Football playoffs: Aycock, N. Duplin and Kenan prepare for next round
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 16, 2006 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Playing an inspired football team with a short-handed backfield has veteran Charles B. Aycock coach Randy Pinkowski a little concerned. But he's not packing a white towel for this week's trip to Southern Alamance.
"I'm down to a JV tailback," said Pinkowski. "But bring them on anyway."
Senior John Covington filled in for an injured Dontay Taylor last Friday and churned out 96 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run. Covington went down in practice Tuesday with the same injury -- a severe ankle sprain -- that benched Taylor last week at West Brunswick.
Pinkowski expects neither will see much playing time against the Patriots. He'll rely on Dominique Young, who averaged more than 150 yards a game for the Golden Falcons, on the junior varsity scene. Tyheim Pitt might also get a few snaps.
C.B. Aycock (8-4) faces a Southern Alamance team that tragically lost its head coach nearly a month ago. The inspired Patriots (6-6) have carried that emotion onto the football field. They stunned Southern Nash in their opening-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-AA (large-school) playoff game.
"I can understand why they're playing inspired right now," said Pinkowski. "It's one of those things you hate to hear about happening, but I think we, as coaches, put ourselves at risk. If it's not a car wreck, it's the stress of the job.
"My thoughts go out to his players and family. I can't imagine what that's like having to go through something like that."
Southern Alamance features a pass-oriented offense which spreads an opposing defense horizontally on the field. Pinkowski says the Golden Falcons will have to pick their poison.
"Do you play close to the line and jam receivers, and take the risk of one breaking past you," said Pinkowski. "Or, do you lay back and keep everything in front of you. I haven't seen anybody (on film) have any success either way."
Pinkowski hopes to disguise his team's defensive fronts, but not confuse his players at the same time.
The Patriot defense lives by a "bend-but-don't-break" philosophy that's worked well. Opposing teams have consistently moved the ball up and down the field, but Southern's defense has stiffened near the goal line on several occasions.
Aycock has sustained several long drives this season and Pinkowski thinks that could work to his team's advantage. Avoiding penalties and turnovers will be important, however.
CALYPSO -- Rosman competes in the bruising and physical Smoky Mountain Conference, and has compiled a 4-8 record this season.
North Duplin coach Hugh Martin has warned his Rebels not to let the Tigers' lack of success lull them to sleep. Rosman, the No. 12 seed, has lost six games by a touchdown or less.
"They're much better than their record indicates," said Martin. "They're very physical on both sides of the ball. They execute very well the things they do."
Rosman runs a wing-bone offense that features wishbone-type plays with option and power. The backfield is not big, but is quick and hard-nosed, and runs well behind a decent-sized offensive line.
Martin recalls seeing a version of the scheme when the Rebels recently played Rosewood. Assignment defense is critical and if a defender gets caught up in covering a teammate's position, then the Tigers could make it a long night for the Rebels.
"If you don't do your job, then somebody is running free," said Martin.
North Duplin (9-2) expects to see Rosman's defense crowd the box and camouflage its 4-3 scheme depending on what offensive look the Rebels give each down.
Martin says the keys to success are controlling the ball, controlling the clock and playing solid defense. The Rebels have allowed opposing offenses to accumulate less than 200 yards of total offense in five consecutive games, and seven overall.
"We've got some players there who know their positions very well and run to the ball very well," said Martin, whose defense has a plus-11 turnover ratio. "We have to carry out our assignments and learn our Monday-through-Thursday lessons in practice.
"Friday, we need to play with pride and put a good effort into playing defense."
It's the first-ever playoff meeting between two schools steeped in tradition. The Rebels are playing their 47th postseason game since 1972, while the Tigers are participating in their 51st.
WARSAW -- Ken Avent Jr. got a first-hand look at Louisburg last season while coaching at North Johnston.
He says the Warriors haven't changed much.
They've gotten a year older, a little bit bigger and more confident in their two tight-end wishbone set. They average 40 points a game, but boosted that to nearly 50 during Tar-Roanoke Athletic Conference play.
Louisburg (9-3) is expected to challenge a James Kenan defense that yields just seven points and 177.1 yards per game.
"You've got to play your keys defensively and our linebackers can't be in the backfield looking for the ball, or they'll be gone," said Avent Jr. "You have to be more disciplined with the linebackers and I think that's going to be a big key defensively."
Neither team has passed too much this season. Louisburg, like James Kenan, prefers to establish the running game and throw on occasion. Each team has the athletes to break a big play at any time.
The No. 2-ranked Tigers (12-0) played sluggish in last week's 25-point victory over Heide Trask. Avent Jr. expected a lethargic start since his team pulled off a huge win the week before against archrival Wallace-Rose Hill.
Lethargy can't play a role this week.
"They're aware that you can't have an off night and that you have to practice hard," said Avent Jr. "I've always believed that things take care of themselves on Friday night if you have a good week of practice."
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