HAVELOCK - In talking pre-game, Havelock head football coach Caleb King mentioned that he knew his team was going to face some form of adversity Friday night.
That adversity King spoke of seemed an apparition until it reared its head in the third quarter in the form of a West Craven comeback that was later squashed as the Rams emerged victorious 41-14.
Havelock jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead, largely on the legs of Khalil Barrett (two touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving) and a smothering defensive performance.
The Eagles quickly ended the shutout in the third quarter when junior running back Jonquez Green took it 44 yards around the edge to the end zone.
When Havelock got the ball back, a Zach Sabdo pass intended for Cameron Hutchinson, tipped off Hutchinson's hands and landed in the arms of Eagle defensive back Latrell Campbell.
Campbell took it all the way 30 yards to paydirt, making it a 21-14 game with 10:44 left in the third.
Havelock fumbled twice more in that third quarter but kept the visitor's portion of the scoreboard at 14 the rest of the way and piled on more points of its own for the lopsided win.
The Rams outscored the Eagles 20-0 in the fourth.
"We allowed a great program and a very well-coached team to stick around and they did what great teams do, they fought back tooth and nail," King said. "Now, as they deserve credit for fighting back, our guys do too for fighting from that point. A rivalry game this early is so tough and we had to establish the run and play our tempo late in the game."
Both coaches were happy with the effort and defense overall but both also know some things need to be fine-tuned. Mistakes were made.
"Same thing as before the game when we talked, the same things decide this West Craven-Havelock game every year - big plays and mistakes," West Craven coach Mike Twichell said. "Losing 15 starters, and for our kids to come out and be in the game going into the fourth quarter, I feel we were about four plays from really being in it all the way to the end."
Both teams had trouble with ball-handling as both fumbled multiple times and both had high snaps that sailed over the punter's/quarterback's heads.
Each benefited from solid secondary play as Campbell had the pick-6 and Welton Spottsville had one of his own for Havelock. Jason Wilson and Johnquarius Hatten added interceptions for the Rams.
Both also utilized the ground attack to their advantage as Barrett rushed for 137 yards and Green ran for 75.
Barret racked up 190 yards of total offense on the night, adding 53 receiving to his 137 on the ground and had the pair of touchdowns.
"We just let off the gas, thought we were done, then they came fighting hard and we had to pick up the pace again," Barrett said of the game. "It feels good to get back out there and I just tried to see the biggest hole and go through it for a running lane. We just need to work even harder in practice and get better every day."
In both of their varsity debuts, West Craven's Will Wetherington and Havelock's Zach Sabdo showed glimpses of what they can do as quarterbacks.
Sabdo passed for 191 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and Wetherington threw for 64 yards and ran for 22.
Prior to the game the Rams honored former long-time head coach Wilbur Sasser, who died at 68 years old on July 22nd, by having a moment of silence and announcing the forming of a Havelock High School Hall of Fame in honor of him.
Havelock 15 6 0 20 - 41
West Craven 0 0 14 0 - 14
H- Khalil Barrett 51 pass from Zach Sabdo (Solomon Beligotti kick)
H - Barrett 8 run (2-point conversion good)
H - Cameron Hutchinson 5 run (kick failed)
WC - Jonquez Green 44 run (Sam Lopez kick)
WC - Latrell Campbell 30 interception return (Lopez kick)
H - Dashaun Bryant 38 pass from Sabdo (kick failed)
H - Team Safety
H - Solomon Beligotti 12 run (kick failed)
H - Welton Spottsville 74 interception return (kick failed)
First downs 16 6
Rushes-Yards 48-270 29-98
Passing Yards 191 64
Comp-Att-Int 10-22-1 7-15-3
Turnovers 2 3
Fumbles-Lost 5-1 4-0
Passing: Havelock - Zach Sabdo 10-for-21 for 191 yards (2 touchdowns, 1 interception), Solomon Beligotti 0-1. West Craven - Will Wetherington 7-14 for 64 yards (2 INTs), Rayce Harrelson 0-1 (INT).
Rushing: Havelock - Khalil Barrett 13 carries for 137 yards (TD), Cameron Hutchinson 20-71 (TD), Beligotti 7-39 (TD), Anthony Harris 1-24, Johnquarius Hatten 2-8, Justin Hoover 3-5, Sabdo 2-(-3). West Craven - Jonquez Green 17-75 (TD), Wetherington 7-22, Kedrick Tyre 3-8, Kavon Carmen 2-(-7).
Receiving: Havelock - Barrett 2 catches for 53 yards (TD), Dashaun Bryant 1-38 (TD), A. Harris 1-35, Hoover 2-24, Hatten 1-20, Hutchinson 1-12, Welton Spottsville 2-9. West Craven - Jaylen Franks 3-50, Latrell Campbell 1-8, Carmen 1-4, J. Green 1-2.
Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 or at email@example.com