Football preview: Goldsboro High
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 21, 2008 1:35 PM
The loss of two star-studded tailbacks who combined for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns to graduation -- coupled with the academic ineligibility of a returning quarterback -- would give any head coach a free pass on the road to pessimism.
Not Goldsboro's Eric Reid.
The second-year coach isn't a "glass half empty" type of guy.
Gone are heralded halfbacks Anthony Council and Hykeem Coley. Senior Dustin Uzzado threw for over 900 yards last season and Reid had installed a new shotgun package in hopes of tailoring his offense around his savvy gunslinger.
That was, of course, until Uzzado was ruled academically ineligible and Reid's plans for his offense took a drastically different direction.
Senior Tyrelle Jackson and junior Devonte Waters have battled during summer workouts to fill the void at quarterback. A decision on the starter was expected to be made after the team's final preseason scrimmage.
"Right now it's just a wait and see situation," said Reid. "Waters may have a slight advantage because he's been in the system a bit longer. Jackson is taller and his foot work is not quite as crisp, but he's a strong pocket passer.
"Waters can get out and run a little, but his arm isn't quite as strong."
Senior fullback Antonio Parker, Freddie Jones and Andre Montgomery should see the majority of the touches in the backfield. Reid has spent a good portion of the offseason convincing his new stable of backs of the importance of not trying to replace Coley and Council. Instead, he's encouraging them to etch their own names into the tradition-rich pages of Goldsboro High's history books.
"They knew what Council did and what Coley did," said Reid. "They really looked up to those two guys. They have set their goals and they're motivated to come out and put the performance down, and put their name in the legacy here."
Speedster receiver Enrique Moses will be counted on to give the Cougars offense some balance in the passing game.
Defensive tackle Carlos Atkinson returns along with Parker, who should anchor the linebacking corps. Parker has been a workout junkie over the summer and averaged two interceptions a game during passing league scrimmages. Montgomery and Jones will be relied on to pressure opposing quarterbacks from the defensive end positions.
Reid guided the Cougars to an 8-4 record in his first season on the sidelines, including a 5-0 mark and a conference title in the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference.
However, Goldsboro's season came to an abrupt end with a 41-35 home loss to 14th-seeded East Duplin in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A (small-school) playoffs. The bitter memories of watching seniors walk off the field for the last time while witnessing an opponent celebrate at the Cougars' Den have fueled Reid's squad all summer.
Rewriting that final chapter will be toward the top of Goldsboro's list of goals in 2008.
"The East Duplin game left a sour taste in so many people's mouths," said Reid. "Those returning seniors have vowed to get that sour taste out of their mouths and I think they will set the tempo for our teams of the future.
"Last year was very enlightening and we hope we can make that work to our advantage."
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