11/11/11 — Two-time defending state champion awaits Cougars

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Two-time defending state champion awaits Cougars

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 11, 2011 1:48 PM

Goldsboro High's football team has walked the walk since entering the 1-A ranks three seasons ago. The Cougars have claimed two Carolina Conference championships, compiled a 29-11 record overall and won six playoff games since during that time.

Wallace-Rose Hill, a perennial 1-A football powerhouse, has won even more.

The Bulldogs have amassed a 40-2 record over the past three years and have not lost since a 14-12 defeat at Southwest Onslow on Sept. 14, 2009. Head coach Joey Price's squad carries a 39-game winning streak into Legion Stadium for tonight's showdown with the Cougars.

"They are a great program, there is no question about that when you look back on what they have accomplished," Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid said. "They are very athletic and very well coached."

The fact that the Bulldogs have not lost in 841 days and are the two-time defending state champions backs up Reid's point. The Cougars are going to need to be at their best to compete when the whistle sounds.

"We have to go out and play physical and try to impose our will on them," Reid said. "We have to be able to run the ball effectively and set ourselves up in some spots where we can make a play throwing downfield."

Goldsboro played a solid game, despite terrible weather and field conditions, in the opening round of the 1-AA Mideast Region against East Montgomery. Quarterback Julius Murphy completed seven passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Running back Devante Harris rolled for 173 yards on 21 carries.

The Cougars lost two turnovers in the victory. Takeaways will likely be one of the determining stats against Wallace-Rose Hill. After rolling through the early part of the regular season with few challenges, the Bulldogs have played two tough games against Tri-County 1-A Conference opponents the past two weeks.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over six times in a 16-6 win over James Kenan and gave it away five times in a 25-0 win over Pender in the opening round of the playoffs last week.

"First, we need to be able to take care of the football," Reid said. "In games like this one, a turnover can definitely be the difference."

In years past, Goldsboro has been an overwhelming favorite in nearly all of its games. That's not the case tonight and Reid says that fact has not been lost on his players at practice.

"I think that we have been even more intense than usual," Reid said. "Our guys have heard about the state championships and they know about Wallace's reputation. I think they will be fired up to go out and compete with a team like that."