09/02/13 — Prep football notebook: Duo finding its niche with Eastern Wayne

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Prep football notebook: Duo finding its niche with Eastern Wayne

By Staff Reports
Published in Sports on September 2, 2013 1:48 PM

Eastern Wayne is off to a 2-0 start thanks to a pair of new faces in New Hope. Marsharee Troy and Malik Richard are each enjoying the spotlight in their respective first seasons with the Warriors.

Troy, a transfer from North Lenoir High School, gave the team a boost on special teams and showed his speed with a 70-yard kick return for touchdown against Goldsboro. Troy is also a steady hand in the Eastern Wayne secondary.

Richard, who emerged as a star on the Eastern Wayne basketball team last season, donned football pads for the first time at the high school level and is already making an impact. Richard finished with 79 yards on six catches against the Cougars.

Back to basics

PRINCETON -- Coming off a blowout victory in week one, a better football team exposed some of Princeton's weaknesses in week two.

The Dogs plan to revisit the fundamentals this week, particularly in the passing game on both sides of the football. Second-year head coach Derrick Minor expects to see breakdowns in running routes and sustaining blocks on offense when the team reviews the film today.

Midway lulled the Princeton defense to sleep with its running game. The Raiders' consistent ground attack opened up the passing lanes and resulted in a game-deciding touchdown with 22 seconds to go.

"We've got guys watching the backfield instead of playing their coverages, and that's what we're going to have to get better at (doing)," Minor said. "We cannot, on a Midway team who is excellent at both the run and the pass, sacrifice one area and give up another which is what got us tonight."

Take it easy

CALYPSO -- Weather forced North Duplin to complete the second half of its 27-12 win at Southside on Monday night. The Rebels did not hit in practice and wore pads just once the rest of the week in preparation for Northside.

The strategy paid off. North Duplin piled up 425 yards of offense in a 28-0 victory.

"We've not hit since Monday night," Rebels' head coach Hugh Martin said after Friday night's victory. "That was big for us. With our numbers the way they are and so many two-way players, we felt like we needed as much rest as possible."

The big picture

PRINCETON -- Non-conference games may hold little meaning in the short term, but the effort each week undoubtedly factors into the overall outcome of a team's season.

Coaches look for improvement and see how each player handles his character on and off the field. Minor anticipates the last-second, gut-wrenching loss to Midway to serve a purpose this week, and for the remainder of the season.

"We're going to continue to build each week," Minor said. "Our goal is conference (championship) and our goal is (the) playoffs. This (loss) right here should spark some motivation to keep working hard.

"We're not going to change a whole lot, just get better at what we do."

Who gets the hammer

PRINCETON -- Each week Princeton's coaches nominate one player who delivered the best block or biggest hit on the football field.

They review film and vote.

Adrian Whack should certainly catch the coaching's staff eyes after a 10-tackle performance against Midway. The sophomore -- yes, sophomore -- logged two stops behind the line of scrimmage and spearheaded a defense that held Midway scoreless for more than 2 1/2 quarters.

"He had a great night," Minor said of Whack. "Our defense, they held tough and you hate to have one play be the result of all of their hard work, but unfortunately that's the nature of the game."

Little to show

PRINCETON -- Princeton ran 62 offensive plays and amassed 414 yards of total offense, but put just one touchdown on the board.

The Dogs were 0 for 4 in the red zone in the opening half. Penalties negated two long runs and dropped passes also haunted Minor's team in its ninth straight loss to Midway since 2005.

"This game definitely could have gone our way. If we had one more key block ..." said Minor, whose voice trailed off as he stared toward the baseball field. "Every time we had a great run, we got a flag for something. We didn't see it on our sideline and I'm going to complain about officiating, but it just kills everything you've got when you're screaming down the sidelines and you have to come back because of a penalty.

"Dropped balls killed us."

Receivers couldn't hang on to eight of quarterback Michael Wooten's 27 pass attempts.