ELIZABETHTOWN — East Bladen’s boys soccer team didn’t get a favorable seeding in the state’s Class 2-A East playoffs, but will open against an opponent the Eagles are confident they can compete with.
East Bladen, 10-10-2, finished as the No. 3 Class 2-A team out of the Four County Conference and was awarded the No. 27 seed in the East bracket. On Wednesday, the will travel to Red Springs to take on the 7-2-1 Red Devils, the No. 1 seed out of the Three Rivers Conference and No. 6 seed in the East.
“I’m not happy about being the No. 27 seed, because I know the boys are better than that — but due to dropping some games that we shouldn’t have, we put ourselves in this position,” said East Bladen coach Jay Raynor. “(Red Springs) is a talented team, but I’m looking forward to the game; I feel we got a good draw for the playoffs.”
The Eagles’ scoring opportunities are spread across the field. A total of 11 players have scored goals for East Bladen this season, and eight have recorded assists.
The goal-scoring leaders are Joel Cromartie with 10 and Colby Hester with nine. The assist leaders include Alex Felder with 11, Jose Diaz with five and Cromartie with four.
“I think this will be a good matchup for us and a tough test,” Raynor said. “We have played some common opponents and have similar results, so I think we are two similar teams.
Lately, we have been playing well and have had good practices, (plus) out conference was a fairly tough conference and, in my opinion, a bit stronger than theirs, so I know we are capable of playing at a high level and are game test,” he added.
“I believe if we can bring back the form and intensity that we showed a few weeks ago against Clinton, Wallace-Rose Hill and Midway, we will be OK,” Raynor said.