Truly the term "Game of the Week" has never been as aptly applied as it has been for the game that's been rescheduled for Monday. It's the proverbial David vs. Goliath match up as the high octane Havelock Rams puts their unblemished record on the line against the astonishing D.H. Conley Vikings, who are 4-1 overall (1-0 Coastal 3A). The intriguing football game will kickoff at 7 o'clock Monday and Coach Ken Whitehurst and I will have the call on 103.7 WTIB, wtibfm.com and 94.1 WNBU.
Havelock enters the game at 5-0 and ranked No. 3 in this week's Class 3A statewide poll. Coach Jim Bob Bryant's team got off to a 1-0 start as they thrashed White Oak at home, 41-0. The Rams enter tonight's game averaging 392.8 yards of total offense per game and 43.2 ppg. Senior quarterback Garrett Crowe is coming off a red hot 21-28 day through the air, passing for a season-high 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Converted kicker Zack Lahaie had seven catches, 113 yards last week against the Vikings of White Oak.
Despite the collective heroics of Crowe and Lahaie last week, the best Ram player on the field is Pharoh Cooper. He plays on both sides of the ball for Havelock. The junior, who was Havelock's team MVP last season, has hauled in 23 catches this season for 354 yards and four touchdowns. On defense, he is coming off a five tackle game where he also snagged his first interception of 2011. Coach Bryant calls Cooper a smart football player, and one of the most talented wide receivers he's ever coached, which is saying quite a lot.
Conley is the feel good story of the high school football season so far. Coach Brian Paschal's Vikings boast a three game winning streak, and have won seven of their last 11 games, dating back to last season. As offensive-minded as the Rams are, Conley can light up scoreboard and churn out yardage, too. Conley is averaging a staggering 485.6 yards of total offense per game. The Vikings average 41 points per game and have scored 27 or more points in 11 of the last 12 games they've played.
The Conley Wing-T offensive attack is lead by Jequel Daniels (764 yards of total offense) and Keith Clark (744 yards rushing, 5.8 yp carry). Clark has 11 touchdowns this season. Davis Kirkpatrick is the Conley quarterback. The junior is an outstanding baseball prospect at shortstop, but might be just as good of a football player. Kirkpatrick went 9-9 through the air last week for 108 yards and three touchdowns.
These two schools got into a minor altercation during summertime 7-on-7 passing drills a few months ago. Both coaches say it was just part of football, and they don't expect any fireworks tonight.
Both defenses have a bend, but don't break mentality. Conley's defense limited West Craven to 150 yards of total offense last week on a sloppy turf after an early downpour, in a 41-6 spanking of the Eagles. The best defense for Conley could be their offense, which can eat up clock when it's hitting on all cylinders.
Certainly the elements can play a role in the outcome of a game, and the forecast adds to the intrigue surrounding this one. There's an 80% chance of scattered t-storms and rain for this evening. While Havelock's offense is a machine, wet conditions could favor Conley, who is more ground oriented in their attack.
Our broadcast begins just before 7 p.m. Monday night and the kickoff is shortly after on 103.7 WTIB and 94.1 WNBU. Hope you'll join Ken Whitehurst and me for what should prove to be a slobber knocker from Hollywood Crossroads in Pitt Co.