10/28/10 — Saints' backfield works as a unit

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Saints' backfield works as a unit

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 28, 2010 3:54 PM

There is no room for egos in Southern Wayne's already crowded backfield. The wing-T offense is predicated on distributing the ball and requires running backs to put the team above their self pride.

Twelve different players have carried the ball for Southern Wayne with four different backs tallying 40 or more carries this season.

"We share the ball," said fullback JaQuan Cobb. "It's not an option. When coach (Bob Warren) calls out a play that's not mine, I try to execute my fakes or my blocks. You have to put yourself under the team and not get greedy."

The Saints have seen their young offensive line full of sophomores and one junior mature each week. Southern Wayne has had six 100-yard rushing performances this season. The team rushed for a season-high 335 yards and five touchdowns its 33-20, non-conference victory over Louisburg in mid-September.

It was the Saints' first victory of the season.

"I think our running game is based on our offensive line," said head coach Bob Warren. "They're all juniors with the exception of one sophomore. They've come along pretty well this year. It takes time to understand we have blocking schemes, not blocking rules. The play of the offensive line really determines how this offense moves."

Southern Wayne followed up the win over Louisburg with a 16-6 home victory over Goldsboro the following week. The Saints held the Cougars' vaunted running attack to eight yards while rushing for 287 of their own.

"Against Louisburg, we just had in our mind that we had to win," said Cobb. "We just executed. Against Goldsboro, that's a county rivalry and we were mentally ready. Our defense shut down their running game. Our offense, we ran hard and blocked hard."

Cobb is Southern Wayne's leading rusher with 701 yards and seven touchdowns on 158 carries. Sophomore Andrew Matthews has rambled for 615 yards and four touchdowns on 99 carries. Cobb and Matthews rank sixth and seventh, respectively, among the area's leading rushers.

Junior Quintae Bradshaw has contributed 303 yards, while seeing his role in the offense increase. Seniors Kenyon Nembhard and Jamison Dove, along with junior Tyshawn Vann, have also split time in the backfield.

"The wing-T really requires you to have about six backs," said Warren. "You have to be able to give some people some rest. If you have three backs that carry the ball, you have to have backups for them. Most of our kids know the other back positions even though they are completely separate."

Southern Wayne committed four turnovers in a 52-21 home loss to Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference foe South Johnston a week ago. Eliminating mistakes has been a point of emphasis as the Saints (3-6 overall, 1-2 ECC) prepare to play host to Eastern Wayne on Friday night.

"We've shown we can move ball as long as we don't turn the ball over," said Warren. "Turnovers have been an issue. Our kids are working hard on cutting down on turnovers. In our offense, if you have a turnover, that's a lot of time run off the clock where you come up with nothing."