08/24/12 — Cougars, Warriors square off

View Archive

Cougars, Warriors square off

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 24, 2012 1:48 PM

A chance to grow. An opportunity to build momentum. Those are the messages Eastern Wayne head football coach Bubba Williams and Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid have been delivering to their respective squads during practice this week.

Oh yeah.

Don't forget about bragging rights, either.

Something can be said about having that swagger from beating a county rival, especially when you run into them either at the mall, on William Street or somewhere else in the county.

"It's a great rivalry," Reid said. "When I played here I know how important it was. It's just something special when you bring those two schools together. These two teams are full of talented athletes and this, along with Southern Wayne, is probably one of two of our biggest games all year.

"You can throw all the records out when we play each other."

The Cougars are 22-16 against county opposition since 2002, including a 5-5 worksheet against the Warriors. Eastern Wayne won four straight in the series from 2004-07, and claimed an overtime victory at Cougar Stadium in 2010.

Goldsboro prevailed at Little Big Horn last season.

While bragging rights are a foregone conclusion, Williams considers the non-conference affair nothing more than another growing lesson for his young team. The Warriors showed periods of good play against Hunt, but turnovers proved detrimental in a 44-12, season-opening loss.

Three fumbles and two interceptions took their toll.

"It's going to be a growing pain to make the transition to what we are doing offensively," Williams said. "We have two quarterbacks (who) have to read defenses better and get the ball in our receivers' hands. We played Hunt a lot closer in the physical aspect than what the score ended up being.

"We put up a fight and that's a good sign with the youth we've got."

Williams said he wanted to see more intensity tonight.

"We have to come out and play a little more excited than we did against Hunt," Williams said. "We have to fix some areas. We can't take steps backwards to where we want to go this season."

The Cougars ran into their own buzzsaw -- Wilmington New Hanover.

The 61-point loss didn't sit well with Reid and his coaching staff. But, like Williams, he saw some positives surface from the road defeat.

Junior quarterback Julius Murphy completed 13 passes for 100-plus yards, and fell victim to a few dropped passes. The offensive line worked well as a unit at times and opened a few holes for the running backs, who ran into either strong linemen or linebackers who quickly filled the gaps.

The line allowed just one quarterback sack.

"We had a great 'no-quit' attitude and I told the guys after the game that we wouldn't see anybody better all year than what we saw tonight," Reid said. "We constantly fought. We do have to work on the focus factor, especially in receiving drills. There are little things on the offensive line like calling out defenses.

"On defense, it's basic stuff that can be fixed."