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Bless Your Hearts ECU administrators and trustees. Seems you have a champagne taste for athletics, but are stuck with a...

Rivals clash in Week Four action

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Ayden-Grifton's Michael Webb, left, during their game against Pamlico County on August 24, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, September 7, 2018

Week Four of the high school football season gives fans a couple of the first cross-county rivalries of the young season, highlighted by Farmville Central (1-2) traveling to Littlefield to take on Ayden-Grifton (1-2).

The game represents a potential turning point for both teams, as a loss and a 1-3 record could mean trouble to go along with the enemy having bragging rights for a year, while a win means a .500 record and a momentum shift in preparation for quickly approaching conference play.

FC’s offense has shown that it has the ability to move the ball quickly. At the helm of the Jags’ offense is sophomore quarterback Tavyon Suggs. He has had very little experience moving the ball through the air, as he has completed just seven of 12 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown so far this season. His specialty has been using his legs, and he is the team’s leading rusher, totaling 121 yards on a team-high 32 carries, scoring one touchdown. Suggs may have to hand off the ball slightly more against a fast and efficient A-G defense if he wants to lead his team to victory.

For the Chargers, running back Ray Darden will once again play a major role in the success or failure of the team. His impact offensively, and defensively as a linebacker, can help A-G gain momentum through big stops and breakaway runs. A-G has utilized the passing game slightly more than their Farmville-based rivals, and quarterback Blake McLawhorn has shown that he can utilize his arm when needed in order to gain big chunks of yardage. 

This year’s victor of the rivalry could be the one who can force the most three-and-outs by its opponent. Field position will be key for offenses who have at times started games slowly.

The game on paper looks like a push, but another strong performance from Darden, fellow running back Micheal Webb and a few third-down conversions via pass from McLawhorn could help A-G walk away with a big home victory in a tight, low-scoring contest.

Havelock (3-0) at J.H. Rose (3-0)

The Rampants are on a roll to begin their season. After taking down an undefeated Hunt team in a Monday game rescheduled due to weather, they regroup and move their focus to another undefeated team in an always strong Havelock squad. 

Havelock features two top commits, including one of the top defensive back recruits in North Carolina, safety Anthony Harris, who committed to the University of Tennessee, and four-star UNC commit and wide receiver Welton Spottsville.

Rose will have its hands full on both sides of the ball, as the Havelock defense continues to show how it can shut down opponents. Rampants wide receivers Wesley Shade, Jake Henry Rogers, Ben Harris and quarterback Grant Jarman will all have to work through a physical and talented defense in order to make plays. 

This game is loaded with talent that should and will play on Saturdays in the future, and one play may very well determine the winner. In the end, Havelock’s Harris could likely be the one creating the big play, ending Rose’s undefeated season.

North Pitt (0-2) at South Central (3-0)

North Pitt’s Week Two game with Greene Central went down as null and void in the history books, as weather forced coaches to abandon the idea of restarting the game which never reached halftime due to storms. As for South Central, its fourth-quarter comeback play against SouthWest Edgecombe has kept them in the rank of the unbeaten.

With an option-based offense, North Pitt looks to tire out the Falcons through an up-tempo pace and misdirection on every run. With ECU commit Jeremy Lewis playing along the SC defensive line, North Pitt will need to help devise other ways to stay away from 6-foot-3, 227-pound star.

The Panthers also hope to see the return of starting quarterback Alex Espinosa-Johnson. Johnson has been sidelined two weeks with a high-ankle sprain he received early in their loss to Kinston in Week Two. If Johnson is not fit to go, Izarion Blango will continue to lead the Panthers offense. 

South Central may look to get into a shootout with the Panthers offensively. What remains to be seen is who will be the Falcons’ starting quarterback? Starter Caleb Woodley suffered medical issues prior to the Falcons’ Week Two game, forcing backup Justin Humphries to step in and lead SC to a 38-22 win over West Craven. He performed again in their win over SouthWest Edgecombe, showing he could be ready to be the full-time starter. Head coach Andy Tew will have a decision between two talented quarterbacks once Woodley is deemed eligible to return.

South Central is the big favorite, especially at home. A combination of depth, passing and solid run-stopping should allow the Falcons to remain Pitt County’s last remaining undefeated team.

D.H. Conley (1-2) at East Wake (0-3)

DHC jumped into the win column after a late night-finish at Washington that was delayed by weather. The Vikings look to continue the trend as they head to visit the Warriors.

Wide receiver C.J. Johnson totaled four touchdowns in Week Three (three rushing, one receiving) and looks poised for another impressive showing this week. Johnson and the rest of the Vikings offense hold a clear advantage over the Warriors defense, which has a point differential of minus-54. Johnson, quarterback Nick Hamilton and running back Isiah Gamble could all finish with fantastic numbers.

The Vikings hold a distinct advantage over the Warriors offensively and defensively. DHC will likely even its record at 2-2 after a potential blowout of East Wake.

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

J.H. Rose 9, Eastern Wayne 0

The Rampants blanked Eastern Wayne in dominant fashion, including singles wins from Maryah Stokes, Ginger Evans, Ella Jones, Cecelia Richardson, Jayme Goldman and Mary Grace Smith.

The tandems of Stokes-Evans, Ekta Shah-Anna Vaughn and Morgan Miller-Ava Griffin handled the doubles round for Rose

VOLLEYBALL

D.H. Conley 3, New Bern 0

The Vikings hit the 10-0 mark with a clean sweep of New Bern, winning 25-13, 25-22 and 25616.

Alexis Desoto and Sara Dees had nine kills, while Elana Fuller added eight kills and four blocks, Olivia Lefever 27 assists and Olivia Hunt eight digs.

J.H. Rose 3, Southern Wayne 0

The Rampants improved to 9-2 in a straight-sets win, 25-13, 25-8 and 25-17.

Holly Gibson had nine assists to help power Rose, while Abby Wordsworth added five kills and seven digs, and CeCe Wilkerson notched five kills and three aces.

Parrott Academy 3, Harrell’s 0

Parrott Academy rolled to 10-0 on Thursday after defeating Harrell’s Christian in three straight; 25-11, 25-3 and 25-15.

Alli Grant Avery smashed 12 kills with a hitting percentage of .632, adding seven aces on 13 service points total to go with three blocks. Mackenzie Pope added 10 assists, six digs and five aces for the Patriots, and Gisell Cervantes notched eight digs and had 14 service points and four aces. Jorja Tuten had six aces.

Oakwood 3, Halifax 0

Oakwood improved to 9-2 with a straight-sets win over Halifax, including game wins of 25-13, 25-13 and 25-11.

Sydney Martin had 21 assists to lead Oakwood, while Sloane Correa added 11 kills, Maddy Heins had four aces, Kennedy Rhodes chipped in four blocks and Ashley Painter had seven digs.

SOCCER

D.H. Conley 6, Greene Central 3

The Vikings piled up the goals at Greene Central on Thursday night.

Haiden Respass bagged two of them for DHC, and Zach Tucker, Ediel Lopez, Britton Fischer and Joel Perez had one each to lead the barrage. Cody McLaughlin delivered multiple assists for the Vikings, who trekked to Havelock on Thursday.

JV VOLLEYBALL

D.H. Conley 3, New Bern 0

Like the varsity squad, Conley’s JV’s also jumped to 10-0 with 25-11 and 25-13 wins.

Ellie Yancey and A'riana Crumpler had four kills each.

J.H. Rose 2, Southern Wayne 0

Rose won two straight games, 25-5 and 25-2, to open up a 3-0 conference record.

Sloan Carlson had four assists and five aces to lead Rose.

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