The Havelock Rams scored on their first offensive play and never looked back.
The West Craven Eagles came out of the locker room like lions Friday. Havelock did too, in a 44-7 Rams’ victory in Vanceboro.
The win was Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant’s 100th of his career (42-19 at Greene Central, 58-11 at Havelock.)
“It feels great to be able to do it with my assistants and these kids,” Bryant said. “We really are a brotherhood here at Havelock and it meant a lot to everybody.”
West Craven’s T.K. Evans took the first play from scrimmage 45 yards to put the Eagles in scoring territory.
With the door open for an early score, Havelock’s defense promptly slammed it by forcing a fumble on the goal line and recovering the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
Then, a “big-time player” made a “big-time play.”
On the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Pharoh Cooper kept the ball, and weaved his way to the left sideline, leaving the Eagles in the dust on an 80-yard touchdown run.
The Havelock defense tightened up from then, and the offense was just preheating the oven.
On its next two drives, after Anthony Fisher recovered a bad snap in the end zone for a score, Havelock struck paydirt on the first play.
Running back Derrell Scott went 61 yards for a score, then Cooper found Michael Bowman on a 28-yard connection to put the Rams up 28-0.
Another Scott touchdown run made it 36-0 after a quarter of play.
After the Eagles lost a pair of key seniors, in quarterback Demetres Abrams and wide receiver Torrey Jackson in the first half, backup Alkeim Harley finished the game solidly.
Harley made some good runs and found Andre Cox on a 28-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
“I think it really hurt us that we didn’t score on that first drive, but Alkeim (Harley) played well for us and Tyquail Raynor ran it well, but credit them (Havelock), they are a tough team and explosive offense,” West Craven coach Matt Riggsbee said.
“I told our kids when we lost that tough game to Jacksonville that I wanted them to let it sting for a while, but with this one, I want them to put it behind them and focus on the playoffs and going forward.”
Cooper accounted for 114 rush yards on five carries with two touchdowns and threw for 87 yards and a score, and became the second Havelock quarterback ever to throw for more than 2,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 in a single season.
The Rams (10-1, 7-0) will have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Eastern Regional Final will be played in Havelock for the fourth-consecutive year if they continue their winning way. The Eagles (6-5, 4-3), are likely to be on the road in round one.
Havelock 36 8 0 0 — 44
West Craven 0 0 0 7 — 7
H — Pharoh Cooper 80 run (kick blocked)
H — Anthony Fisher fumble recovery in end zone (Scott 2-pt. conversion good)
H — Derrell Scott 61 run (kick failed)
H — Cooper 28 pass to Michael Bowman (Scott 2-pt. conversion good)
H — Scott 8 run (Scott 2-pt. conversion good)
H — Cooper 24 run (Taylor Woods 2-pt. conversion good)
WC — Alkeim Harley 28 pass to Andre Cox (Munoz kick)
First Downs 11 9
Rushes-Yards 27-337 32-132
Passing Yards 96 82
Comp-Att-Int 7-14-2 8-14-0
Penalties-Yards 3-19 6-49
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Punts-Avg. 2-33.5 6-30.3
Passing – West Craven: Alkeim Harley 8-14-0 82 TD. Havelock: Pharoh Cooper 6-11-1 87 TD. Travis Sabdo 1-3-1 9.
Rushing – West Craven: T.K. Evans 3-55, Tyquail Raynor 16-49, Alkeim Harley 8-23, Demetres Abrams 2-5, Kenny McDaniel 2-0, Andre Cox 1-0. Havelock: Pharoh Cooper 5-114 2 TD, Derrell Scott 4-85 2 TD, Taylor Woods 3-66, Donte Stackhouse 5-23, London Duvall 3-19, TaQuan Green 4-11, Travis Sabdo 1-3.
Receiving – West Craven: Andre Cox 1-28 TD, Tyquail Raynor 1-12, James Choyce 1-12, Torrey Jackson 1-11, T.K. Evans 1-7, Tyrone Brown 1-6, Kenny McDaniel 2-6. Havelock: Michael Bowman 3-58 TD, C.J. Lindsey 1-11, London Duvall 1-10, Shondel Granison 1-9, Aron Rossi 1-8.