WELDON — When in doubt, run the rock.
Such was the case on Friday for Weldon, which jettisoned its newly-formed spread passing attack to survive a turnover-plagued first half and post a 12-8 victory over Tar Roanoke 1A guest Northwest Collegiate and Technical Academy.
The Chargers now stand 1-0 this season.
“Unbelievable, man. Unbelievable,” Weldon head coach Steven Brickell said of his team's spirit, which persevered through a trio of fumbles in the opening 12 minutes — influenced in large part by soggy, slippery conditions — to earn the triumph. “My guys dug deep, they fought back… once we got the jitters out, guys believed in each other, they continued to play, they dug down deep and they just believed in the system.”
A system, however, forced off-script in a large way by Mother Nature.
Change in plans
As it did in last week's matchup with Bear Grass Charter, Northwest proved opportunistic from the outset, converting field position gifted by a Charger fumble into a 25-yard house call by Kishon Richardson.
At the 11:29 mark, NCTA led 8-0.
The quick sixer would be the last bit of Viking plunder, though, as the Navy Blues narrowed matters at the line of scrimmage and exchanged the route tree for a punishing, by-down rushing attack — one punctuated in the second half by Demontae Parker and Sylvester Witherspoon.
“We couldn’t really, you know, open our playbook like I wanted to,” Brickell said of his in-game decision to alter strategy. “Due to field conditions, and you know, the density of the ball, we had to shuffle some things around… that’s a part of being a good team.”
Which the Chargers certainly were on Friday, capturing their first triumph since Oct. 25, 2019.
The Northwest post-game round was a somber, socially-distanced number, spiked in bursts by head coach Tyrone Hargrove, who implored his unit to embrace the art of practice.
“The guys that’s not playing, we need you at practice, and wanting to play,” the second-year head coach said. “Not with your lip poked out during game time, because a lot of y’all ain’t been to practice. Practicing here, practice there — it ain’t gonna get it done, guys. It ain’t gonna get it done.”
And to his point, a trend — through two games, Northwest has been outscored, 32-16, in the second through fourth quarters.
Who’s got next …?
Weldon travels out-of-market next week for a showdown with Warren County, while Northwest (1-1) entertains Rocky Mount Prep, which will be playing its second contest in five days.
NC — Kishon Richardson 25 run (Marcus Harvey), 11:29
W — Demontae Parker 2 run (conversion failed), 3:09
W — Sylvester Witherspoon 2 run (conversion failed), 5:07
Jackets rip Franklinton, stay perfect
Roanoke Rapids tendered a dominant-in-all-phases effort on Friday en route to booking a 38-0 triumph over Big East 2A/3A guest Franklinton.
Austin Geary, Xavier High, Matthew MacNichol and Jon Lewis Temple starred for the hosts, who produced the game’s winning margin in lightning-quick fashion during the game’s middle quarters.
RRHS (4-0, 1-0 Big East) returns to work next week at tradition-rich Southern Nash, while Franklinton (0-3, 0-1 Big East) hosts Nash Central.
Royal Blues slip by Warriors
LEGGETT — KIPP Pride earned its first victory of the 2021 campaign on Friday, posting a 20-19 triumph over Tar Roanoke 1A foe North Edgecombe.
KIPP (1-2, 1-0 Tar Roanoke) entertains Southeast Collegiate Prep Academy next week, while North Edgecombe (0-4, 0-1 Tar Roanoke) hosts Northampton County.
Road trip costly for Eagles
MERRY HILL — Down a host of available players in the third quarter on Friday, Northeast Academy resigned to accept a season-opening, 32-8 setback to Colonial Carolina Conference host Lawrence Academy-Albemarle School.
The Eagles (0-1, 0-1 CC) travel to face Bethel Christian next week, while LAA (1-4, 1-2 CC) welcomes Halifax Academy.
Vikings collect landslide win
WILSON — Halifax Academy scored 58 points in the opening half on Friday during a bother-me-not, 74-24 victory over Community Christian.
The game marked the first appearance between the lines for HA since Aug. 27, when it fell to 8-Man neighbor Rocky Mount Academy.
Now 2-1 this season, the Vikings travel to Merry Hill next week for a date with Lawrence Academy-Albemarle School.
Community (1-3), which got a superb all-purpose effort from quarterback Landon Beamon, returns to action on Oct. 1 at Northeast Academy.
Trojans return home, spill Warren County
CROWELLS CROSSROADS — Southeast Collegiate Prep Academy, which spent the last two weeks traipsing eastern North Carolina, returned home on Friday to earn a 45-32 victory over Tar Roanoke 1A newbie Warren County.
The Trojans (1-3, 1-0 Tar Roanoke) travel to KIPP Pride for a Week 6 matchup, while Warren County (1-3, 0-1 Tar Roanoke) hosts Weldon.