11/08/07 — Saints face familiar, dangerous foe

View Archive

Saints face familiar, dangerous foe

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 8, 2007 1:49 PM

DUDLEY -- When head coach Bob Warren talks about Southern Wayne's opponent in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A (small school) football playoffs, the tone of his voice changes.

The Saints entertain league foe Wilson Beddingfield on Friday. The Bruins, fresh off an overtime win against county rival Wilson Hunt, would certainly love to avenge a 14-12 loss in Dudley in mid-October.

"We played Beddingfield about four games ago," Warren said. "It was a very close game. They're a very talented team. We're going to have to play our very best and limit our mistakes."

The Bruins' spread offense can present a number of challenges for defenses. Quarterback Lance Price entered the win over Hunt averaging nearly 25 passes a contest. Beddingfield's running game has gotten going as of late, accounting for three touchdowns last week.

"They throw the ball and run a lot of timing routes," Warren said. "They're very talented in that area, but they have some very good running backs, too. We certainly need to try to sustain some drives offensively, to try and limit the amount of time their offense is on the field."

Southern Wayne's two-headed backfield monster of Kelvin Flow and Tristan Bass continues to torment defenses. The pair combined for nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns in last Friday's 41-16 rout of Charles B. Aycock. Both Flow and Bass have eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark this season.

"We are a running offense," Warren said. "We have shown we can throw the ball a little bit, too. Our offensive line has done a good job all year of opening up holes."

After a difficult schedule led to an 0-3 start, the Saints rallied to win the Eastern Carolina Conference title in rather impressive fashion. They've won five games in a row, and have scored 36 or more points four different times this season. However, Warren is quick to point out that come kickoff on Friday night, none of that matters.

"Everything that we've done so far has gotten us to where we're at right now," Warren said. "This is another season, and we have to take it one game at a time. We have to make sure we're ready to play mentally, to where we can perform all 48 minutes.

"We have to get out there and execute right to start with."

E. Wayne at NE Guilford

After concluding the regular season with back-to-back losses by a combined four points, the postseason couldn't get here soon enough for Eastern Wayne.

"We're excited get to play again this week when others aren't," Warriors head coach Jeff Price said. "We've had two close losses the last two weeks, both in the last six or seven seconds. It's frustrating, but we can't dwell on that. Your record now means nothing, it's all about who can win and advance."

Unfortunately for the Warriors (5-6 overall), the task won't get any easier on Friday night when they travel to McLeansville to face Northeast Guilford (9-2) in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-AA (large school) playoffs. The Rams' losses have occurred against Reidsville and Western Alamance, the state's No. 1-ranked 2-A and 3-A teams, respectively.

Northeast also brings a four-game winning streak to the table, and an offense that has failed to score at least 21 points only three times this year.

Meanwhile, Eastern Wayne's defense has been a bright spot this season, often overshadowing an offense that at times has struggled to find consistency. The Warriors allow less than 16 points a contest, and their six losses were by an average of less than five points.

"Defense is always a key element in football," Price said. "Sometimes offenses are going to sputter, and more often than not teams are going to have defenses that are able to keep you in games more than your offense can. Our defense has done a tremendous job all year long of keeping us in ballgames."

Having been the victims of misfortune seemingly all season long, perhaps now, when the stadium lights seem to shine a little brighter with the season on the line, lady luck will begin to shine on the Warriors.

At least, Price hopes so.

"You tell yourself eventually things are going to drop our way," he said. "You just keep working your plan, and thinking that eventually there's going to be a payoff."