11/21/13 — Rebels' main task is to contain Richardson

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Rebels' main task is to contain Richardson

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 21, 2013 1:50 PM


CALYPSO -- North Duplin gets a second chance it eagerly desires in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A (small-school) Mideast Region football playoffs Friday.

The Rebels face top-seeded Lejeune.

North Duplin had the Devilpups collared for one half in their late-September meeting, but couldn't keep them leashed. Lejeune erupted for 27 third-quarter points within an eight-minute span and the injury-plagued Rebels continued their downward spiral.

Now, they're on the upswing.

"We went through a heckuva spell there," said North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin, whose team has turned a seven-game skid into a three-game win streak.

"The kids never lost faith and came to work every day in practice. They battled through it with a great attitude and I think that's why we are where we are right now. Everybody is back and playing better, which has taken quite a bit of focus."

North Duplin's focus is undoubtedly on Lejeune's Jamaz Richardson. The senior running back has logged 1,944 yards and 20 touchdowns on 222 carries this season. That includes a 166-yard, two-TD performance against the Rebels.

Martin said the defense must seal the corner and force the 5-foot-6 Richardson back to the inside. The strategy does have a downside, though.

Sophomore quarterback Daxton Derrick has been effective with the play-action pass on occasion this season. The 6-foot-21/2 signal caller has thrown for 439 yards and five TDs in 12 outings.

"We're going to have attack the edge and force him (Richardson) back to where your help is in the middle," Martin said. "He'll turn on you and try to get back to the edge, so you have to constrict that. We have to commit to him and that opens up their play-action a little.

"We just can't get caught looking at the ball."

The Rebels (5-7 overall) need to revive their patented, ball-control offense against the big-play Devilpups. Martin said his squad can't afford to commit costly penalties or turnovers, which would put them behind the chains.

Quarterback James Britt has grown into his role this season and meshed well with running back Daron Goodman. The duo has developed a good chemistry that's helped get the Rebels' offense back on track.

Britt has thrown for 385 yards and rushed for another 459. Goodman ranks among the area's leading ball carriers with 1,244 yards and 12 TDs on 222 carries.

"We're not flashy," Martin chuckled. "We do what we do and get down the field the best we can. Our option game, we've been able to hit the pitch more and people have become a little more conscious about James.

"This is the fifth time we've seen Lejeune in three years. We're real familiar with each other. You just have to go back and look at how you prepped for the game, and make some adjustments. I know they are going to do the same thing."