Prep football preview -- Saints hope to build on win
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 2, 2004 1:57 PM
DUDLEY -- A 1-0 record might not hold any major significance after one football game, but its value toward confidence is priceless.
Just ask Southern Wayne.
The youthful, inexperienced Saints carry that unblemished mark into Friday's home opener against long-time nemesis Wilmington Hoggard. The Vikings enter 0-1 after a one-point loss to Fayetteville Douglas Byrd last week.
"It was nice to win, but this is a new week and we've got to be ready," veteran Southern Wayne coach Bob Warren said. "We've been working on everything. We're not where we want to be in any phase of the game. We're glad to be where we are, but we've got a long way to go.
"I am sure that they're working extremely hard and disappointed with their loss last week."
Hoggard and Byrd combined for more than 1,000 yards total offense in a 43-42 shootout. A last-minute fumble on a blindside hit allowed Byrd to escape with the win.
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Miley sliced the Byrd secondary for 389 yards and five touchdowns which covered 14, 28, 21, 34 and 34 yards. Wes Steinman caught three touchdown passes -- 28, 21 and 34 yards -- in the Vikings' one-back, multiple-receiver scheme.
The smaller Saints, who average about 200 pounds on the defensive line, face the staunt challenge of slowing down the Vikings' attack. Warren doesn't want to get involved in a shootout.
"Hoggard is one of the best offensive teams that we will see," he said. "They are very explosive in the air and throw quite a bit. They pass-block very well and have good receivers.
"We're going to have to get some pressure on the quarterback where he doesn't have time to sit back there and pick apart the defensive backfield. They had some big plays and sustained drives (against Byrd).
"They did a lot of things well."
Southern Wayne lost momentum in the second half against Wilmington Laney last week. However, Warren's team didn't quit and executed well in the come-from-behind victory.
Montee Flow's one-yard plunge and Walter Best's nine-yard touchdown run, the eventual game winner, helped the Saints prevail 29-26. Brian White's 42-yard jaunt on a second-and-long play, and Best's crucial fourth-down conversion preserved the season-opening victory.
Warren couldn't have asked for a better performance.
"I thought we stayed composed the whole game," he said. "When things got rough, we responded positively. I think for our first game with young players in key positions, we took a step forward.
"I was pleased with our determination and ability to come back when we were down."
The growing pangs will continue this week.
The Saints must utilize their quickness and execute well in their blocking schemes -- on offense and defense. Warren expects Hoggard to show four- and five-man fronts on defense, and Southern Wayne's offensive line must deny the linebackers penetration into their backfield.
"We'll base our game plan on what we can do to slow them down the best we can," Warren said. "They're going to have to grow up quick and that's what we're asking them to do. They made a step toward that this past Friday night.
"We just hope to keep improving and get ready for the conference."
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.
Here's a quick glimpse at the area games scheduled Friday:
Greene Central (1-0) at C.B. Aycock (1-1)
This just might be the "other game of the week" involving two of the area's better football teams at this point in the season. The Rams limited Beddingfield's multiple-formation offense to 73 yards, and displayed a tenacity on defense that pleased second-year coach Jim Bob Bryant. Meanwhile, the Golden Falcons are proving they can play with quality teams and this will be another great test for Randy Pinkowski's veteran club.
at Elizabeth City Northeastern (1-1)
Two touchdowns in eight quarters of action just isn't getting the job done. The Cougars need to find some consistent offensive punch among its youth and develop another receiver to go along with Jacob Sykes. The defense, projected to be the team's strength in the offseason, must step up and stop the opponent in critical situations.
Hobbton (1-0) at Rosewood (1-1)
Banged and bruised from a county battle last week, the Eagles won't appear too wounded with the Wildcats coming to Branch Pope Field. This game is a shootout year after year, and Rosewood appears to have the better offensive weapons.
Kinston (1-1) at North Lenoir (0-2)
Bragging rights are at stake in the annual "Backyard Brawl," but one has to wonder if this will be a one-sided brawl. The Vikings have picked up where they left off a year ago and have turned in two good efforts the first two weeks of the season. North Lenoir has yet to play up to its potential.
North Duplin (0-1) at Topsail (0-1)
The Rebels need to find some offensive punch against a talented Topsail team that seems to be searching for its own identity. North Duplin's lone score was a safety in its season-opening loss at Southside. Meanwhile, the Pirates played hard for three quarters, but gave up 15 critical points to North Johnston before halftime a week ago.
Eastern Wayne (0-1)
at Havelock (0-1)
Non-conference games are about preparation for league play and the Rams should give the Warriors another stern test. Eastern Wayne is looking to minimize its mistakes and present second-year coach Jeff Price with his first non-conference win since taking over the program in 2003.
North Johnston (2-0)
at South Lenoir (0-2)
The Blue Devils have had trouble stopping the opponents' running attack and has fallen victim to crucial mistakes in the early season. The Panthers are off to a surprising 2-0 start and have one of the area's top skill-position tandem with quarterback Brad Holloman and tailback Adrian Briscoe.
at Spring Creek (0-2)
The Raiders invading Seven Springs this week are not the Raiders of "old." Midway hasn't experienced too much success on the gridiron since Tommy Sloan's retirement from coaching football. Meanwhile, the Gators will attempt to snap an eight-game skid which began, ironically, the week after a win against the Raiders in Spivey's Corner last season.
James Kenan (2-0)
at Heide Trask (2-0)
Athlete vs. athlete. The Tigers rolled up an impressive shutout against Roanoke last week, while the Titans struggled to defeat Swansboro. Kenan won the first-ever meeting between the two schools last season and this one should be a dandy down at Rocky Point.
at Princeton (1-0)
The Bulldogs snapped an 11-game losing streak dating back to the 2002 season with last week's victory at Dixon. Keith Johnston rambled for more than 200 yards, the first time that's happened since the Mike Atkinson era in the 1980s. Union is talented and utilizes its speed well. Princeton faces another good challenge.
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