Goldsboro's Malette accepts role
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 29, 2013 1:49 PM
There's a certain comfort that comes with familiarity.
Goldsboro's offense has rediscovered its comfort zone in what it does best -- run the football.
Last season the Cougars shed their run-first label as senior quarterback Julius Murphy threw for 1,987 yards and 29 touchdowns. Murphy flourished in offensive coordinator Bennett Johnson's spread offense.
Murphy graduated and Johnson is teaching at Mount Olive Middle School. Sophomore Nashir Bowden inherited the starting quarterback duties and senior tailback Rasheid Malette returns as one of the lone mainstays in Goldsboro's backfield. Malette rushed for 1,085 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He figures to play a prominent role in the Cougars' offense while Bowden endures the same growing process Murphy did.
"When you do something you're always used to and you have to resort back to it, it doesn't make it as hard," Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid said. "Before this season is over Nashir is going to be special, but to have a back in the backfield of Rasheid's caliber is going to help him grow."
Malette possesses the potential to be the next standout tailback in a long list of storied Cougars' running backs. He also has the initial speed once he touches the football that separates him from the likes of recent Goldsboro backs Freddy Jones and Andre Montgomery.
"When I first got here as a freshman, Freddie and Andre took me under their wing and basically had me doing everything they did," Malette said. "They were getting me ready for my junior and senior year on the varsity team because they weren't going to be here. A lot of people depend on me and if I don't come through, other people will have to step up."
Malette's ability to run by defenders combined with his willingness to run through tacklers can make him a nightmare on defenses.
"Rasheid has more of a finesse game and his field vision is a lot better," Reid said. "I watch him run and it's more 'Ahhh,' and when I watched Freddie and Andre run it was more 'Ooh.' The moves he makes and the field vision he has is something you can't coach."
Bowden made his first career varsity start in the Cougars' 29-20 loss last week at Franklinton. He completed 5 of 19 passes for 83 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Malette proved that his young quarterback can count on him while rushing for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Bowden can take another step in his development Friday evening with a solid performance against cross-town rival Eastern Wayne. Goldsboro has won six of the past 11 meetings with the Warriors since 2002.
"Knowing I have someone in the backfield that's a senior and he's a leader, too. It helps keep me in check," Bowden said. "To see the way he played last week it showed me I can trust him. Football is a team sport and I'm not out there by myself.
"Going into this game with Eastern Wayne, I'm relaxed."
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