some screen passing plays to try and get some yards from that.

"We have to stay low on defense and have to come off the ball faster," Cobb said. "We did a better job last week defensively, but this week will be a bigger test."

Offensively, Cobb was impressed last week. He has seen improvement in his offense each week and thinks they will do nothing but get better, especially after a 400-plus yard performance.

"Our offense had a good game last week," Cobb said. "We are improving each day and I was pleased with what I saw a week ago."

One of the main attractions Cobb was pleased with was Devontrell Hyman. He rushed for 186 yards on just five carries and scored four touchdowns.

Cobb wants his team to come out fired up from the outset and play an entire four quarters.

Tarboro Vikings coach Jeff Craddock said to be successful this week against Northern Nash, they have to do a better job of executing on both sides of the ball  even though they are going to be short handed.

Tarboro will host their first home game of the season and they will be without four of their two-way starters. Deshan Farmer, Julian Lee and Adam Tillery will be sidelined this week. Farmer and Lee will be out of the Vikings lineup for an extended period of time, because of major injuries. Farmer went down with a wrist injury and Lee has a shoulder injury. Tillery has concussion like symptoms and Carrington Davis will also be unavailable.

Quarterback Tobias Pittman and defensive end Markese Clapp will be back in uniform this week for the Vikings after missing Friday's game. They were suspended for disciplinary reasons by Craddock last week, just hours before the game.

Najee Brown stepped in at the QB spot and filled Pittman's voided. Brown did his job under center and Craddock was pleased with that.

The game plan stays the same for the Vikings, even though they are missing those players. They have to execute against their opponents and make the plays on both  sides of the ball.

"We have to do a better job of eliminating penalties and turning the ball over on offense," Craddock said. "Defensively we have to make tackles. If we do those two things well we usually play pretty well."

If Tarboro doesn't do those things the right way, then it puts them in bad situations most of the time. Just like they did against Washington. Tarboro missed a lot of open field tackles that gave Washington extra yards. They had players in the right spots at the right times to make the plays, but they just didn't make them.

"It's frustrating knowing these guys have been coached to do the right thing," Craddock said. "With some of the better athletes they need to make those plays."

Craddock said when his players are on the field he expects them to make the plays. He wants them to man up and do their job.

"One game we looked like a pretty good football team and the other we didn't look so good," Craddock said. "I guess that's part of high school football. You have some ups and some setbacks and it's our job to focus on the next opponent regardless of the outcome."

That is what Tarboro has done this week, focused on Northern Nash. Tarboro defeated Northern Nash last year 47-35. Craddock is hoping it isn't that close this year. For that to happen, they have to do the key things and make the plays.

"We have to block better and make the plays on defense," Craddock said. "Everything has to get better for us to become a good team."

Craddock said if they sustain their blocks better on the line and do a better job of faking then the offense will come together. The offense has been there for Tarboro, but penalties have negated three touchdowns for them.

"When you have big plays and you get called for penalties then those are drive killers," Craddock said. "When you fumble and give teams an extra possession that hurts as well."

In the past Tarboro has been able to blanket some of those mistakes up and use it to their advantage. With them being thin in talent now, they have to eliminate those mistakes.