10/17/13 — Rebels look to end frustrating 5-game skid

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Rebels look to end frustrating 5-game skid

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 17, 2013 1:48 PM


A five-game losing streak has left North Duplin battered, bruised and in need of anything to hang its hat on.

Mired in the middle of the Carolina 1-A Conference standings, Rosewood would love to end an eight-game losing streak against an old rival.

The two meet at H.E. Grubbs Field on Friday evening.

After starting the season 2-0 injuries, costly penalties and inconsistent play have haunted the Rebels (2-5, 0-2 CC) in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Opponents have averaged 38 points per game during that span and North Duplin has had key drives stall due to penalties or turnovers.

Seven injured players watched from the sideline during last week's game at James Kenan. North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin believes some of those players are done for the season, but anticipates running back/linebacker Emiliano Mora (deep thigh bruise) to return Friday night.

Mora's absence has meant an increased workload for senior Daron Goodman. Goodman has rushed for 717 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

"We've had to move guys around in practice just to have 11 out there on the field practicing," Martin said. "Offensively, we've just gotten into a pattern of hurting ourselves with turnovers, untimely penalties and poor execution."

Two special-teams mistakes hurt Rosewood during its 14-7 loss against conference co-leader Lakewood last week. Penalties at inopportune times also plagued the Eagles, who had a key second-half drive stall inside the Leopards' 20-yard line.

Quarterback Jacob Sasser threw for 81 yards against Lakewood in a steady rain. In last season's 42-41 overtime loss to North Duplin, Sasser threw for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Eagles' head coach Robert Britt hopes to establish a running game early against the Rebels and then allow Sasser to go to work through the air. Jamari McGown leads Rosewood's rushing attack with 755 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Jacob's a senior and we have a lot of faith in him," Britt said. "We always go into the game trying to establish the run and then that opens up the passing game. If we're able to establish the run then maybe we can take our shots down the field."

The Eagles' defense has spent the week preparing for the Rebels' triple-option offense, while stressing the importance of maintaining individual assignments and staying within the proper gaps. Rosewood must limit significant yardage on first and second down, and force North Duplin into third-and-long situations.

"We need to play field position, limit big plays and keep them behind the chains," Britt said. "If we can hold them to within five yards and it's third-and-five or third-and-six, we feel good about it. But, if it's second-and-two or second-and-three, they feel pretty good about that.

"First and second down are going to be big."