The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 16, 2013

Vikings win ‘Function at the junction’


TARBORO — The Tarboro Vikings held the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars to just 106 yards of total offense Friday and shut down their rushing attack, which was spectacular during the previous two games.

Tarboro (3-1) won 14-0 and it was their fourth straight win against the Cougars.

"We did a great job up front all night," Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock said. "I couldn't be more proud of our defense, because I knew they had some big playmakers that if they got into the open field then they could score."

Cougars (2-2) coach Jonathan Cobb was amazed at the way the Tarboro defense shut them down, because he kept eyeing his offensive play chart all game and couldn't find a play on the ground or in the air that would work for them.

"I felt like we threw everything I had offensively at them," Cobb said. "They stopped it all and it didn't really matter what we called, because they had an answer."

On the offensive side of the ball, Tarboro had trouble early on keeping a grip on the football. On their second play from scrimmage, senior running back Radja Bobbitt coughed up the football for their first turnover of the game. Then with 20 seconds left before halftime, Bobbitt lost the ball again.

It didn't take long for him to make up for the mistakes, because he was able to score two touchdowns for the Vikings. The first one came with 2:54 left before halftime. He hit it up the middle from seven yards out. Then on Tarboro's first possession of the second half, after a 35 yard kickoff return by Malcolm Speller, Bobbitt got outside on the Vikings sideline and was able to punch it in from 41 yards out to give Tarboro a 14-0 lead.

"I came into the game feeling shaky and sick," Bobbitt said. "I knew I had to step up and be a leader though and help my team win."

Bobbitt led the Vikings with 148 yards on 22 carries, which was over half of the Vikings 272 yards of offense. Bobbitt has rushed for over 100 yards in each of their  four games this season and has been their spark plug when they needed a big play. He has stepped it up and found a way to get it done. He has turned into the superstar that Tarboro didn't have stick out early in the season.

"I just continue to work hard every week," Bobbitt said. "I listen to my coaches and try to help my teammates get the job done."

Tarboro continued to shot their self in the foot with penalties again. They had two back to back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called against them in the fourth quarter. In the first quarter they also had a touchdown called back when Tobias Pittman connected with Rayvontay Braswell for 26 yards, but a chop block was called which negated that TD.

"We keep getting penalties called against us, but we continued to fight back and found a way to make things happen," Bobbitt said.

Craddock thinks his team is getting better and better each week, but his concerns are them fumbling the ball and the penalties.

"I am about sick and tired of these penalties that we are getting called against us," Craddock said. "I had tried to get these kids to settle down because we were going through adversity so here it was after a great touchdown catch we get a penalty called and we have to start over again."

With everyone injured for the Vikings, Craddock made an offensive move Monday. He put junior Markese Clapp at fullback and he was able to give the Vikings some big yards on crucial situations. He carried the ball nine times for 43 yards and was able to get the Vikings some crucial first downs when they needed a big play.

"We are always tinkering and I wasn't pleased with the overall fullback production," Craddock said. "He has been working there at practice, but we just hadn't quite got him ready but I told him Monday he was going to be starting."

Cobb said he now has to regroup and go back to see what they need to work on to get ready for Rocky Mount.

"There is a lot of things we work on each week and in practice it is fine, but we get out here on the game field against an opponent we don't do it," Cobb said. "We will get back to work this week and prepare for another tough non-conference opponent."

Tarboro will host Roanoke Rapids and SouthWest will travel to Rocky Mount Friday.