ELIZABETHTOWN — A week after hanging 50 points on a good Fairmont team, but giving up 30 points to the Golden Tornadoes’ spread offense, East Bladen head coach Robby Priest hopes his defense tightens up Friday when the Eagles travel to Whiteville for an early-season, non-conference rivalry game.
But East Bladen will face an entirely different set of challenges.
“Every team is different,” said Priest. “Whiteville’s defense will be tougher. They shut out North Brunswick (23-0 last week). And they have a lot of speed on offense.”
The Wolfpack’s offense has a new look this season, running primarily out of the shotgun but giving a single-wing or wing-T look. It will be operated by quarterback Nydir Carr, who transferred to Whiteville from the Charlotte area. Returning running back Terrin Manning gives Whiteville a solid ground game.
Coach Luke Little’s defense returns all of its starters from a year ago and is led by linebacker Garrett Wilson. The Wolfpack “D” sets up in a base 40 and has plenty of size up front, according to Priest.
“The look real good on tape,” he said. “They handled (Wilmington) Laney pretty easily in the jamboree down there.”
Priest said the one thing his Eagles can’t do is to have a repeat of what took place in last year’s meeting with Whiteville at Lenon Fisher Stadium.
“We turned the ball over on each of our first three possessions, all three in their territory, including once at their 15 yard line,” Priest said. “And then, we came out real flat in the second half and just never could get anything going.
“We’ve talked about not doing that again this time,” he added. “But they (Whiteville) will be a big challenge for us.”
Priest said the Eagles will need to bring their “A” game to Whiteville for 48 minutes — including the fact that they will have to execute, avoid turnovers and tackle hard — to get the “W.”
He also said everyone is healthy and should be available Friday night.
Kickoff in Whiteville is set for 7:30 p.m.