08/28/08 — Cross-town battle

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Cross-town battle

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 28, 2008 1:03 PM

When county rivals Goldsboro and Eastern Wayne lock horns Friday night, fans of both programs may see something they're not accustomed to seeing -- more passing.

The Cougars and Warriors moved the football consistently through the air in their respective season openers six days ago. The passing game could prove critical this week.

Known for wearing down opposing defenses with its two-pronged running attack in 2007, Goldsboro (1-0 overall) caught Rosewood by surprise on the second play from scrimmage. Cougar quarterback Tyrelle Jackson threw a 50-yard touchdown strike to Josh McCoy.

Jackson threw just three passes, but if head coach Eric Reid gets his wish, the new signal caller will be hooking up with his receivers a lot more against Eastern Wayne.

"We want to exploit some weaknesses on the corners," said Reid. "With the speed of (receivers) Tyquan Sprangle and Enrique Moses, we feel like we make some plays on the outside. To be honest, I would like to throw it about 40 percent of the time."

Jackson has inherited the starting quarterback position after projected starter Dustin Uzzardo was ruled academically ineligible. Uzzardo threw for over 900 yards last season, and Reid had installed a shotgun package in hopes of utilizing his senior quarterback.

Thrust into the starter's role, Jackson, a senior transfer from Charlotte, has displayed a grasp of the offense during summer workouts along with the physical ability to fill the void left by Uzzardo.

"Tyrelle has performed very well," said Reid. "He's been quite comfortable in the pocket and poised. With the stature the he brings from a physical standpoint and with his ability to read defenses we're happy.

"We thought before the season that we were going to be mainly a running team."

Meanwhile, Warriors head coach Jeff Price isn't changing his game plan due to one productive passing outing.

"We are going to stick to what we do, and what we think will work with certain matchups," said Price. "It looks like we are a little bigger up front, which may be an advantage, but they are quick so it might not be an advantage at all."

Senior quarterback Dan Price threw for 113 yards and a touchdown on five completions against West Carteret. The Warriors (1-0) rolled up some strong offensive numbers against the Patriots. However, fixing a variety of mistakes, which led to missed scoring chances, has been the team's focus in practice this week.

"I told the guys after the game that all of the things we did wrong, could be fixed," said coach Price. "This week we know we can't put the ball on the ground and we can't have as many penalties."

Price and his staff have also learned their lessons from last season's battle with the Cougars.

"They scored twice last year by putting the ball in the air and taking advantage of our secondary," said Price. "This year we want to be better prepared. We think we are a little more athletic in the secondary now."

The long, and at times tumultuous, history between Eastern Wayne and Goldsboro leads Price to believe that the game will be a typical cross-town slugfest.

"They are a wing-T team, and they are going to line up and hit us in the mouth, and we are going to try to do the same," said Price. "It should be exciting, and it will certainly be a hard fought game."