08/12/11 — Cougars, Chargers picked to contend for Carolina 1-A crown

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Cougars, Chargers picked to contend for Carolina 1-A crown

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 12, 2011 1:47 PM

Goldsboro is once again considered one of the favorites to reign supreme in the Carolina 1-A Conference in 2011.

Only this year they have a little company.

The Cougars earned three first-place votes and 23 total points in the annual preseason football coaches poll. Ayden-Grifton also got three first-place votes and finished with 22 total points.

"When Goldsboro came into the league, they were absolutely on a different level athletically than everybody else," Ayden-Grifton head coach Paul Cornwell said. "We want to get to that level, but we still have a long way to go until we get a chance to see how we stand."

The Cougars and the Chargers will meet the final week of the regular season at Ayden-Grifton. That game, as it has the past two seasons, will likely decide the conference championship.

"Ayden-Grifton is a quality team as they have shown in the past," Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid said. "We feel like we are ready to play and I expect all the teams in the league to be a little bit better this season."

North Duplin finished third in the poll with 17 points.

The Rebels opened a lot of eyes around the league during last year's exciting score fest against Goldsboro. The Cougars won the game 62-28, but the Rebels hung around for most of the night on the strength of a potent ground game.

Both of North Duplin's top two backs, Devin Oliver and Julio Mora, return to the lineup for 2011.

Rosewood garnered fourth-place honors with 14 points. The Eagles welcome back senior signal caller Taylor McGill and boast the best numbers the program has had in four years.

"We feel like we have gotten better all year," Eagles head coach Robert Britt said. "From the first day of workouts over the summer until the last day of practice, our goal is the same and that is to improve and to be more consistent."

Princeton (nine points) and Spring Creek (five points) rounded out the six-team poll.