Warriors need consistent effort as regular season winds down
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 25, 2013 1:48 PM
Eastern Wayne relied on its bread and butter -- playing hard, creating turnovers and offensive execution -- during the first two months of the high school football season.
The result led to a program-best 5-0 start.
Since then, the bread has gotten a little stale and the butter hasn't been too tasty, either.
Two interceptions and penalties haunted the Warriors against defending 4-A state champion New Bern, the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference title. Mistakes proved critical in a loss against J.H. Rose last week.
"I thought early (in the season) we kind of gelled, we played hard and we made some key plays," Williams said. "The last two weeks, we've kind of fallen off a little bit. We've got to get back to playing hard, creating turnovers and executing offensively.
"We've got to get back to doing that against a tough Conley team."
Eastern Wayne (5-2 overall, 1-2 ECC) and D.H. Conley (7-1, 3-0) are meeting tonight for the first time since 1974. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Little Big Horn.
The Vikings average 42.3 points per game in their wing-T spread offense. They've got a trio backs who have wreaked havoc on opposing defenses this season.
Stop one back and another picks up the slack.
"They're a scrappy bunch, they play hard and I'm not saying this in a demeaning way, they play above their talent level which is what every coach wants their team to do," Williams said. "We've got to match (that level), play hard, get after them and stop the run, follow our keys defensively and offensively we have to execute.
"We've kind of gotten out of executing a little bit here lately. Some of that is the teams we've played, and some of that is us shooting ourselves in the foot."
The Warriors continue to battle the injury bug, which is common this time of year.
Lineman Anthony Carmon returned last week. Malik Richard sustained a finger injury, while bruising fullback Craig Smith will undergo season-ending surgery. Although lack of depth has been an issue, Williams has used the "patchwork" mentality to his advantage and found sewed some pieces together to make a strong tapestry.
Conley is the last 4-A team on Eastern Wayne's schedule and the final preparation for its two most-important games -- Charles B. Aycock and Southern Wayne. Those results will undoubtedly affect the Warriors' seeding for the postseason.
"I try to get these kids to look at it like every game is important," Williams said. "Conley is the most important game because it's next. Southern Wayne and Aycock have played the same teams. They've been tested just like we have, so it (the victor) will be whoever executes and whoever does better than the other group."
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