Goldsboro heads to Kinston minus two key linemen
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 18, 2013 1:48 PM
KINSTON -- Minus two key players, Goldsboro's coaching staff has faced a taxing week in preparation for Kinston.
They'll see who steps up tonight.
The Cougars and Vikings renew their rivalry after an eight-year hiatus and the contest could determine who grabs the inside track to the inaugural Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference championship.
"We're excited about it ... an old rivalry that I was part of during my playing days here," said GHS alum and head coach Eric Reid. "They have a very talented ballclub over there and we know they are going to come to play. We've got our hands full.
"I've expressed the physicality of this game and what they are going to bring to the table. We play physical ourselves and emotions are going to play a role. We've got to be mentally sound and put behind us what happened this past week."
Goldsboro (3-4 overall, 1-0 ECC) heads to Viking Stadium without two-way starters Justin Cates and Malik Miller. Each drew a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area during an incident last Friday against South Lenoir.
Cates and Miller practiced with the team this week. Neither player can participate in a game until they complete the online sportsmanship test required by the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
A multi-dimensional lineman, Cates is the second-leading tackler on the team with 62 stops. Miller has 36 tackles. The duo is part of a Goldsboro defense that's logged seven sacks and forced 12 turnovers in seven outings this season.
"Out of all of the weeks, I hate to be going over to Kinston not having two of our better players in the game," Reid said. "We always talk to our guys about sometimes somebody is going to go down, and the next man has to step in and play. We just hope we can get out of this one."
Reid didn't say who would replace the two starters.
The Cougars' balanced offense averages 275 yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Nashir Bowden has thrown for 800-plus yards, while senior tailback Rasheid Malette has rushed for 820 yards.
Bowden continues to mature in the passing game. Reid hopes to use the short pass to get his young signal caller into a rhythm against the physical Vikings, who more than likely will stack the box.
"We're going to have to have a balanced attack on offense, so we don't put our defense in a bind with three-and-outs and short drives," Reid said. "It's going to be a tag-team situation for us on each side of the ball. Each side will have to help each other. We're going to have to be real focused, play good hard football for four quarters."
Goldsboro leads the all-time series 16-14-1.
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