Seven games into the season, the Havelock Rams are experiencing some of the pesky injuries that go along with a full contact sport.
That’s where London Duvall comes in.
The reserve tailback and receiver saw significant time on the field against Washington Friday night, catching a touchdown pass as the Rams handled the Pam Pack 34-7 in a Coastal 3A Conference contest.
“If I make a play, then it’s for the team and helps us get a win,” Duvall said. “When someone goes down, someone has to step up. We all have to be playmakers. That’s what coach tells us to do, make plays.”
For the most part, the Rams tried to rest key players such as running backs Derrell Scott and Taylor Woods, as well as quarterback Pharoh Cooper, all three of whom often see time on both sides of the ball. They had limited time on the field against Washington, and Woods had an ice pack on his leg and didn’t play the second half.
“We’ve just got some bumps and bruises, so we’re trying to keep as many guys off the field as we can and keep them from getting injured,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “Especially when the game was in the bag, we started putting some guys in to get some underclassmen some reps and to save some of our starters.”
Cooper ran for two touchdowns and threw for another for a Havelock offense that scored on four straight possessions in the first half and didn’t punt during the game.
“I think our offense did fine,” Bryant said. “Anytime you don’t punt, you’ve got a good chance to win.”
Scott scored from 7 yards out on Havelock’s first possession of the game, giving the Rams an early 6-0. Later in the first quarter, Woods had a 21-yard touchdown run, and Cooper’s two-point conversion run put Havelock on top 14-0.
In the second quarter, Cooper raced 67 yards right up the middle untouched for a score with 7:39 left in the period.
“He made some great reads,” Bryant said of his senior signal-caller. “We had some quarterback reads where it was either a pass or a quarterback draw, and he made some great reads in the passing game and the running game.
“And our offensive line did a great job. Several of our guys will get into the secondary, five or 10 yards, and not even be touched, and that’s a tribute to our offensive line and our offensive line coaches for preparing those guys each week.”
On Havelock’s next series, Cooper completed a 47-yard pass to Duvall down the middle of the field, and then hit Duvall on the next play for a 32-yard touchdown. Dylan Baker’s kick gave the Rams a 28-0 halftime lead.
“I faked a block and went right down the middle,” Duvall said of his touchdown catch.
The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Duvall had a 60-yard touchdown run called back on a penalty during the game.
“He’s done a great job,” Bryant said of Duvall. “He’s worked at two positions, our H-back and tailback. He probably would have had over 100 yards rushing without the penalties.
“But he’s got great hands. He was our starting tailback on the JV last year, and he’s transitioned to playing one of our slot receivers, and he’s doing a really good job.”
Cooper scored on a 1-yard dive in the third quarter, his final play of the night, giving the Rams a 34-0 lead.
Stevie Green had a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for Washington to account for the final margin.
Havelock’s defense made key plays to keep the Pam Pack out of the end zone for three quarters, including stopping a Washington drive at the 6-yard line. Washington also missed a field goal. The Rams got sacks from Michael Bowman, Harry Caldwell, Deshone Godette, Kendall Vickers, Akenno Godette and Julian Cuthbertson.
“Defensively, we gave up some yards and some first downs,” Bryant said. “We had our backs against the wall several times in the first half, but we toughened up at the goal line and didn’t let them score.”
Havelock is next scheduled to play South Central at 7 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.