Goldsboro looking forward to first 1-A campaign
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on October 8, 2009 1:47 PM
Tempering the lofty goals of an impatient fan base with the realism of replacing a pool of talented seniors is a balancing act that few coaches know as well as Goldsboro's Eric Reid.
Expectations can definitely be dangerous.
Coming off a 10-win season and appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A eastern semifinals, many voices in and around the Cougar football program anticipated 2009 to be even better.
Goldsboro has experienced some growing pains, but appears headed in the right direction. Reid's team plays its first-ever conference contest on the 1-A level Friday at Carolina foe North Duplin.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at H.E. Grubbs Field in Calypso.
"We have played some very good teams and I think we have continued to improve each week," said Reid after the Cougars' most-recent win. "This team had to replace four starters on the offensive line and it has taken the new guys some time to grow, but I really think they are coming along."
Goldsboro (4-2 overall) has claimed impressive victories over 3-A Washington and county rival Southern Wayne. The back-to-back triumphs have helped build some much-needed momentum as the most-pivotal part of their schedule begins this week.
Reid is not looking past North Duplin.
"(North Duplin) has been one of the better teams in that conference the last few years so it is a good measuring stick to see how we match up," said Reid. "They are a very balanced team, and they have the ability to change their offense and do a lot of different things."
The Cougars' remaining Carolina schedule includes Rosewood (Oct. 16), Princeton (Oct. 23), Spring Creek (Oct. 30) and a season-ending battle against perennial league power Ayden-Grifton (Nov. 6).
Provided Goldsboro doesn't encounter any pitfalls, the conference finale at Ayden-Grifton could be for the league championship.
"We are not in a position to look ahead," said Reid. "We have to win every game, one at a time, for the final game to mean anything. I hope it comes down to that, but we have to stay focused on North Duplin."
First-year quarterback Cortez Sprangle continues to develop into a starter. The Cougars' three-headed monster -- the backfield of Andre Montgomery, Freddie Jones and Vontarius Kornegay -- must produce positive yardage to keep Goldsboro on track.
Montgomery is the team's top rusher, but spent most of the Southern Wayne game on the bench following a concussion against Washington. The always-dangerous Jones picked up the slack against the Saints, but he too spent time battling the injury bug early in the year with a sprained ankle.
"We have to be able to run the ball to control the game," said Reid. "The bye week came at a great time for us because we have to get some guys back to full speed."
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