Game of the week: Goldsboro at Farmville Central
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on October 18, 2007 2:51 PM
There's a new attitude at Goldsboro this season.
A year removed from a winless a campaign, the Cougars have been transformed thanks to a new head coach and a explosive running back.
In his first season as head coach, Eric Reid has righted the ship and has his team sitting tied atop of the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference standings.
On Friday, they'll face their last big test of the regular season -- defending EPC champion Farmville Central.
"It's one of the biggest games of the season for us," said Reid. "We know we'll have to bring our 'A' game in order to come out of there with a victory. We're working hard this week and the kids realize what's at stake."
Farmville Central (5-3 overall, 2-0 EPC) features an abundance of talented skill athletes led by quarterback Richard Williams. The dual-threat quarterback can beat teams with his legs or his arm, which is quite an accomplishment for a player who had never taken a snap at the position prior to the season.
"He's a dynamic athlete," said Farmville Central head coach Dixon Sauls. "He's played the position very well this season."
Running back Immanuel Cox and wide receiver Devon Atkinson join Williams as dangerous weapons in the Jaguars arsenal.
"We spent the latter part of our coaching meeting trying to figure out how we're going to stop their offense," said Reid. "We're very concerned about Williams. We've got some wrinkles put into the defense that will hopefully counteract the things he's able to do."
Like Farmville Central, Goldsboro (5-3, 2-0) has its own share of talented athletes led by running back Anthony Council. A transfer from Southern Wayne, Council has been everything the Cougars have hoped for and more. In last Friday's 38-28 win over Greene Central, Council exploded for a season-high 305 yards on the ground.
If worrying about Council wasn't enough, the Jaguars will also have to contend with fellow running back Hykeem Coley. Together, the dynamic duo has rushed for a combined 1,944 yards and 22 touchdowns this season.
"We're blessed to have them," said Reid.
While the running game of the Cougars certainly scares Sauls, the passing of Dustin Uzzardo is what is keeping the coach up late at night.
"They do a nice job with the running game, but the big concern of ours is their play-action pass," said Sauls. "Defensively, we haven't played really well all year. We've struggled, so Goldsboro will be a real challenge for us.
"We'd hate to get into a shootout with them, but we may have to do that. It could be whoever scores last is the last one standing."
The Cougars already succeeded in winning one such game last week. To do so again would put the Cougars in excellent position for an EPC title with struggling teams North Pitt and North Lenoir closing out their regular-season schedule.
Farmville Central leads the all-time series 2-0 since the newest EPC realignment in 2005. Goldsboro, meanwhile, is seeking its third road win of the season.
"The players realize what's at stake," said Reid. "It's left up to them. It's right there in their grasp. It's just a question of how bad do they want it?"
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