08/29/13 — Eastern Wayne gains confidence on gridiron

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Eastern Wayne gains confidence on gridiron

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 29, 2013 1:49 PM

Eastern Wayne developed some confidence last week against an opponent searching for solutions to its problems.

The young Warriors have a shot at a legitimate ego boost if they can slay a bitter cross-town rival -- Goldsboro -- on Friday evening at Little Big Horn. Eastern Wayne has lost two straight in the series.

The Warriors racked up 257 rushing yards and three touchdowns in their 32-0 victory last week at North Lenoir. Craig Smith, Malik Richard, Deshawn Boudy and Lavoris Vick each rushed for 50 yards or more.

Contributions from multiple players along with a positive performance from a suspect offensive line gave Eastern Wayne head coach Bubba Williams a reason to be optimistic.

"We have four or five kids we rotate freely in the backfield," Williams said. "I think our kids played hard. I had two kids up front that I felt like played a heck of a game. Chris Pridgen rated out the highest of our linemen and Tony Carmon also had a heck of a game."

The Warriors held the Hawks to 68 yards of total offense and North Lenoir failed to complete a pass. The Hawks also moved the ball inside the Eastern Wayne red zone just once and eventually turned the ball over on downs.

Williams said his defense will have to improve, particularly on the edge and in the secondary. The fourth-year head coach saw his team struggle to keep containment multiple times against North Lenoir.

Goldsboro has averaged 37 points in its last five games with the Warriors. Failing to bottle up the normally-athletic Cougars could lead to a similar offensive output.

"I thought defensively we played well," Williams said. "We've got to get better on the edge and sure some things up. We gave up a couple of runs and missed some assignments."

The Warriors face multiple stern tests later this season in the revamped Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference. Defending state champion New Bern along with J.H. Rose, South Central and D.H. Conley are on the slate. Facing Goldsboro in front of a packed stadium figures to be a good measuring stick before Eastern Wayne runs the ECC gauntlet.

"Goldsboro has always played us tough," Williams said. "They bring an intensity and we have to match it. They've created turnovers the last couple of years that have killed us. We have to limit our turnovers and create turnovers defensively. Whoever does that wins the game."