08/19/10 — FOOTBALL TAB -- Eastern Wayne preview

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FOOTBALL TAB -- Eastern Wayne preview

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 19, 2010 2:23 PM

Coming off a disappointing inaugural season at Eastern Wayne, head football coach Guy "Bubba" Williams has lofty goals for his second year.

And he is not about to concede anything.

"We are going to get better every day," said Williams. "Every time that we put on the pads we are going to work as hard as we can to be a better football team."

The Warriors finished 1-10 a year ago, emerging victorious in its regular-season finale against North Lenoir. Williams quickly pointed out just how much the victory meant to his players and to the process of building a program over the summer.

"We did really well in the two passing leagues that we took part in," said Williams. "There were some freshmen that stepped up for us and we accomplished a lot over the summer."

All of the hard work in the weight room will hopefully pay off for a team that had trouble moving the football in 2009. The Warriors averaged just nine points per outing during a 10-game stretch.

Eastern Wayne crushed North Lenoir, 27-0.

"It's tough to get guys on the same page during the first year after a coaching change, but I thought we got better as the year went on," said Williams. "We have to do a better job of starting strong."

The Warriors return seven starters on offense and seven on defense. There are additional lettermen who grabbed some playing time due to injuries and other situations.

"We really have 11 guys back on defense because they all played on the varsity defense at some point last year," said Williams. "We had a lot of young guys that earned time on the varsity and got some valuable experience."

Greg Simms returns for his senior season at linebacker and is expected to fill the spot vacated by Azaveus Dickens, who signed with Livingstone College over the summer.

Looking forward to the first regular-season game against perennial power Wilson Hunt, the Warriors will need a big performance from one of the smallest players on the field. All-purpose back Lamar Best will provide the spark in the Warriors' attack as they continue the transition into the spread formation.

Best lined up at quarterback, tailback and receiver last season and was effective at all three positions. With quickness to burn and excellent field vision, Best gives Williams a lot of play-calling options.

"Lamar is going to have to play several different roles for our offense to be successful," said Williams. "People will see him lined up in a variety of spots and used in a lot of different ways."

Eastern Wayne begins the season with a three-game road swing that includes Hunt, county rival Goldsboro and former Mideastern 4-A foe Wilmington New Hanover.

Those three teams combined to post a 33-11 record in 2009, and each advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs in their respective classification.

"Those are going to be tough games, but that's not always a bad thing," said Williams. "We played in passing leagues on the road, scrimmaged on the road and we will open up playing on the road. We have to be committed and be determined to get better with each game."

The Warriors kick off their 2010 season Friday at Big East 3-A member Wilson Hunt. Game time is 7:30 p.m.