Rams defeat Mattamuskeet

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 9, 2007

CREEKSVILLE – Whatever they charged to see the Mattamuskeet at Northampton-East football game here last night (Friday), LaQuan Tann was worth the price of admission.

Tann, the Rams senior quarterback, had a hand in three touchdowns as NCHS-East flattened an outmanned Mattamuskeet squad, 39-13, in the opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Class 1-A state play-offs.

With the win, Northampton-East, the #5 seed in the 1-A Eastern bracket, improves to 8-4 overall. The victory advances the Rams to next Friday night’s Eastern quarterfinals in Trenton against fourth-seeded Jones Senior High School (8-4 overall). Jones Senior, the Coastal Plains Conference champion, advanced by defeating Southeast Halifax, 37-8, last night.

While Tann and the NCHS-East offense were having their way with the Lakers, the Rams defense also stood tall in the win. The final stats were unavailable, but Mattamuskeet was stuck in reverse for the majority of last night’s contest. That came courtesy of a NCHS-East defense spearheaded by senior defensive back James Long and sophomore linebacker Richard Lassiter, each with an interception. Also aiding the defensive effort were senior linebackers Darrell Boone and Derrick Eley, senior lineman Karl Edmonds and junior lineman Tyrell Williams. Boone also made a diving interception to end the first half.

Mattamuskeet did manage to keep it close in the early going, battling the Rams to a 7-7 tie before Tann took things in his own hands by cutting up inside on an option keeper and then bouncing outside en route to a 59-yard touchdown run just past the midway mark of the first quarter. That staked the Rams to a lead (13-7) they would never surrender.

Later in the opening period, senior running back Rashawn Mercer barreled into the endzone from one-yard out to cap a short drive. Demar Smith booted the PAT to stake the Rams to a 20-7 lead.

The Rams started the second quarter inside Mattamuskeet territory after a big hit by Williams for a loss forced the Lakers to punt from deep inside their own territory. Set-up by Mercer’s 45-yard run, the Rams scored four plays later on Tann’s five-yard dash to paydirt. The conversion run failed, but East now held a 26-7 advantage.

Long recorded his interception on Mattamuskeet’s next series, putting the Rams in business at the Lakers 31 yardline. A bruising, 26-yard run by freshman Ja’Wan Boone, one where he broke away from three would-be tacklers, set-up Mercer’s one-yard TD run and Smith’s PAT that extended the Rams lead to 33-7.

NCHS-East ended its scoring with 4:20 left in the first half when Laquan Jacobs settled under a Lakers punt at his own 20 yardline. Eighty yards and two broken tackles later, Jacobs was standing in the endzone.

Tann made his presence known on Northampton’s first snap of the game where he tossed a 55-yard TD pass to Long. Smith added the PAT for a quick 7-0 lead.

Mattamuskeet’s only offensive score of the night came on a 12-yard TD pass from Robbie Lober to Michael Metcalf. Cecilio Cotter’s PAT kick tied the game at 7-7.

The Lakers only other score came on the defensive side of the ball where Chris Scrape swiped the ball from a NCHS-East running back and ran 59 yards to paydirt early in the fourth quarter.

NCHS-East head coach Greg Watford played his reserves throughout the second half.