JACKSONVILLE | Eric Leary had a reason to smile following this lopsided football game Friday night.
White Oak’s second-year coach showed a bit of positive personality following the Vikings’ 42-7 Coastal 3-A Conference loss to state power Havelock when asked to describe his team’s late touchdown.
“We’ve been trying to complete that pass for about three weeks now and we finally got it,” Leary said.
That score was EJ Anthony’s 38-yard touchdown pass to Junior Ellis with 2:53 remaining for the game’s final score. It was a bright spot for White Oak (1-5, 1-1) in an otherwise tough outing played in mud against the Rams (7-0, 2-0), the state’s top-ranked 3-A team in The Associated Press poll.
Havelock was simply too strong and certainly looked like a No. 1-ranked squad.
“Great program,” Leary said.
The Vikings now turn their attention to next week’s game at West Carteret (3-3, 0-1), which will play at Jacksonville (4-1, 0-0) on Monday in a game postponed from Friday because of rain.
Havelock, meanwhile, plays host to No. 10 West Craven (6-0, 2-0) next week. The Rams have won all but one of their games this season by at least 28 points.
“We have an awesome group of seniors that pretty much police themselves so it makes it easier for us a coaching staff,” said Havelock defensive coordinator Matt Handley, who conducts interviews on head coach Jim Bob Bryant’s behalf. “They stay on each other as much as we stay on them. That helps.”
It also helped the Rams on Friday being able to throw, despite wet a muddy field conditions brought on by rain earlier in the day.
Senior Corey Cooper completed all eight of his passes for 235 yards, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Welton Spottsville. Cooper connected with Spottsville for a 53-yard scoring combination on the game’s first possession with the duo striking again for a 27-yard scoring play with 4:13 left in the second quarter to make it 42-0.
“We just tried to keep the ball dry as much as possible,” Handley said. “Cooper came out and made good reads and made really good throws and our receivers were able to keep their football, which was good.”
But Cooper is more than a passer, Handley added.
“He’s an awesome leader for one,” he said. “He’s a dual-threat quarterback so he can run and pass. He didn’t run a whole lot tonight.”
Then there’s Spottsville, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore, who finished with five catches for 148 yards.
“He has a lot of talent and he runs good routes,” Handley said.
The Rams have not lost to the Vikings since a 10-7 loss in 2007. Havelock won last year’s meeting 38-20, and the Rams continued their winning ways this year by jumping on White Oak early.
After Spottsville’s 53-yard scoring reception, Havelock recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Vikings’ 29-yard line. One play later, Cameron Hutchinson scored on an 18-yard run to make it 14-0.
Havelock 21 21 0 0 – 42
White Oak 0 0 0 7 – 7
H – Spottsville 53 pass from Cooper (Hoomana kick), 9:34
H – Hutchinson 18 run (Hoomana), 9:14
H – Sharpe 3 run (Hoomana kick), 4:06
H – Hutchinson 5 run (Hoomana kick), 10:45
H – Sharpe 2 run (Hoomana kick), 9:21
H – Spottsville 27 pass from Cooper (Hoomana kick), 4:13
W – Ellis 38 pass from Anthony (Brown kick), 2:53
First downs 13 9
Rushes-yards 32-136 36-79
Passing 235 86
Comp-Att-Int 8-9-0 3-7-1
Punts-Avg. 0 3-13.6
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 5-0
Penalties-Yards 6-60 4-25
RUSHING–H: Sharpe 9-57, Gatling 2-7, Hutchinson 8-66, Frazier 1-6, Wilson 1-4, Cabrera 5-8, Felton 4-7, Sabdo 1-(-4), TEAM 1-(15). W: Meadows 10-19, Ellis 10-27, Anthony 8-20, Smith 3-6, Tompkins 3-(-7), Fennell 2-14.
PASSING–H: Cooper 8-8-0-235. W: Anthony 3-7-1-86.
RECEIVING–H: Spottsville 5-148, Lockhart 2-76, Frazier 1-11. W: Meadows 2-48, Ellis 1-38.