HAVELOCK | Havelock head coach Jim Bob Bryant knows about the character on his football team.
That’s why he’s not concerned with the Rams’ response to losing its first game of the season to West Craven Monday.
“We have guys on our team that put the team first, and that’s what they are all about,” Bryant said. “Some of our senior leaders have turned the page on the West Craven game. We let it sting for one night, now it’s time to get back to work.
“There’s not one NFL team that’s undefeated, so that doesn’t mean those teams can’t win a Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean we can’t win out and win a state championship. We have to move forward.”
The Rams (8-1, 3-1 Coastal 3-A) will look to take out their energy against Swansboro on Friday at 7 p.m. at Havelock.
It’s the first time they’ve had to bounce back from a conference defeat since 2010.
“There are a lot of mistakes that we make that game. We are trying to fix our mistakes and get better for the rest of the year,” Bryant said.
Havelock got two rushing touchdowns from senior quarterback Corey Cooper and another one from junior Soloman Beligotti last game.
The Rams’ offense has put up 230 rushing yards per game, and nearly 40 points per game.
With running back Tony Sharpe gone, they’ve gone to a ground game that features sophomore Cam Hutchinson (412 yards, 11 touchdowns), Beligotti and senior Montrece Gatling.
“I think, in our backfield, we now have three Division-I players that are playing tailback,” Bryant said. “Cameron Hutchinson is a Division-I tailback and he’s just a sophomore. Soloman Beligotti is a Division-I linebacker, but he’s strong on defense and we haven’t played him a lot on offense. Montrece Gatling has already committed to the Naval Academy as a defensive back, but he’s an athlete that’s going to get more touches on offense.
“Our offense is going to be fine. I think it’s going to be better now that we get to use some of these guys coming from the defensive side of the ball.”
Swansboro (3-6, 0-4) is coming off a 55-14 loss at Jacksonville.
The Pirates are led by quarterback Thomas Reynolds (1,462 yards, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions) and playmakers Nicholas Lee and Isaiah Flowers.
“They have a good quarterback that can throw the ball,” Bryant said. “They throw it about 80 percent of the time. We have to stop the pass and limit the big plays in the passing game.”
Havelock’s defense will utilize senior defensive lineman Destin Flloyd, a recent commit to Army, linebackers Tyiyon Johnson and Beligotti, to come up with big stops.
The Rams are allowing opponents to score 12.7 points per game.
Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal. He can be contacted at 252-635-5669. Follow Adam on Twitter @A_ThompsonNBSJ