2-A playoffs preview
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 8, 2007 1:50 PM
Don't break out the basketballs yet.
Goldsboro has some unfinished business to attend to in football.
After enduring a winless campaign in 2006, the Cougars have turned the corner this season. A new coach and two 1,000-yard rushers catapulted Goldsboro to the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference title.
The Cougars (8-3 overall) will entertain East Duplin in an opening-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A (small school) contest Friday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Cougar Stadium.
Even first-year head coach Eric Reid has been surprised by the turn of events.
"It's been exciting," Reid said. "I never would have expected it would happen this soon. There's a buzz in the community that there hasn't been in a while. It's not about me though, it's about the kids.
"This was my vision to bring pride and success back to the program, and my players and coaches have bought into that wholeheartedly."
Goldsboro carries a six-game win streak into Friday's game and owes part of its success to the backfield tandem of Anthony Council and Hykeem Coley. Council (1,638 yards, 20 touchdowns) and Coley (1,326 yards, 16 TDs) have brought plenty of explosiveness to an offense that has averages 34 points a game.
"I'm very proud of our running game," Reid said. All of our opponents have really game planned to stop our running attack and we've been able to stay on task with our strategy. That's 90 percent of our offense."
East Duplin (6-5) puts its three-game win streak on the line. Despite finishing a game above .500, East Duplin's five losses have come by an average of less than 10 points.
"We have to stay focused at the job at hand," Reid said. "It's important to stay focused and not take East Duplin lightly. We realize the big picture at hand, and I'm expecting us to come out and play a solid football game on Friday."
Bunn at Greene Central
SNOW HILL -- Objective number one Friday night for Jim Bob Bryant and his Greene Central Rams could very well be slowing down Bunn's Brandon Barnes.
Barnes (6-foot-0, 185 pounds) is a running back/wide receiver rated by many scouts as the top recruit in the state. He averaged over seven yards a carry and 25 yards a reception as a junior.
The Wildcats (8-2 overall) have won four in a row.
"They're real big up front," Bryant said. "They have a lot of athleticism. They run the wing- T and they're very diversified on offense. They're going to be a big challenge."
Meanwhile, the Rams have won three straight and four of their last five. The offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders with quarterback William Brown and receiver Curtis Braswell spearheading the attack.
Brown has amassed over 2,200 yards of offense, and accounted for 22 touchdowns this season. Braswell has turned into Brown's favorite target, hauling in 43 passes for over 850 yards and 11 scores.
"Curtis is a really good wide receiver," Bryant said. "He runs good routes, makes good catches, and he always has a chance to go the distance. William has started picking up their chemistry as far changing routes at the line of scrimmage."
Facing a tradition-rich program that will expect to exit Snow Hill with a victory is a welcomed task for Bryant. Especially, since he would like to see the Rams restore some tradition of their own.
"We know going into the game Bunn is going to be the favorite," Bryant said. "WWe're an eight seed and they're a nine seed. Bunn has a little more football tradition as of late. If we're going to make a name for ourselves we have to beat teams like Bunn."
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