FOOTBAL TAB -- North Duplin preview
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 19, 2010 2:23 PM
During its stretch of back-to-back seasons with deep playoff runs in 2006 and 2007, North Duplin developed a tradition of consistency.
The Rebels possessed an offense that dominated time of possession, a stingy hard-nosed defense and reliable special teams. Those teams went a collective 25-4 and the 2007 squad played for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A state championship.
A mix of veterans and inexperienced underclassmen got away from that tradition over the past two seasons and the result was a combined 11-15 mark and a second-round playoff loss each year. Both of the past two years have been marked by lengthy losing streaks.
North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin is determined to regain that tradition in 2010.
"Early on we were very inconsistent last year," said Martin. "We would take two steps forward and three steps back. We had freshmen and sophomores starting, and didn't have enough upperclassmen in key positions. We're trying to focus on that and improve."
Senior Marcus Kornegay is finally the unquestioned starter at quarterback after sharing the role for most of his sophomore and junior seasons. A dual threat, Kornegay has displayed an advanced grasp of the Rebels' spread offense in summer practice along with a committed effort toward being more of a vocal leader.
"Marcus has done a great job," said Martin. "He's much more in charge of the huddle and much more authoritative because he realizes this is his senior year. He knows everything we're asking out of him and he knows where everybody should be. His understanding of the offense I hope will help us be able to execute it even more effectively."
Junior tailback Devin Oliver, a 1,500-yard rusher in each of the past two seasons, returns to the backfield along with sophomore fullback Julio Mora. Known for his speed and athleticism, Oliver also possesses the field vision to frequently see holes in defenses before they open up.
"Devin is a super athlete and he's got great field vision," said Martin. "He sees where cuts are and it's something he's learned over the last couple years. In the shotgun, the hole doesn't always open up in the same place every time and our backs have to get a feel for seeing that and feeling that."
Junior receivers Ryan Wolfe and James Kornegay should be integral parts of the passing game. Justin Carr and Jonathan Maldonado will be called upon to lead the offensive line.
In the 2006 and '07 seasons, the North Duplin defense held opponents to fewer than 12 points a contest. Meanwhile, the Rebels' offense chewed up the clock. That hasn't been the case during the previous two seasons as that points allowed per game average has risen to more than 23.
Martin and his staff have considered tweaking their 3-5 formation to some different fronts that best suit their personnel.
"We'll still looking on that side of the ball to see who is going to be in certain positions," said Martin. "Right now we're running to the ball real well. Hopefully, we'll be a little bit stronger up front. Last year, we had trouble holding the point of attack."
Martin's strive for consistency should be tested early as the Rebels play five of their first eight games away from Calypso.
"We'll see how we develop in our preseason scrimmages and our non-conference schedule," said Martin. "We'll adjust things from there and hopefully we can compete a little bit in the conference."
North Duplin kicks off its 2010 campaign at home Friday against Southside.
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