Rams stress fundamentals heading into game against Swansboro

The Havelock High football team is going back to basics.

“The fundamentals of football, blocking and tackling, are something we didn’t do great with on Friday night, and that’s my fault,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said of last week’s 40-10 victory over Richlands. “But, it ain’t going to be my fault again, because we’re going to fix that.”

Bryant has put the focus on getting his players to be more physical heading into this week’s Coastal 3A Conference game at Swansboro at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Pirates (5-4, 2-2) are coming off a 54-27 loss last week to Jacksonville, a game they trailed 28-21 at halftime. Quarterback Eli Frantz was 14 of 29 for 259 yards with three touchdowns but also threw five interceptions. Markuise Hemby caught seven passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

“They’re a good football team,” Bryant said. “We’re going to have to play good to beat them. We’re going to have to play better than we did last Friday night, even though we won 40-10.

“They’re scoring a lot of points. They have a good quarterback, a couple of good receivers and a good running back.”

A victory guarantees a playoff spot for the Rams (9-0, 4-0) and keeps them on track toward a possible league title.

“Every game we play, we play for the conference championship in this conference,” Bryant said. “You can’t afford one loss because then you have to count on someone else to lose, so we want to win every game.”

The Rams are still dealing with a number of injuries, with Bryant saying the status of running back Tony Sharpe (ankle), H-back Mark George (knee) and quarterback Corey Cooper (shoulder) remains in doubt pending today’s practice. Backup running back and defensive back Montrece Gatling is expected back in the lineup against Swansboro.

Should Cooper be unable to play, the Rams will turn again to sophomore Zach Sabdo, who was 18 of 23 for 191 yards passing against Richlands last week.

“He played really well,” Bryant said Sabdo, the younger brother of last year’s starter Travis Sabdo. “He didn’t have any turnovers. He threw the ball well. I thought he played a good game stepping in for his first varsity start.”