Non-conference is no more (well, not really, says at least First Flight, Camden and Perquimans) and these rankings can better reflect where football teams are in the Coastal 10 and Northeastern Coastal conferences.
The NCC won 19 games spread among seven teams. Four teams (Northeastern, Edenton, First Flight and Pasquotank) are either ranked or earning honorable mention votes in several state 2A polls.
Those four combined for 14 of the victories while the Nighthawks (3-0) and Panthers (4-0) are undefeated. *cue the chuga chuga chuga of the Pasquotank respect train and the roaring engines of 20 Jim Prince limited edition model Corvettes*
For the Coastal 10, non-conference is pure survival. Yay for conference games…which have already started there anyway. Even Plymouth, yes the 1-3 one, approves this message.
- Edenton (4-1) (LW 2): Yeah I went there. The Aces get the edge on the strength of their play against their toughest non-conference foe (defending 3A state champ Rocky Mount) compared to Northeastern’s (at Virginia’s Lake Taylor). Is it right? Maybe not. Both were losses after all, but Edenton had a legit shot to top the Gryphons. Plus the Aces are playing as good of football as any 2A team in the East — with 1A numbers. Beware new 1A Albemarle Conference in 2017: Keimon Bailey is just a junior and is near 1,000 yards rushing through just five games.
- Northeastern (3-1) (LW 1): Those escapes against Northern Nash and Wilson Hunt showed the Eagles can fight through adversity. So, was it adversity overload in Norfolk? If only a fake 26 penalties by the Titans from last season (noting a computer stat program is only as good as the person running it) could have helped NHS, who struggled with the option and listening to a PA announcer that proves it’s OK to talk during plays (it’s not OK to talk during plays). Note to self: don’t let Edenton see some of those runs off the option. Oh, wait, the video is already posted. At least the Eagles get to fly into league play in style against Bertie this Friday.
- Pasquotank (4-0) (LW 3): The Panthers keep making the doubters doubt why they doubted the Panthers and created so much doubt. I’m not making sense and I’m writing this late at night. So why starting doubting now after taking care of business through non-conference play? Oh, right, Edenton. But the idea of Pasquotank going 5-0 would be something.
- First Flight (3-0) (LW 4): Open date last Friday and the Nighthawks get one more taste of non-conference at Camden. I try not to compare in this fashion, but here goes anyway: Camden lost to Currituck, who lost to First Flight. All of those are rivalry games, so no telling if such a connection even matters to this Friday’s contest.
- Hertford County (2-3) (LW 5): Hung close with 4A South Central in an overtime defeat. Another squad happy for conference season, and who has best chance to move in these rankings because of it.
- Currituck (2-3) (LW 6): Plenty of senior leadership for the Knights should help them recover now that NCC season begins. A win in Ahoskie would definitely get them back to the good old days of Week 1 and 2.
- Bertie (1-3) (LW 7): So not everyone wants NCC play right now says the team looking at Northeastern this Friday after the Eagles suffered their first loss.
Honorable mention: Lake Taylor (Va.) FG posts and field maintenance.
- Plymouth (1-3) (LW 2): Remember us, the team that hasn’t lost a Coastal 10 game ever, never mind won last year’s 1A state title? Boy were the Vikings hopping mad to prove it against Camden. Enough they deserve their top spot back.
- Gates (2-2) (LW 1): No fair, the Red Barons won, too. Against Mattamuskeet tho.
- Perquimans (3-2) (LW 3): The Pirates nearly plummeted down the rankings after a dismal first half against Manteo. Fortunately for them the Redskins wore down and had some costly turnovers and penalties to help Perquimans cap a comeback and help keep those possible conference title hopes alive.
- Camden (1-3) (LW 4): In a year where there could be a dent in the Plymouth armor, the Bruins still could not bring down the Vikings, falling 41-7. Can they manage another second place Coastal finish?
- Manteo (1-4) (LW 5): The Redskins returned some players off injury in time for their game at Hertford, and it was obvious early on that they could well aid in a victory. That bodes well the rest of the way.
- Mattamuskeet (2-2) (LW 6): The Lakers’ best chance to beat anyone above them here is against Manteo. And that game will happen right now…meaning this Friday on Roanoke Island.
- Columbia (2-2) (LW 7): At least the Wildcats had a week to prepare for Plymouth. I tried.
- Creswell (0-3) (LW 8): Who knows if it even played Cape Hatteras last Friday? Go ahead, check MaxPreps, I’ll wait.
- Cape Hatteras (0-3) (LW 9): Do the Hurricanes still trot out a dog mascot and call him Cane-Nine? When you get it then let me know.
Honorable mention: Perquimans football players dressed as cheerleaders.
— Owen Hassell