08/18/10 — Talent-laden Cougars expected to defend title

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Talent-laden Cougars expected to defend title

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 18, 2010 1:47 PM

The Goldsboro Cougars, for the second consecutive year, will wear the bullseye in the Carolina 1-A Conference football ranks.

The defending league champions garnered five first-place votes and 25 total points in the annual preseason coaches poll.

The results are hardly surprising considering the Cougars won the conference last season and return 18 starters from that team. Goldsboro fashioned a 5-0 conference record and reached the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-AA eastern regional final before falling to Southwest Onslow.

Despite the good fortune, Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid is not ready to look past any of his conference contemporaries.

"I think we have a good team, but I think a lot of the teams in our league got better in the last year as well," Reid said after practice on Tuesday. "Ayden-Grifton is tough, North Duplin will be better and Spring Creek has good numbers out so I think there are a variety of quality teams in the conference."

Ayden-Grifton finished second in the poll with one first-place vote and 21 total points. Chargers head coach Paul Cornwell was quick to point out that his team is ready to get the regular season underway.

"I feel like we are ready to see where we are," said Cornwell. "Obviously, Goldsboro is the team that everyone is trying to catch, but I think we have a team that can compete with anyone in our league."

North Duplin and Princeton finished in a tie for third place in the preseason poll with 14 points. Rosewood was tabbed with 10 points and Spring Creek tallied six points.

Being ranked at the bottom of the poll is of no consequence to third-year Gators head coach Aaron Sanders. His team has improved depth thanks to large freshman and sophomore classes.

"We looked good at times during our scrimmages when we weren't shooting ourselves in the foot," said Sanders. "If we can eliminate the mistakes and keep our guys healthy I think we can compete."

All six teams in the Carolina 1-A Conference kick off the season Friday night.