Knights shut out Panthers in league opener
Currituck 21 Pasquotank
By Mike Wood
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Fierce, hard hitting, and hotly contested.
All of these terms would be accurate in describing the action Friday night at Pasquotank County High School.
However, in the end, Currituck made the decisive plays in the scoring zone to break open a tight defensive battle and defeat the Panthers by a final score of 21-0.
It was the Northeastern Coastal Conference opener for both teams.
It was evident from the start that both teams were keyed up to playing tough team defense.
On the first possession of the game, Pasquotank stopped the Knights on four consecutive rushing plays to take over on downs on their own 40 yard line.
On third down, Panther quarterback Jonathan Lamberson passed to wide receiver Jonathon Barrett for 22 yards and a first down on the Currituck 35 yard line.
However, the Knights pushed the Panthers back, with the big play being a third down sack by Currituck defensive end Jalen Owens.
After the Pasquotank punt, the Panthers again stopped Currituck from achieving a first down with defensive lineman Clint Mallory tracking down Currituck quarterback Jayden Calloway for a loss.
A bad snap and the resulting short punt had Pasquotank in business at the Currituck 28 yard line.
Tailback Jaquan Smith picked up three yards, but then the Panthers committed three straight illegal procedure, or false start penalties, that took them out of scoring range.
It is not yet Halloween, but Pasquotank was haunted by infractions the entire game.
The Panthers were charged with 11 penalties in the first half alone.
The calls changed field position, and constantly prevented Pasquotank from establishing any momentum or consistency.
Pasquotank had their own problems in the kicking game.
A high snap prevented the Panther punter from getting off a kick, and he was tackled at his own 35 yard line.
On third down, Calloway scrambled for an 11 yard gain and a Currituck first down.
The elusive quarterback gained a second first down on a keeper to make it first and goal as the opening quarter ended.
The Panther defense rallied.
After a procedure penalty set the Knights back five yards, they stopped a Kentrial Harvey rush for no gain.
The Panthers then had Calloway stopped in the backfield for a loss, but a face mask penalty moved the ball to the five yard line.
This time Calloway went left on a keeper and got into the end zone just inside the pylon.
The kick was good by Thomas Mansfield and Currituck led 7-0 at 10:26 of the second quarter.
The Panthers moved the ball on the ensuing kickoff.
Starting at their own 33, Smith carried twice for nine yards, and then on third down he started up the middle, but cut to the left sideline for a 21 yard gain to the Currituck 36 yard line.
Again, Pasquotank could not capitalize as the next four plays netted minus yardage.
The defensive struggle continued as the teams exchanged possessions with no serious threats.
Currituck would get the ball at the Panther 40.
After Panther Te’Shawn Holley sacked the quarterback for a six yard loss, it appeared that Pasquotank had Calloway trapped for another loss.
However, the Currituck junior escaped, and reversed his field for a 12 yard gain.
Harvey carried twice to move the ball to the 25 yard line. Currituck then went to the air as Calloway threw high to tight end Zak Harlow.
The 6-foot-4 junior reached up with one hand, tapped the ball and then brought it under control for the touchdown.
The superb athletic play was huge for the Knights, extending their lead to 14-0 with just a minute to go in the first half.
Neither team could score in the third quarter.
Pasquotank recovered a fumble to stop Currituck, and Knight defensive back Alex Dupree intercepted a pass to stop a Panther drive.
In the fourth quarter Currituck ran the option play effectively.
A six play drive culminated in running back Traveon Powell taking the option pitch from Calloway 25 yards down the left sideline for the final score.
Pasquotank wasn’t through.
They embarked on an 11 play drive that moved the ball from their own 20 all the way to the Currituck 11 yard line.
The big plays were a 20 yard run by Smith on a delayed draw, an 11 yard rush by Sam Bingham, and two more tough runs by Smith.
A diving catch by Barrett on a Lamberson pass on fourth down came up just short of a first and goal.
Currituck coach Paul Bossi was pleased with the win, and had praise for his opponent.
“It was a very hard fought game. We knew Pasquotank would fight right to the end. They never let up, and neither did we. This win is a good gage on where we are, a big conference win, and now we have Northeastern next week. We had some injury problems , but we are healthy now and ready for the challenge.”
Calloway finished with 102 rushing yards on 16 carries to go with his 25 yard touchdown pass to lead Currituck. Jaquan Smith was the workhorse for Pasquotank, accumulating 86 yards on 17 carries.
Editor’s Note: Pasquotank head football coach RaShawn Spencer declined to speak to The Daily Advance after the game.
It is the second time this season the first-year coach at Pasquotank declined to speak to The Daily Advance following a loss that The Daily Advance covered.
Spencer declined to speak after Pasquotank’s 47-0 loss to John A. Holmes on Aug. 30.
— Malcolm Shields, Daily Advance sports editor