ELIZABETHTOWN — East Bladen, which has been tested to some degree in each of its first three games this season, will travel to Wilmington for its final non-conference challenge against Class 4-A Laney High.
The Eagles — which stand at 2-1 after a 29-22 season-opening loss to South Columbus, 43-15 win over Whiteville and 42-28 win over St. Pauls — will face a 2-2 Buccaneers team that hasn’t scored more than 14 points in any of its first four games.
But that isn’t soothing any concerns for East Bladen coach Robby Priest.
“They have a lot of athletes,” he said. “And I’m really impressed with their defense. They haven’t given up many points.”
Laney lost to Wallace-Rose Hill to open the season, 28-13, then Beat Greenville Rose 14-13; lost to Lee County 22-0; and beat Northern Nash 14-7.
The Eagles have had two weeks to prepare for Laney, time which Priest said has been used to get and stay healthy, and, as always, “get better at what we want to do.”
Priest pointed to a number of Bucs his team will need to contain.
On offense, Laney operates out of the Wing T and shows the option regularly. The Bucanneers offense is run by sophomore quarterback Sherid Sidbury, who is a threat to run with the ball often. But when he hands off, its usually to running backs Imeek Watkins and Austin Nalley.
The Laney defense usually shows a 40 set and is led by linebackers Cayman Czesak, Kymel Bloodworth and Thomas Bradsher.
“They look pretty good on film,” Priest said. “And the defense really flies around.
“The past week we’ve been able to practice against ourselves in getting ready (for Laney), because they do a lot of what we do,” he added. “So that’s helped.”
Priest said his Eagles will “need to play with a sense of urgency and not take any minutes off” against the Buccaneers.
“This is an important game because it’s the last one before conference starts,” Priest added. “We need to execute well and avoid those stupid penalties and turnovers.”
This is the one week of the season that game-time is scheduled at the old time of 7:30 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.