Playing a state champion is never easy, which White Oak found out Friday night.
The Vikings suffered their fifth straight loss under first-year coach Chad Ashley as defending state 3A champion Havelock rolled to a 48-7 victory in the Coastal 3A Conference opener for both teams.
The Vikings (0-5, 0-1) fought hard, but the Rams (4-1, 1-0) were simply better, using a balanced attack to rack up at least 48 points for the fourth time this season.
"Not good enough," Ashley said. "I thought we actually played with passion for the first time this year. Kids played hard against a tough opponent."
The Vikings came out with passion and intensity, but the momentum was on the Rams’ side for most of the game behind senior quarterback Pharoh Cooper, who was a triple threat. He threw for 205 yards, rushed for 82 yards and also retuned a punt for 32 yards to keep the Vikings on their heels for the entire contest.
"I felt good and confident we prepared all week, and we didn’t take them lightly," Cooper said.
The Rams scored fast and early. It took them only two plays to find the end zone when Cooper ripped off a 50-yard run for a touchdown.
Following a punt, the Rams’ offense continued to roll behind the two-headed running attack of Taylor Woods and Derrell Scott. Woods scored on a 1-yard run at the end of the first quarter to make it 14-0.
Entering the second quarter Cooper was at it again, but this time his arm was the key. He threw an 80-yard bomb to C.J. Lindsey to put the Rams up 21-0. After another Woods touchdown run, it seemed as the Vikings were deflated, down 28-0.
But with 28 seconds left in the first half, the Vikings got the ball at their 35 after recovering a fumble by Havelock’s Michael Bowman, which White Oak converted into its lone touchdown when Walter McClendon hooked up with Isaiah Relliford on a last-second 35-yard Hail Mary to send the Vikings into the half down 28-7 and giving them some momentum.
"Momentum is a funny thing." Ashley said. "It generally lasts till the end of the game."
The Vikings opened the second half with the momentum and the ball, but the Rams squashed that momentum, stopping White Oak on offense and then adding two touchdowns of 16 and 5 yards by Scott to give the Rams a 41-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Woods added his second touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run for the final score.
Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant was pleased with his team’s effort against the Vikings.
"We played well at times, (but) we broke down a couple of times," he said. "We cut our penalties in half and gave our young kids some chances in the game tonight."
Havelock is next scheduled to play undefeated D.H. Conley in another Coastal 3A Conference contest at 7 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.
Havelock 14 14 13 7 — 48
White Oak 0 7 0 0 — 7
H - Cooper 50 run (Baker kick)
H - Woods 1 run (Baker kick)
H – Lindsey 80 pass from Cooper (Baker kick)
H - Woods 7 run (Baker kick)
WO – Relliford 35 pass from McClendon (Graham kick)
H - Scott 16 run (Baker kick)
H - Scott 5 run (Kick Failed)
H - Woods 9 run (Baker kick)
First downs 15 4
Rushes-yards 30-268 40-114
Passing 205 65
Comp-Att-Int 10-16-0 2-6-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
RUSHING — H: Scott 10-82, Cooper 5-82, Woods 9-37, Duvall 1-18, Bowman 5-49. WO: Moses 15-49, White 5-14, Roberts 4-6, Mcclendon 13-44, Oliver 1-1 .
PASSING — H: Cooper 10-205. WO: McClendon 2-65.
RECEIVING — H: Scott 1-12, Bowman 2-56, Coplon 2-11, Lindsey 1-80, Godette 1-5, Duvall 3-41. WO: White 1-30, Relliford 1-35.