Game of the week - Eastern Wayne at Southern Wayne
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on October 4, 2007 2:56 PM
DUDLEY -- Coaching staffs at Eastern Wayne and Southern Wayne didn't need any extra incentive to motivate their respective teams this week.
One date said it all -- Friday, Oct. 5.
The county archrivals kick off their respective Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference seasons at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
"You shouldn't really have to say anything (to the kids) because it's a big rivalry and a conference game," said Southern Wayne head coach Bob Warren. "It speaks for itself. We expect our kids to come out ready to play."
The Saints (2-4 overall) are coming off a bye week after enduring a 49-7 defeat against state-ranked and unbeaten Rocky Mount two weeks ago. The Warriors (4-2) seek their second consecutive win after a sluggish 7-0 decision over winless North Lenoir.
Each team runs the wing-T offense and both have struggled to click on all cylinders for 48 minutes. However, neither Warren nor Price seem overly concerned about the offensive shortcomings.
"We haven't pushed any kind of panic button yet," said Eastern Wayne coach Jeff Price. "We've seen some good defenses the last few weeks. I think we'll be OK down the stretch."
Price sees a lack of focus as one of the biggest cancers to his team's offensive success. Missed assignments and penalties have killed potential scoring drives.
The Warriors hope Hassan Best, who has rushed for 732 yards, can provide some offensive punch. He's joined in the backfield by Dwight Ulmer and bruising fullback Eric Brofft.
Warren realizes one of the Saints' biggest keys to victory will be how they contain the Warrior backfield.
"We're going to have to try to keep them from making the big plays," he said. "I don't think you can completely shut any of them down. We're just hoping to slow them down."
The one constant from the Warriors this season has been their defense. Against North Lenoir, Eastern Wayne held the Hawks to just 75 yards of total offense.
"We've played pretty good defense all year long and we're extremely proud of that fact," said Price. "But each week poses a new challenge."
The new challenge will likely come from 256-pound running back Kelvin Flow. The senior has been running over and through the competition this season to the tune of 913 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"(Flow's) a solid, hard-core, strong fullback," said Price. "It's going to take a lot of effort on defense to get him down."
During the off week, Warren has been focused on his team's lack of offensive success in the red zone. The Saints are emphasizing better blocking and are hoping to see the results on Friday.
"We need to be more successful putting points on the board," said Warren. "That's what we're trying to work towards."
Regardless of offensive success, Friday night's game should be a dog fight.
"We'll be excited," said Price. "It's always a big game when you play someone local -- especially with it being a conference game as well. It's going to be an important game for both teams."
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