Weekly conference predictions

Well, another week and some change predictions. Tropical Storm Hermine had us all out of whack, moving one game to a Monday afternoon, others to that evening and another to October.

Edenton had none of that mess: the Aces handled Plymouth 42-0 on Thursday to escape the wet madness.

So about who’s where…

Northeastern Coastal

  1. Northeastern (2-0): The Eagles are tied for fifth in the first AP state poll for 2A. Those kinds of rankings have become the norm for the Eagles, and to keep it they must win at Wilson Hunt on Friday. They are coming off an unexpected bye since they agreed to now play Camden on Oct. 7, where both had originally scheduled open dates. NHS won the teams’ last meeting in Wilson in 2014 but lost in Elizabeth City last fall. Will JR Walker step forward again like he did in the second half at Northern Nash?
  2. Edenton (3-0): The hottest team in the league and perhaps the northeast corner. Now comes a game against reigning 3A state champ Rocky Mount in Edenton, an opponent that shredded an injury-depleted club last season. Can a healthy crop of Aces backs make this meeting more competitive?
  3. Currituck (2-1): Although coming down to Earth a bit after a humbling 35-0 setback to Hickory (Va.) at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, the Knights could regain their footing with a win in Kill Devil Hills in non-conference play against First Flight. As receiver Isaiah McCarraher said: “We are always ready for First Flight.” And Currituck’s defense can say it’s held North Carolina teams scoreless. So there’s that.
  4. Pasquotank (3-0): Sure, the Panthers should win against 1As Camden, Gates and Perquimans, but when was the last time they beat all three in one season? Likely a while at best. While Chris McGee keeps beating Coastal 10 clubs (he coached Camden for two years after all), he now gets nearly two weeks to prepare for North Pitt. I can already see a more disciplined mindset that I haven’t before under his guidance, which showed when the Panthers did not panic down at half to Perquimans and wound up rolling 48-29.
  5. Hertford County (1-2): Injuries could derail a Bears team eager to at least duplicate its successes from 2015, although in Ahoskie, it’s about winning conference titles and more.
  6. First Flight (2-0): While the search is on for the real marlin that goes to the winner of the Marlin Bowl — really, whoever stole it is a moron — the Nighthawks celebrated their fourth-straight win against rival Manteo. Never would’ve thought that was possible in the mid-2000s.
  7. Bertie (1-1): A last-second loss at Gates on a field goal just compounds the Falcons’ own injuries, including to tailback Corey Cherry. It could also hurt come playoff time. Going to play an Eric McDaniels-coach Roanoke Rapids team and then hosting SouthWest Edgecombe showed how much Bertie needed that non-conference victory against the 1A Red Barons.

Coastal 10

  1. Gates (1-2): OK, this goes against my “not going against Plymouth until a conference team beats the Vikings” notion. However, have to applaud Gates for beating a 2A team while Plymouth is 0-3 for the first time since 1992.
  2. Plymouth (0-3): Could the defending 1A state champ go to 0-4. Well, Camden hopes so, since it has to go to Plymouth for the Vikings’ next game on Sept. 16.
  3. Perquimans (1-2): Leading Pasquotank at halftime takes some sting off of being smacked by fellow NCC school Edenton (and future conference opponent) a week earlier. With Dallas Hall and Dwuan Williams you’ve got as good of a offensive tandem as anyone in the Coastal 10. Good enough to contend for the title?
  4. Camden (0-2): We’ll start with good news in that quarterback/tailback Brandon Underwood has the cast off his right wrist and should be available for the Bruins’ game against Columbia. Expect Camden to get Scott Jones a win in his return to the sideline.
  5. Mattamuskeet (2-0): Still unbeaten, still against Cape Hatteras and Columbia. Can the Lakers top Manteo and clinch this position?
  6. Manteo (0-3): There’s just not much in the cupboard for coach Eddie Twyne even with the maximum effort. The Redskins have been outscored (albeit against better competition than what they’ll see in league play) by a combined 118-9.
  7. Columbia (2-1): The Wildcats beat Creswell. And Hatteras.
  8. Creswell (0-2): The Tigers lost to the Wildcats.
  9. Cape Hatteras (0-3): A winnable game against Creswell comes up on Sept. 16.

— Owen Hassell

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