Gryphons defeated Havelock in eastern regional championship game last season
Havelock was packing its bags for another trip to the state championship.
But Rocky Mount wasn’t done packing it in.
One 99-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds to play and three overtimes later, the Gryphons had stunned Havelock to win last year’s eastern regional 3A championship game.
The two teams are set for a rematch at 7 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.
And, Havelock’s players certainly remember what happened last year.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah — it should have never happened like it did last year,” said Havelock quarterback Zach Sabdo.
He said things would be different on Friday night.
“They think they have our number,” Sabdo said. “They’re going to find it really hard on Friday night.”
Havelock coach Caleb King also said things would be different on Friday night — but because seasons and teams change.
“Obviously some emotions have to play into this game, but it’s a new team,” King said. “Right now, we have 17 new starters this year. They’re either in new positions or they’re new to starting, but we have 17 new starters, so they’re a different team and we’re a different team. But I am positive (last year) is going to be in the back of their minds.”
Rocky Mount enters the game with a 1-2 record after picking up its first victory of the season in a 47-21 triumph over Hertford County on Aug. 31. The Gryphons had a bye last week. Rocky Mount lost to Middle Creek 33-15 and to D.H. Conley 60-43 in its other two contests.
Sophomore quarterback Jaquan Lynch has thrown for 609 yards and seven touchdowns through three games for the Grphyons. Charlie Williams III is his main target with seven catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Jalen Watson leads a balanced rushing attack with 238 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
Rocky Mount has struggled with six turnovers in its first three games.
For Havelock (3-1), Sabdo is coming off a record-setting performance in which he threw for 466 yards in last week’s 54-0 victory over Greenville Rose. He broke his older brother Travis Sabdo’s yardage record with a series of shovel passes, screens and quick slants, with the occasional deep ball, to players like Justin Hoover, Welton Spottsville, Cameron Hutchinson, Khalil Barrett and Anthony Harris.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons, and we have to continually get the ball to a lot of different people. We’re very conscious of that,” King said. “We try to keep up with that in-game, so we make sure we’re getting the ball to enough guys who can do good things with it.”