Havelock is in familiar territory, facing a familiar opponent for a chance to reach its fourth straight eastern regional championship game.
That familiar opponent is Coastal 3A Conference foe Washington, which is in some unfamiliar territory, reaching the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 1956.
The teams are scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.
"They’re the best team we’ve played since New Bern," Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said.
The Rams (12-1) defeated the Pam Pack (10-3) 34-7 on Sept. 28. Washington hasn’t lost since, including last week’s 28-21 victory over Hertford County. Quarterback Jimmy Williams rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, while Markell Spencer — who missed the first meeting with Havelock with an injury — ran for 105 yards as Washington rushed for 433 yards in the contest.
Washington is averaging 34 points per game in its current six-game winning streak.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Washington rushed for 288 yards and controlled the clock but failed to stop Havelock’s big-play offense.
"They ran the clock and tried to shorten the game," Bryant said. "Their quarterback is the fastest quarterback we’ve played this year. He’s a good athlete, and they’ve got a good scheme that fits their personnel."
The Rams lost starting guard Tim Hamrick to a knee injury last week, with Kareen Moore stepping in to a reshuffled line. Still, Bryant knows the Rams will be ready on Friday night.
"Our guys come ready to play every week," he said. "Everybody in the state questions how good we are, so we want to continue to improve week to week, and Washington is another team we’ve got to get up for to get to our ultimate goal, which is to win another state championship."