The West Craven Eagles and Havelock Rams will tangle for the Coastal Conference championship for the first time since 2009 at 7 p.m. tonight in Vanceboro.
Havelock (10-0, 5-0) has not lost a league game since a 2010 defeat at the hands of West Carteret.
The Eagles have not won the league title since 2008, when they reached the 3A state title game.
“We cannot play like we did last week (versus Swansboro), that’s for sure,” West Craven coach Matt Riggsbee said. “We can’t let them (Havelock) take us out of our game. We have to be ready for anything and everything.”
The Eagles lost 23-13 to Swansboro – a team Havelock defeated 57-0 – last week, West Craven’s first loss since a Sept. 20 28-14 defeat at the hands of D.H. Conley.
If the Eagles win Friday, they clinch a share of the league title, but would earn the top seed in the playoffs by virtue of a head-to-head win over the Rams.
If West Craven loses and Jacksonville and Swansboro win over White Oak and Richlands respectively, then there will be a three-way tie for second place and playoff positioning will be determined by drawing from a hat.
The top-ranked Rams have posted four straight shutouts and have not allowed a point since Sept. 27 against Richlands. Quarterback Travis Sabdo has 23 touchdown passes and just three interceptions, while running back Derrell Scott has totaled 1,319 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns.
Micheal Bowman (497) and Matt Boykin (491) have combined for 988 yards receiving, with Boykin hauling in 11 touchdown passes.
Jordan Honeycutt is a reporter for the Sun Journal.