DUBLIN — The state’s regular realignment of conferences has given West Bladen the unusual opportunity to host the Mustangs of South Robeson for the second straight season in The Castle.
“Some of the guys remember what happened last year,” said Knights coach Russell Dove. “We’d like to turn that outcome around this time.”
Last season, the Mustangs came into Dublin on a Saturday (after rain postponed the Friday get-together) riding a two-year losing streak. But by the time the final second ticked off the clock, South Robeson had snapped the skein and handed the Knights a 33-10 loss.
On Friday, West Bladen will host a South Robeson team with several athletes who can carry the Mustangs in any game — including Juan Ellerbe, a running back and linebacker who transferred from Purnell Swett over the summer.
“They are big and have a lot of speed,” Dove said. “And their defense looks pretty tough up front.”
The Mustangs operate their offense out of variations of the I and a two-back spread. On defense, they often line up in a basic 40.
“They beat us last year, and they have the athletes to do it again if we don’t play up to our potential,” Dove said.
That potential boils down to just a few simple things, which Dove says will be the key to winning on Friday.
“We have to execute the offense — block well and take care of the ball,” he said. “And something we didn’t do well at all last year against (South Robeson), we have to tackle well and play with a lot of intensity.”
The Knights will be unveiling its third offensive system in three years — this one dialing back the wide open air attack and opting for a more balanced approach between the run and pass.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.