Havelock has 33-straight conference wins
No one on this Havelock football team knows what a conference defeat feels like.
The Rams have 33-straight wins within the Coastal 3-A Conference with three state titles along the way. Head coach Jim Bob Bryant owns a record of 50-3 in conference games since taking the position prior to the 2008 season.
The top-ranked team in the state is looking to keep that streak rolling Friday night at West Carteret in Morehead City. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“As a staff, we don’t really talk about much down the road,” said Havelock assistant coach Matt Handley. “That pretty much translates to the kids and the do a really good job on focusing on what’s at hand.”
The last team to beat Havelock was West Carteret – a 34-30 loss in Havelock on Oct. 29, 2010.
Since then, the Rams have been unbeatable.
Havelock (5-0) has allowed teams to score eight points or less against them in four of its five games this season – with two shutouts. It shut out Northside (Jacksonville), 28-0, last week in Jacksonville.
“Our biggest emphasis last week was communication because Northside runs so many formations. We are trying to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Handley said.
The Rams faced three perennial 4-A powerhouses in non-conference play – New Bern, New Hanover and J.H. Rose – to prepare them for this new conference season, which begins on Friday.
Havelock beat West Carteret, 47-16, last season and has won the past five meetings.
West Carteret, which posted a 9-3 record last season, went 3-2 in non-conference play. The Patriots lost to Jacksonville (Northside), the same opponent Havelock handled, as well as D.H. Conley.
“They run pretty much the same offense that we do. They get their athletes out in space,” Handley said. “The quarterback can throw it around a little bit. They are young and they are getting better every week.”
West Carteret is led by sophomore quarterback Josh Plisko who has 612 passing yards with seven touchdowns to four interceptions. Sophomore running back Terrance Raynor has 490 rushing yards and six scores, while wide receivers Luis Perez (196 yards), Steven Barr (162 yards) and Desmond Hardy (134 yards) are aiding the aerial attack.
Defensively, the Patriots have just three sacks, but have forced 13 turnovers (seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries).
“Their quarterback is one of the best we’ve seen. He’s very savvy and doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s very accurate throwing the ball,” Handley said. “Their running back is a very good cut-back runner with very good vision and they have a couple receivers that can make plays.”
Havelock’s offense is scoring more than 34 points per game, while the defense is allowing just over 13 points per game.
Cameron Hutchinson scored two of Havelock’s three rushing touchdowns last week, while Montrece Gatling returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score.
Senior Tony Sharpe leads the Rams with 525 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“Since Coach Bryant has been here, he wants to run the ball, and then throw it after that once they spread out,” Handley said. “We were able to establish the ground game better than we were able to throw it last week.”
Quarterback Corey Cooper has 922 passing yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions, while rushing for 174 yards and four scores.
Quinzel Lockhart has a team-high 309 receiving yards, while Khalil Barrett has 268 yards.
On defense, Havelock has 10 sacks, led by Destin Flloyd’s 3.5 sacks. The Rams have 17 takeaways (six interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries).
“The offense needs to hold on to the ball. If we get in the red zone, just make sure we score,” Handley said. “Defensively, keep communication, stay on the same page and run to the football.”
Havelock Rams at West Carteret Patriots
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: West Carteret High, Morehead City
Coaches: Havelock – Jim Bob Bryant; West Carteret – Daniel Barrow
Records: Havelock – 5-0, 0-0; West Carteret – 3-2, 0-0
Key players: Havelock – QB Corey Cooper, RB Tony Sharpe, WR Quinzel Lockhart, DL Destin Flloyd, DB Jeffrey Harris, DB Montrece Gatling; West Carteret – QB Josh Plisko, RB Terrance Raynor, WR Luis Perez, DE Bubba Taylor, DB Cooper Hepler
Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal. He can be contacted at 252-635-5669. Follow Adam on Twitter @A_ThompsonNBSJ