Under conditions of heavy rain, high-speed winds — and a freshman quarterback making his first start, Seaforth weathered the storms in its homecoming win over Chatham Central with simplicity and ball security.
The Hawks took care of a slick football in Friday’s 35-6 win over the Bears, finishing the game with five rushing touchdowns without a fumble lost or interception thrown. Sophomore Nicholas Gregory also created turnovers on the defensive side, grabbing three interceptions.
Offensively, playing a clean game was partly due to a short playbook and making sure freshman quarterback Duncan Parker wasn’t overwhelmed. Parker was pulled up from junior varsity after junior Walter Entrekin went down with an injury in Seaforth’s loss to Cummings.
“(We were) keeping it simple,” Seaforth head coach Terrance Gary said. “We had to cut it down to basics and ran the same three plays the whole night pretty much.”
For Seaforth, running a skinny playbook wasn’t hard to do with Central struggling to handle the wet ball.
Thanks to Gregory’s first interception in the first quarter and a fumble recovery at Central’s 11-yard line minutes later, the Hawks were handed favorable field position early on.
The Bears also couldn’t stop the run, allowing Seaforth to protect the ball even more by keeping it out of the air.
Following the first quarter fumble recovery, Parker handed the ball off to senior running back Anthony Vesce for the Hawks’ first touchdown of the night.
Vesce scored twice more, including another short touchdown run following a Central fumble in the second quarter to put Seaforth up, 22-0.
“He’s so explosive,” Gary said. “One of our game plans is finding ways to get him the ball in space and give him the ball, period, so he can make plays.”
Seaforth’s coaching staff only let Parker throw a few passes in the foul weather, with most of the attempts being dropped. Despite the lack of opportunities to throw, Parker still handled his first start well with zero turnovers.
“He has a lot of potential,” Gary said. “If he keeps working hard, he’ll be good.”
Defensively, the Hawks threw a turnover party, giving Parker and the Seaforth offense more opportunities to score.
Even with a wet ball in the rain, Gregory snagged almost everything that came his way. His play was huge for the Seaforth defense as capitalizing on turnover opportunities hasn’t always been a strength until Friday.
“We put our hands on a lot of balls this past season, but we haven’t come up with many,” Gary said. “Just take advantage of the opportunity. When the ball comes, you pick it off. I might have (Gregory) call the coin toss next week since he’s so lucky.”
Seaforth will need Gregory’s luck and the rest of the team to play well again Friday when cross-town rivals Northwood arrive for a Mid-Carolina 1A/2A conference showdown.
Sitting at fourth place with a 2-1 conference record, the Hawks still have five games left to fight for a playoff spot.
With just one more win, Seaforth can also set a new record for most varsity wins in its short program history.