WEST BLADEN PREVIEW Knights looking for consistency, success
by W. Curt Vincent Editor
DUBLIN — Russell Dove knows the one thing his gridiron Knights haven’t had much of over the past handful of seasons is consistency. He’s the fourth head coach in five years and the current class of seniors is learning its third offensive system in the past three seasons.
“But the kids have been working hard,” he said. “They got off to a good start in the spring and summer and, despite all the rain, we’ve been able to do what we hoped.”
Dove added that he was pleased with what he saw in the scrimmage last week.
“The defense was good, but there’s always room for improvement,” Dove said. “And the offense, after a tough start, began to come around. But I was happy considering they are learning a new system.”
West Bladen operated out of the spread offense last year and filled the air with footballs with senior quarterback Zach Wilcox at the controls. Dove plans to go back to a run-based offense, but also be a little balanced in what the Knights do.
West Bladen will run its offense out of a hybrid Wing with Colby Lewis under center.
“We’ll be looking for ways to get the ball to Malcolm Vaught (who set school, conference and state records for receiving last season),” Dove said.
On the other side of the ball, the Knights will be looking to shore up a defense that gave up a Waccamaw Conference high in points last season. West Bladen will line up in a basic 50, but also offer numerous variations.
“I think the defense will respond,” Dove said. “Of course, it looks good playing against our offense, so we’ll have to see how we look come Friday night.”
Dove said the Knights’ strengths center around the defensive front line, which has plenty of size, as well as good skill people on offense and overall team speed. He added that the team has a lot of quality depth.
On the other side of the ledger, Dove things West Bladen just needs some game experience with success.
The keys to the season, Dove said, boils down to two things: being competitive and being sound on both side of the ball.
“We can go dropping the ball and making dumb mistakes,” Dove said.
West Bladen opens the season at home with a non-conference game against South Robeson High.
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