Eastern Wayne football building a solid program
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 17, 2009 2:04 PM
Eastern Wayne administrators and athletics officials took a calculated gamble by giving a former defensive coordinator the head coaching job with no previous experience.
They're convinced Guy Williams can get the job done.
The Warriors, as is the case each season, have enough talent to put a winning team on the field. And, as is the case each season, there are enough question marks to remain skeptical.
Great things have eluded Eastern Wayne in recent falls and that's perplexing given the talent that's been on the field. Those troubles certainly didn't follow former Warriors coach Jeff Price, who resigned at the end of last season, out of town this summer.
Preseason injuries, disciplinary actions and lack of depth have left the Warriors 0-4 one month into their 2009 campaign. The disappointing losses have left Williams and the coaching staff scratching their collective head.
Somehow the work in practice just isn't showing up on game night.
"We continually make mental mistakes that cost us," said Williams. "Sometimes they take turns on who takes a play off, and we've kind of stopped that ... just trying to take that step forward (now)."
Eastern Wayne took its opening possession against Greene Central last week and put together a solid, seven-play drive that stalled on a failed fourth-down conversion. The Warriors didn't have another sustained drive the remainder of the game, and four possessions ended in turnovers.
Of the team's 51 offensive plays, 17 resulted in a net of two yards or less.
The Warriors were 0-for-7 on third-down conversions until Jalen Barnes connected with Dominique Sadler on a touchdown pass in the final 7 seconds of the game. Barnes, a first-year varsity starter, threw for 100-plus yards for the second straight week.
"A sophomore playing quarterback who has done well mentally, but I think that kind of puts a stretch on him as far as where he's at," said Williams. "Sometimes it takes a little longer for an offense to gel. We've got to get the ball to people and the offensive line takes a half-step forward every week. Until we hit that stride, we're going to sputter."
The Warriors showed improvement on defense from the previous week. They stopped the Rams at the line of scrimmage on four occasions and recorded 10 tackles for loss as a team.
Junior linebacker Kenneth Scott recovered two fumbles. Senior tackle Dahomeny Murchison logged a pair of quarterback sacks. Lamar Best picked off a Greene Central pass before halftime.
"We've been playing better and better defensively, and it will come together," said Williams.
But the question remains ... when?
Eastern Wayne carries an eight-game losing streak into Friday's home contest against West Craven. The Warriors' last victory was a 15-6 decision at Wilson Hunt more than 11 months ago.
While the losses might frustrate the players, the staff and the fans, Williams is convinced it's a matter of time before Little Big Horn becomes a difficult place for opponents to play.
"We've just got to continually work at it," said Williams. "It's going to be continual growth. We're young in a lot of positions and injured in a lot of positions. It will be nice if we could ever play with a full roster.
"Eventually one day we will put it all on the field, and it will be something good."