Cougars, Warriors look to revamp rushing attacks
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 27, 2009 1:47 PM
Opening kick-off between the Eastern Wayne Warriors and Goldsboro High School Cougars at Cougar Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29, 2008
A sound running game can be a young quarterback's security blanket, help head coaches sleep at night and is the engine that makes most high school offenses go.
Running the football with consistency was something both Goldsboro and Eastern Wayne struggled to do in their respective season openers last Friday. The Cougars and Warriors will look to resolve those problems when they meet Friday night at Cougar Stadium.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
An offensive juggernaut last season, Goldsboro managed just 112 yards on 27 carries in its loss to Wilmington New Hanover. Andre Montgomery emerged the top rusher with 84 yards. Freddie Jones, one of the area's top carriers in 2008, picked up two yards on three totes and saw limited action due to an ankle injury.
Jones' status is day-to-day, according to third-year Cougars head coach Eric Reid.
The Cougars' young offensive line was a concern for Reid before the season began and those concerns became intensified as New Hanover limited Goldsboro's ability to create forward push and running lanes up front.
"We're really working on getting our assignments down from a blocking standpoint," said Reid. "We're just trying to get more aggressive. I felt like we didn't show enough aggression last Friday."
The Warriors averaged just two yards per carry in a 48-yard rushing effort against Wilson Hunt. Lamar Best led the ground attack with 43 yards on 20 carries in coach Guy Williams' multiple-I offense.
"We've just got to be more physical up front," said Williams. "That's just part of the maturation process and continuing to be physical. The kids just have to learn that, and learn what I expect as opposed to what they've been taught in the past."
The backfield took a major hit, however. Mac Stover sustained an injury during a scrimmage and is lost for the season.
"That's huge," said Williams. "Not only is Mac a good football player, but he's a great person. He has great character and he's a leader. We've just been trying to bring other guys along to step up and fill that hole."
Goldsboro and Eastern Wayne also struggled to stop the run defensively. The Cougars gave up 240 yards on the ground, while the Warriors allowed 335. Finding ways to slow down the opponent's running game have been focal points of both teams during practice this week.
"From a defensive standpoint we just have to make sure guys know where they need to be," said Reid. "We've really been concentrating on making sure guys know their assignments. I think Monday and Tuesday were two good practices."
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