Goldsboro not looking past Ayden-Grifton
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 5, 2009 1:46 PM
Forget the result and stay focused. Third-year head coach Eric Reid delivered that message to his Goldsboro High football team before practice Monday afternoon.
Forget the Cougars' four-touchdown victory over the Dawgs, who manhandled reigning Carolina 1-A Conference champion Ayden-Grifton 55-14 on Friday.
"Just because Princeton beat them and we beat Princeton, that doesn't mean anything because anything can happen on any given night," said Reid.
Goldsboro (8-2 overall, 4-0 Carolina) has clinched a share of the conference title, but can claim it outright with a win over Ayden-Grifton on Friday. A loss creates a three-way tie with the Dawgs and the Chargers.
The Cougars have secured two conference championships during Reid's tenure and seven overall in program history since 1972.
"The kids realize that goals we have set are reachable," said Reid, who has a career record of 26-9-1. "Now that they see the goals are reachable, they're working that much harder in the weight room and in practice every day."
Admittedly, Goldsboro's confidence was shaky five weeks into regular-season play. Losses to New Hanover and county rival Charles B. Aycock exposed weaknesses, and forced Reid and his coaching staff to rethink schemes on both sides of the ball.
Since the Aycock defeat, the Cougars have played hungry and reeled off six consecutive wins. They've outscored the opposition 261-69 during that stretch, and the defense has yielded just three touchdowns in its last 12 quarters of action.
The stacked backfield of Andre Montgomery, Vontarius Kornegay and Freddie Jones is finally healthy and clicking. Montgomery and Jones, both underclassmen, have fully recovered from injuries which nagged them during the non-conference season.
"Our overall line play has improved," said Reid. "The guys have bought into what we've been trying to sell to them and having (Goldsboro alum) Ronnie McClary, who has played college football, has helped us tremendously.
"He doesn't mind putting in the extra work and that's been a plus."
When the Cougars line up against the Chargers, they'll be looking at a mirror image. Both teams will attempt to establish the run and halt the other team's offensive attack.
The intangible could be the passing game. First-year starting quarterback Corteiz Sprangle has steadily improved each outing and given the Cougars' offense a second dimension behind its stout running game.
"We just have to play," said Reid. "Our front five has to sustain blocks and open holes for our backs. We have to stop their running game. Like us, they're young and they've matured over the season like we have matured over the season.
"We've learned how to play from behind ... been in those dogfights early and that should help us. If we're ever in that predicament again, we won't get caught in a shock mode. (That experience) will give us a better chance to survive those hard times."
And just stay focused.
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