09/15/05 — Game of the week -- Southern Wayne and Goldsboro High

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Game of the week -- Southern Wayne and Goldsboro High

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 15, 2005 2:04 PM

The leagues have changed. However, the rivalries in Wayne County remain the same.

For the second time in as many weeks and the third time in four weeks, Goldsboro — formerly in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference and now in the Eastern Plains 2-A — will square off against a county and former conference foe.

This week, Southern Wayne visits the Cougar Den as both teams look to continue to improve with their respective league schedules beginning in just two weeks.

“The county rivals are a part of the tradition. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Goldsboro coach Maurice Jackson about keeping the larger 3-A schools on the Cougars’ schedule. “A lot of people make more of these games than maybe they should, but they are helping us get better. Hopefully, we are helping them get prepared for their conference, as well.”

Goldsboro enters the game with a 1-3 mark after last week’s 46-27 loss at home to Charles B. Aycock. The Saints (2-2) also put up plenty of points in a shootout — posting their highest offensive output in more than a year in a 47-34 victory over Western Harnett in Dudley.

Coach Bob Warren’s Saints racked up 413 yards of offense with sophomore Anthony Council and senior Derrick Lathan combining for over 300 yards on the ground behind a developing offensive line. Council, the fullback in the Saints misdirection offense, may have had the bigger night with 251 yards on the ground with five all-purpose touchdowns, but Warren seems equally pleased with Lathan’s running from the two-back spot.

“We were very pleased in the improvement we had from the weeks before as far as opening holes and creating holes for our other backs besides the fullback,” Warren said. “We’ve been opening up a few holes here and there, but it was promising for us that we had a few more avenues. Our passing game has also improved and the key is continuing to improve.

“One game showed we have (improved), but we’ve got to continue to improve to be where we want to be.”

Save some trouble with fumbling, Council has started his sophomore season in impressive fashion. The smooth, long-striding runner is averaging over 180 yards per game with six rushing touchdowns in four games. Jackson believes clearly his defense’s key is slowing Council.

“We had some guys out of position not making plays last week, so we changed some personnel on defense,” Jackson said. “We wanted to get more speed on the field. We understand Council is a good back and he’s going to touch it at least 30 times, so we wanted to put some speed on the field and keep him contained. Last week, Aycock was getting outside too freely.

“Twenty-seven points is enough to win, so we were happy with that, but we were disappointed with the points we gave up.”

In order to slow Goldsboro’s offense and running back Treme Boone, Southern Wayne’s defense will have to stop the big play. In Friday’s win over Western Harnett, the Saint defense controlled the Eagles in the first half, only to see slippery Western Harnett running back Trey Cole get loose for three touchdowns of 45 or more yards (one rushing, two receiving).

“Goldsboro’s got the threat to pass and run, and we’ve got to play good, sound defense and try to limit the big plays they make,” Warren said. “They have big play-makers. We need to cut down the big plays and make them drive the length of the field … make them work for everything they get.”

Boone is averaging 106 yards per game with seven touchdowns in four games.

Southern Wayne returns home on Sept. 23 to face Southern Nash with an open date on Sept. 30, before opening ECC play on Oct. 7 in Dudley against another rival, Eastern Wayne. Goldsboro hosts Winston-Salem Carver on Saturday, Sept. 24 and also is open on Sept. 30. The Cougars face Tarboro at home in their EPC opener on Oct. 7.