Rampants scored 83 points last week, while Rams posted a shutout

The Havelock Rams have a dominant defense. The J.H. Rose Rampants have an explosive offense.

Those two units will clash at 7 p.m. in Havelock on Friday.

Havelock (3-0) shutout New Hanover, 42-0, last week in Wilmington and has given up just 19 points in three games. Rose (2-0), out of the Eastern Carolina Conference, racked up 83 points in a victory over Leesville Road its last time out. The Rampants are averaging nearly 70 points in both of its games.

“They are a really good football team. They are another 4A power and they are averaging over 60 points per game,” Havelock football coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “They have a really good offensive and defensive scheme.

“It will be another really good challenge.”

Havelock has tested itself early on, and beat 2014 NCHSAA 2A runner-up Washington (50-13), then defending 4A champion New Bern (41-6) and previously unbeaten New Hanover, a strong 4A program.

Next, the Rams will have to tackle Rose star Cornell Powell, a Clemson commit, who has seven touchdowns.

“We are pretty good on defense so we have a game plan on how we are going against them, and everybody will find that out Friday night,” Bryant said.

“That’s the reason we schedule Washington, New Bern, New Hanover and Rose, to give us a good look before we go into conference.”

The Rams’ defense has 15 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Trey Owens has a pair of picks, while Destin Flloyd and Makai Collins each have four sacks.

“It all starts up front with our defensive line and then it filters through to our linebackers and secondary,” Bryant said. “We meet at my house every Sunday as a staff, and the defensive staff does a great job of putting a game plan together.”

The Rams are game planning on how to defend J.H. Rose’s scoring attack, led by Powell who has five receiving touchdowns and two kick returns for scores.

Quarterback Asa Alexander has passed for 675 yards with nine touchdowns to two interceptions. Running back Dontavies Harris has picked up 202 rushing yards with five touchdowns.

“We need to limit their big plays on offense and we need to not turn the ball over when we are on offense,” Bryant said.

Havelock’s offense is sparked by junior running back Tony Sharpe and his 576 rushing yards and eight scores. Quarterback Corey Cooper has thrown for 295 yards with five touchdown passes and four interceptions as the Rams are averaging 44.3 points per game. Cooper has also rushed for 244 yards.

As good as Rose’s offense has been, its defense allowed 44 points against Wilmington Laney and 42 against Leesville Road.

“What we want to do offensively is run the football effectively, throw the ball when we need to throw it, move the chains and keep their offense off the field,” Bryant said. “On defense, if we can continue to play the way we have the last three weeks, I think we will be OK.”

The Rams played their first three games away from Havelock, and haven’t hosted a game since the 3A East Regional Finals last December. They play their next four games at home.

“I know the Havelock faithful is ready for a home game, and I know my principal is,” Bryant said. “We travel really well, and we’ve had good attendance at every one of our away games. We are excited to have a home game and play in front of our crowd who supports us really well.”

Adam Thompson is the sports editor of the Sun Journal.