'Dynamic' Best key to EW's postseason success
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 12, 2010 1:47 PM
Eastern Wayne didn't have to look far when preparing a game plan for Friday night's N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A East Region playoff game with Southern Vance.
The Warriors and Raiders are almost mirror images of each other.
Eastern Wayne relies heavily on 5-foot-5, 165-pound senior tailback Lamar Best. Best has rushed for an area-leading 1,740 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. The shifty back averages 5.8 yards per carry and 158 yards a game.
"Lamar's dynamic," said Warriors' head coach Guy "Bubba" Williams. "I don't really expect from the two games we gave them on film (Southern Vance) is going to see a whole lot. We gave them the Southern Wayne game and the North Lenoir game.
"He only played a half in both of those games. He's quick and shifty. He runs with power and runs hard. I don't think you get that with a lot of backs."
Southern Vance (6-5 overall) and Eastern Wayne both operate out of spread formations and under center offensively. The Raiders' Sardarius Henderson, a 5-5, 160-pound senior tailback has rushed for 801 yards and five touchdowns. Henderson averages 100 yards a game.
Junior running back Brian Person (5-8, 165) has contributed 997 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Senior receiver Hakim Jones is sophomore quarterback D.D. Henderson's go-to receiver. Jones has caught 27 passes for 404 yards, plays defensive back and also returns punts.
Southern Vance won its final three games of the regular season and held opponents to 13 points or fewer during that stretch. The Raiders finished second in the Carolina 3-A Conference with a 4-1 record.
Southern Wayne rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns against Eastern Wayne in handing the Warriors their only Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference loss of the season. However, Williams insists he isn't concerned about his team's ability to stop the run.
"We've got to give effort," said Williams. "We just stood around against Southern Wayne and they had their way with us. Triton was probably more physical up front and we did fine. I think it's just an attitude thing for us."
After going 1-10 in 2009, Eastern Wayne (8-3) clinched a share of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference championship with its win at North Lenoir last week. It was the Warriors' first conference championship since 1978, which was also the last time they won a playoff game.
Eastern Wayne hasn't been to the postseason since 2008. The Warriors are 1-7 all-time in the playoffs since the early 1970s, according to records kept by the NCHSAA.
"This season has kind of been new territory," said Williams. "I don't think we're going into this week with our eyes wide open. I think we've grown throughout the season to be confident and to know if we do the things we need to do that good things are going to happen. I think that goes into this week as well."
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Little Big Horn.