10/03/11 — Prep football notebook

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Prep football notebook

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on October 3, 2011 1:48 PM

Goldsboro responded this time.

Eight days after losing at Red Springs on a late field goal, the Cougars answered when North Duplin scored the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter Saturday evening.

Karon Alston's game-clinching touchdown sealed a nail-biting, 21-20 comeback in the Carolina 1-A Conference opener for both teams.

"The most-pleasing thing about tonight was that we fought hard, never got down," said fifth-year Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid. "Coming off that heart-breaking loss last week, you didn't know how they would respond once we got behind the eight ball.

"Luckily, they did respond the way we wanted them to."

Goldsboro (3-3 overall) improved to 11-0 against Carolina Conference opposition since joining the league in 2009. The Cougars improved to 7-4 in season-opening contests since 2001.

"We want that three-peat," said Alston.

Battle of wills

Goldsboro understood that North Duplin prefers a grind-it-out pace on offense that consumes precious time off the clock.

The Cougars avoided the trap.

The Rebels ran 45 offensive plays and owned the edge in total offensive yards in just two of four quarters. Three possessions ended on failed fourth-down plays and Goldsboro forced consecutive three-and-out series in the third quarter.

"The second half we had to bump and grind, had to move the ball on the ground at four or five yard a pop and keep the chains moving," said Reid, whose team ran just one offensive play during the first nine minutes of the final quarter.

"The passing game stalled here and there, so we got to the point where we couldn't rely on that. It came down to good 'ole smash-mouth football, and the kids caught the blocking scheme to get some quality yards when we needed it."

Goldsboro had 131 yards rushing and 111 passing.

You play, we coach

Julio Mora up the middle.

Devin Oliver off tackle or around the end.

Goldsboro's defense, at times, stopped each player for minimal gains. But Mora and Oliver, who combined for 193 yards rushing, also ripped off big chunks of real estate.

The Rebels' offensive line, which gave up considerable pounds at every position, held its own in the trenches throughout the night. Mora and Oliver put pressure on the Cougars' linebacking corps when they reached the second level.

"At halftime, Karon made a statement that he was going inside when his job was to go outside, so he was worried about the gap in the defense," said Reid. "We told him that it might have looked like a gap, but the backer was supposed to fill in. Everyone just needs to stay in their comfort mode (for gap responsibility) and they'll be fine.

"But everybody wants to be a coach on the field."

Stingy dogs

Princeton's offense racked up 398 yards and 44 points, but the Bulldogs' defense was stingy all night in a victory over Spring Creek.

Princeton recorded four interceptions and held Spring Creek to minus-22 yards rushing. The Gators finished with 20 yards of total offense and 12 plays that resulted in negative yardage.

"Our defense was awesome all night," said Bulldogs' quarterback Brad Williamson. "Those guys made plays all night and put us in some good field position on offense."