League title on the line tonight
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 5, 2010 1:46 PM
After more than a month of blowouts, the Goldsboro High football team is focusing on the game that will decide whether or not its season was a success.
Eric Reid's squad takes the field tonight with a 7-3 record and six weeks worth of momentum on their side. Despite all the good feelings around the Cougar camp, there is an overwhelming tone around the practice field that the Carolina 1-A Conference finale against Ayden-Grifton is the game of the year.
"I have that same feeling I had going into the first game of the season," said Reid. "I have a feeling of anticipation and excitement going into Friday night."
After some early-season struggles against county opposition, which included losses to Southern Wayne and Eastern Wayne, Goldsboro has taken no prisoners in five consecutive victories. A 40-0, non-conference win over East Carteret ignited a winning streak that has lasted 36 days.
During the five-game run the Cougars have outscored their opponents 253-42. Only North Duplin managed to score more than one touchdown against the Goldsboro defense.
"We have taken some flack over the last couple weeks about the score of the game," said Reid. "It was never our intention to put the pedal to the floor against our opponents, but at the same time I can't tell my guys not to intercept the ball or not to pick up a fumble."
Reid knows that he will have no such concerns against the Chargers.
As hot as Goldsboro has been lately, Ayden-Grifton (8-2 overall) has been even hotter. The Chargers have won seven consecutive games and have outscored their opponents 193-12 over the last five outings. With a power running game anchored by 6-foot-1, 241-pound fullback Quan Green, the Chargers have built a reputation as a physical force in the conference ranks.
Ayden-Grifton has rushed for nearly 3,000 yards a team this season, including a combined 884 yards in its past two games.
"We have heard from people around the conference that their guys are really big and that they can match up with us physically," said Reid. "I think the confidence that (Ayden-Grifton) has shown has motivated my guys to come out and work harder this week."
Because both teams rely on power running, the battle in the trenches will likely decide the game. That fact has resonated with Reid and his coaching staff as they put in the game plan at practice.
"We have to give our backs a chance to make plays and that starts up front," said Reid. "If we win the battle on the offensive and defensive lines, I think we can control the game and maybe get them out of their element."
So far this season Andre Montgomery and backfield mate Freddie Jones have combined for 2,206 yards and 33 touchdowns. Getting the duo going early will be a big key to the team's success. By limiting turnovers and controlling the clock, the Cougars hope that they can get the momentum early and hold it throughout the game.
"We have to put ourselves in good situations early and stay out of long-yardage situations," said Reid. "If we can keep them off balance and keep the ball moving we can get a second consecutive conference championship."
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
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