09/26/13 — Bye week comes at good time for North Duplin

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Bye week comes at good time for North Duplin

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 26, 2013 1:48 PM

North Duplin's bye week could not have come at a better time. The Rebels got a much-needed break after back-to-back losses that were filled with injuries, mental mistakes and turnovers.

The Rebels (2-2 overall) focused on getting healthy and regaining its timing offensively during practice. Tailback Daron Goodman is fully healthy and running back Blake Rhodes is getting closer to 100 percent. A pair of injured linemen remain questionable for Friday home game with Lejeune.

"We're trying to get healthy," Rebels' head coach Hugh Martin said. "We've gotten banged up in the first few weeks. We're really working on getting our timing back offensively. Against Dixon we moved the ball, we just didn't finish drives. Against South Lenoir, it was a penalty here or there that hurt our drives."

This week North Duplin faces the task of slowing down Devilpups tailback Jamaz Richardson. The 5-foot-6, 134-pound Richardson has rushed for 662 yards and nine touchdowns on 94 carries this. Richardson has had success against two of the Rebels' Carolina 1-A Conference counterparts Rosewood and Spring Creek. In victories over the Eagles and Gators, Richardson rushed for a combined 366 yards and seven touchdowns.

North Duplin got a glimpse of Richardson's potential in a 42-35 Rebels' victory last season at Camp Lejeune. He rushed for 163 yards and five touchdowns. Limiting Richardson's ability to get to the edge and use his speed to run by tacklers is key for North Duplin.

"You've got to do a real good job on the edges," Martin said. "We have to be able to turn (Richardson) in and constrict the hole. He changes speeds exceptionally well and we have to maintain our pursuit lanes."

Martin feels Richardson's speed and Lejeune's I-formation offense does not compare to another team the Rebels have seen this season. North Duplin's defense surrendered just 12 points through its first two games before giving up 61 points in consecutive losses to Dixon and South Lenoir. The teams combined for 658 yards of total offense.

"Nobody we've played has (Richardson's) type of stop-and-start speed," Martin said. "Against Dixon we didn't tackle real well and read our keys real well. Some of that is injuries and I didn't have them prepared real well. We've been working on our assignments and reading our keys.

"Against South Lenoir a couple of plays really hurt us, especially the quarterback sneak and the pass."