11/08/10 — Prep football notebook

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Prep football notebook

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 8, 2010 1:52 PM

Eastern Wayne, this time, didn't take its foot off the gas. Haunted by "unfinished" games against county rivals Charles B. Aycock and Southern Wayne, the Warriors put North Lenoir away in their regular-season finale Friday evening.

"All year we've been in close games and once you play with fire too many times, eventually you're going to get burned and that happened to us a little bit last week," said Eastern Wayne head coach Bubba Williams. "I think tonight we came out and finished the game in the second half. We moved the ball, sustained drives and kept going.

"We didn't really shut down because we had a lead."

The Warriors (8-3 overall) converted their first two possessions of the second half. Avner Clark's 54-yard scoring strike to Tykwan Days capped a 6-play, 80-yard drive. Clark's 40-yard touchdown scamper ended a two-play possession that started near midfield.

Eastern Wayne ran 68 offensive plays.

"We have to fix a lot of things that we're really not clicking on yet, but that will come," said Williams.

No answer for Best

Lamar Best is like the Energizer bunny -- he keeps going and going.

The senior running back rambled for 222 yards and four touchdowns against North Lenoir, and surpassed the 1,700-yard plateau for the season. Best has an area-leading 24 touchdowns.

"I don't think anybody has had an answer for Lamar all year long," said Williams. "Barring a couple of injuries he's had, he's been pretty special (on Friday nights)."

Best still looked fresh after the game. He chewed on his mouthpiece and tugged at his shoulder pads while well-wishers congratulated him and his teammates on winning the school's first conference championship since 1978.

The 5-foot-5, 165-pounder said the Southern Wayne loss provided a wake-up call.

"Honestly, I think we needed that beat down to get us back to where we were when we were winning," said Best. "We started slacking, got the big head. Now I think it helped us out a lot. (The title) means a lot to me and the team."

A coaching intangible

Eastern Wayne defensive coordinator Glen Gardner was thrilled that his defense limited North Lenoir to minus-10 yards of total offense in the opening half.

The Warriors looked like their old selves again. Once they built a 27-point lead against the Hawks, second-string players began handling the defensive assignments.

North Lenoir finished with 84 yards of total offense.

"The second half of the Aycock game and the whole Southern Wayne game, we got away from doing the things that we were making us successful on defense," said Gardner. "We firmly believe if we can come to practice and do what we're supposed to do, we can take care of ourselves.

"As long as we keep working hard, the sky's the limit."

Gardner was part of Southern Wayne's coaching staff in 2000, when the Saints tied Jacksonville for the Mideastern 4-A Conference championship. He helped Goldsboro rebound from an 0-11 season in 2006 and win the Eastern Plains 2-A title in 2007.

"Both of those teams, we were projected to be okay," said Gardner. "But, this team, nobody gave us a shot from day one. This is, by far, the most special (championship)."