ELIZABETHTOWN — “We’re ready to get the bad taste out of our mouths.”
East Bladen coach Robbie Priest emphasized those words as he talked about Friday’s matchup with Whiteville. That “bad taste” he referred to was a 58-56 loss to Fairmont last week in the season opener.
“We learned some things that we can put to good use,” Priest said. “Fairmont is a tough team to open up against, and our inexperience on defense really showed up.”
The Wolfpack, also 0-1 after a 19-9 loss to North Brunswick, dropped from Class 2-A to 1-A this season, and isn’t in the Eagles’ conference anymore, but Priest is still expecting a good challenge in what has always been a rivalry game.
“Oh yeah, they still have a lot of size and speed right where you need it,” he said. “They probably get more players out than we do.”
Whiteville operates its offense primarily out of the Wing T, and is a run-oriented team behind running backs Tyqwann McDougal and Nate Powell. But Priest also knows quarterback Dylan Williams “is very athletic and can do a lot of good things.”
Defensively, the Wolfpack line up in the 40 with some wrinkles. That defense is anchored by linemen Spencer Campbell, Austin Reeves and defensive back Aljere Adams.
Last season, East Bladen beat Whiteville twice — first in the regular season, 22-14; then in the first round of the Class 2-A state playoffs, 28-7.
To get into the win column, Priest laid out a handful of keys.
“We have to play good defense and limit the mental mistakes,” he said. “We also have to control the ball and be better on special teams.”