Falcons, Warriors still have plenty to play for Friday
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 26, 2006 2:46 PM
Charles B. Aycock tumbled from the unbeaten ranks in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play a week ago.
Eastern Wayne is mired in a two-game skid against ECC opposition.
But the season's not over.
With two weeks left in regular-season play, each team still has plenty of work left on the table. The Golden Falcons (7-2, 2-1 ECC) seek a first-round home playoff game and possibly a share of the league championship. The Warriors (5-4, 1-2) need to even their conference slate and improve their postseason position.
So, the stakes remain high.
Or do they?
The two ECC rivals, it seems, are taking blue-collar approaches to Friday's clash at Little Big Horn. Aycock has picked apart game film from the Hunt loss, and spent the week fine-tuning the fundamentals.
"We went back, studied and are trying to clean up the minutest of things that the average fan doesn't see, but as coaches we know have to be absolutely right from the first step to the last step," said C.B. Aycock coach Randy Pinkowski.
"That's been our focus this week."
Eastern Wayne has two dilemmas this week. The Warriors must execute against a disciplined team that doesn't beat itself. They also must avoid crucial mistakes, physical and mental, that have plagued them in recent outings.
A fourth-quarter turnover allowed Wilson Beddingfield to seize a come-from-behind victory last Friday. Turnovers the previous week and a stagnant offensive effort proved fatal against Hunt.
"We're in good shape spirit-wise and we know the last few weeks have been tough with the Wilson schools," said Warriors coach Jeff Price. "We know that last week was one of those games that we allowed to get away ... a game we should have won.
"Until we start finishing games, we're not going to get respect (from other teams)."
Pinkowski undoubtedly respects the Warriors.
Eastern Wayne's defense has been solid the last two weeks and it came up with two big plays against Beddingfield. The special teams has shown breakaway capability throughout the season. And the Warriors' speed concerns Pinkowski most of all.
If the Golden Falcons fail to play sound defense and don't hustle to the football, it could be a long night.
"I don't want them to be opportunistic. I want them to earn everything they get," said Pinkowski. "We need to make them drive the length of the field and get rid of their quick-score mentality. I want to see if they can hammer away at our defense for 10 or 12 plays ... drive the ball the length of the field.
"They might be the only team we come closing to matching up with, but I think he's got us beat in the speed area overall."
Price expects to see a disciplined Aycock team.
"Their offense can do a lot of different things and do them well," said Price. "They've got a solid defensive package that's worked well for them all year long.
"They don't make errors in the special teams. As far as preparation, we have to be deliberate in what we do and not let mistakes get in the way."
Price contends every conference game is important and the importance grows each week. He quickly added that the "sidebar" of playoff seeding needs to be put aside for now.
"We need to get our lunch pails and go to work, not get distracted by the things that surround each game," said Price, who is 0-3 against C.B. Aycock. "Any conference game, in my opinion and we enforce that opinion on our players, is a big game.
"Our approach is that each week is a new game and our goal is to win that week."
C.B. Aycock has won four consecutive games in the series since both teams joined the ECC in 2001.
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