12/02/09 — Goldsboro's practice philosophy paying off

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Goldsboro's practice philosophy paying off

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 2, 2009 1:46 PM

Football games, and in particular championships, aren't just won on game days in front of screaming fans and under the glow of stadium lights.

Victory is something that is accomplished with hard work throughout the week in an empty stadium or on an adjacent practice field where the lights don't seem to shine nearly as bright.

Goldsboro's success on the football field is a living testament to this philosophy as the Cougars continue to work hard each week. Third-year head coach Eric Reid begins breaking down game film of an upcoming opponent on Saturdays before taking Sundays off to separate himself from the game for a day.

Reid begins intently pouring over film on Mondays while devising a game plan and finding things to correct in his own team from the previous week's contest.

"On Saturday, I take a preliminary look at the film just to get the curiosity out of the way," said Reid. "Monday, I'll put it in and look at it and again after lunch. In between those times I'm mentally thinking about things we can do to our offense and tweak a little bit.

"As the week goes on, I'm more looking at tendencies and what they do."

Despite having endured a physically grinding season that began with practice in early August, Goldsboro (12-2 overall) still goes through demanding conditioning drills Monday through Thursday.

The benefits of those drills have been evident when it matters most as the Cougars have outscored their opponents 204-72 in the second half. On 11 different occasions this season, Goldsboro has held an opponent to eight points or less after halftime.

Through three playoff games, the Cougars have held a 68-6 edge in scoring over the final two quarters.

"Our guys see it in the third and fourth quarter when their opponent has their head down and we're still going," said Reid. "We try to do some things out of the norm sometimes just to get better."

After compiling a 9-5 record on the road in Reid's first two seasons as head coach Goldsboro is 5-0 away from home this year. Goldsboro hasn't lost on the road since a 28-12 defeat at Tarboro in the eastern 2-A semifinals last November.

The Cougars will look to continue their trend of recent road success on Friday night as they travel to Southwest Onslow for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-AA (large school) eastern regional championship game. The Stallions are 8-0 at home this season.

"Our kids are comfortable on the road," said Goldsboro assistant coach Danny Merritt. "At home our fans sit right behind us and some of our kids can get distracted. The fans that come with us on the road are totally supportive.

"Our kids believe in themselves and we try to keep as much of the same schedule as we can."