Friday Preview: Eagles in search of fifth win before bye week
East Davidson became eligible for the state football playoffs after demolishing Wheatmore last week. With one more opponent before its open date, the Golden Eagles wouldn't mind tacking on a fifth win in six tries to strengthen its resume.
The 4-1 Golden Eagles host Trinity (3-2) in the final nonconference game of the regular season schedule for both schools. East comes in having beaten the Warriors 37-0, while the Bulldogs suffered a 14-0 loss to West Davidson.
“They are a lot better than they have been in the past,” said East coach Vance Hanner. “Their running back (D.J. Pratt) runs the ball outside and has speed. They have a big lineman in Jordan Johnson that plays on both lines and we will have a tough time blocking him. They can hurt us in some areas.”
Likewise, the Eagles can hurt THS in a lot of areas.
East's offense has carried over its success from last season with players like Michael Ramos, Bryce Bolen and Austin Wallace leading the way. What the team was lacking is defensive stability and being able to stop the other team to give the offense a chance to keep pace. They are meeting the need.
Allowing the equivalent of a touchdown and extra point, the Eagles have turned the corner on defense and are one of the more experienced groups around.
“We knew from the get-go we were going to be good on that side of the ball,” Hanner said. “We tried to set things up to where the defense can hold us in it. When you have two great inside linebackers like we have and a defensive front that is playing outstanding, it makes a world of difference. Going into the season the secondary was where we were wondering how they would react. We knew they had talent, and they have turned out to be a strength.”
The offense has taken care of itself. East is lighting up the scoreboard for an average of 31 points per game. Though Trinity is improved, the Eagles stand a good chance of keeping pace with that average.
With the start of Central Carolina Conference play a game away, Hanner will be looking to fine-tune every aspect of the game as East looks to make some real noise in the always tough CCC.
“We need to continue getting better on offense,” said Hanner. “Last week against Wheatmore I saw some improvement. We did not have missed assignments and did not turn the ball over. Our formula is do not turn it over and do not give up the big play and we are going to be fine.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.