10/31/13 — FEATURE -- CBA defense

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FEATURE -- CBA defense

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 31, 2013 1:48 PM


PIKEVILLE -- Solid football teams with Division I talent in the backfield have given Charles B. Aycock's defense fits during the past month.

So has the lack of depth.

Key players have shown signs of fatigue during the third and fourth quarters this season. First-year head coach Steve Brooks said "old habits show up" when a team becomes tired, and is getting physically beaten by stronger and bigger opponents.

But as up and down as Aycock's season has been, it still has a chance to emerge the outright winner in the 3-A portion of the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference on Friday evening. The Golden Falcons (4-6 overall, 1-4 ECC) are the guests of Eastern Wayne, which logged a 2-2 worksheet against the 4-A opponents on its league schedule.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Little Big Horn.

"We win this game, we're going to get one of the No. 1 seeds and that goes a long way as far as getting a home playoff game," Brooks said. "I learned during my many years as an assistant coach at Ayden-Grifton that the more you play at home, the better the chance you have at moving on. It would be huge to get a win this week against a quality team like Eastern Wayne."

The defense must respond against another athletic team that averages 31.1 points a game. The Golden Falcons have surrendered a league-high 375 points this season and are 1-5 in games when the opposition has rung up 30 or more points on the scoreboard.

Brooks insists that the team spends each Monday through Wednesday working through a tackling drill circuit for 15 minutes. He admitted the team runs to the ball well during the first half, but doesn't like the drop off that occurs in the second half.

"We're going to have to gang tackle, have 11 men get to the ball," Brooks said. "We have a lot of players, but not any depth. We don't have that guy who can go in there and replace them."

An offensive-minded coach, Brooks has studied the athletic Warriors' defense on film to get a baseline of what his team can do with the ball. He immediately noticed how fundamentally sound and how physical Eastern Wayne has played this season.

The Warriors forced D.H. Conley into three turnovers last week. They've recorded 20-plus sacks as a unit and surrendered 21.4 points an outing.

"They're obviously better than South Central," Brooks said. "I feel like they are better than Conley and I feel like they are right there against Rose. For a 3-A team, they're playing like a 4-A team going through this conference. We're going to have to play a perfect game to beat them."

Aycock leads the all-time series 11-6, but Eastern Wayne has prevailed in two of the last three meetings.