The Havelock junior varsity football team practices just like the varsity team, getting the same instructions from the same coaches.
No wonder they’ve had the same success as the varsity team.
The Rams capped their second straight 10-0 season by beating West Craven 68-6 Thursday at Havelock High.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for these kids and to this coaching staff,” Havelock coach Bob Sabdo said of the perfect season. “These kids are coached by the best coaches in North Carolina, in my opinion. They all get equal coaching in the varsity and the JV.
“These kids came in, bought in right away, worked hard and didn’t complain. We set the goals high here at Havelock. We’re expected to win conference championships. We’re expected to go undefeated. That’s hard to do when you have 14- and 15-year-old kids playing on a Thursday night and they’ve got to get their school work done, too.
“It’s a testament to the kids, their effort, to their practice ability. Obviously the coaching is second to none, but these kids were able to take what they were given and apply it.”
The Rams were never threatened against West Craven. Quarterback Travis Sabdo threw 12 yards to Christian Crowe for a touchdown less than two minutes into the contest. He then threw a 46-yard bomb to Shondel Granison two minutes later, putting Havelock in front 14-0.
“We had a great opening quarter,” Travis Sabdo said. “We came out and played as a team. We came out and played hard and played fast and played physical.”
Taquan Green got a huge block from Mark George on a 78-yard touchdown run for Havelock’s third score of the first quarter.
“I thought we were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Bob Sabdo said. “Both lines, offense and defense, played really well. We had time to throw it and big lanes to run it. Our defensive line showed up, played hard and made a lot of great stops in the backfield for losses.”
Travis Mullins returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown, putting the Rams up 28-0 at the end of the first quarter.
“I think we came out with energy,” defensive back and receiver Matthew Boykin said. “The linemen did what they had to do. The running backs did what they had to do, and the quarterback. I think overall we played real good.”
Sabdo’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Mullins put the Rams up 34-0 at halftime.
In the second half, West Craven scored on its opening possession, but the Rams got Boykin’s 55-yard touchdown run, and 59-yard and 8-yard scoring runs from Dante Stackhouse to lead 56-6.
Julian Mobley added touchdown runs of 1 and 9 yards in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.
Defensively, Gabriel Munoz recovered a fumble and Dallas Frazier had an interception for the Rams
“The defense was off the chain,” defensive lineman Billy Watkins said. “It was good.”
The junior varsity Rams have now won 25 straight games, four shy of matching the 31-year-old school record for consecutive junior varsity victories.
The players said they were well aware of the winning streak entering the contest.
“We knew what we had going for us,” Travis Sabdo said. “Coach said in the locker room before the game that he didn’t want the sophomores to leave at 19-1 and the freshmen to be 9-1.”
The victory also gave the Rams their sixth Coastal 3A Conference championship in the last seven years.
“Forty-eight of these guys deserve this 10-0 season, not just one, not just all the sophomores,” Travis Sabdo said. “All 48 of them deserve this. They played their tails off tonight, and they deserve to be happy.”