DUBLIN — After tasting defeat for the first time last week at the hands of a solid Whiteville team, the Knights of West Bladen will host St. Pauls on Friday with an eye toward redemption on two levels.
First, the Knights will be looking to get back on the winning track after opening the season with two straight wins before getting bulldozed in the second half by the Wolfpack.
And second, West Bladen has a score to settle with the Bulldogs after last season’s 76-45 shellacking they took in St. Pauls. In that game, which featured 320 yards of passing, the Bulldogs scored 32 points in the second quarter and 22 more in the fourth to seal the win.
“There wasn’t a lot of defense played that night,” said West Bladen coach Russell Dove.
But he added that St. Pauls’ 4-4 defense looks much-improved this season.
Over on offense, Dove said St. Pauls will line up “in the shotgun, pistol and spread” and is a 50-50 team when it comes to the run and pass. He said quarterback Malik Livingston, a convert from wide receiver, looks impressive.
The offensive and defensive lines are anchored by lineman ShayRon Jones, a first-team all-conference player a season ago.
“They are big up front and have speed everywhere,” Dove added.
Dove said this week’s practices have focused on being more physical and finishing out ball games.
“Obviously, we didn’t do that last week,” he said. “So we touched up on the fundamentals and emphasized playing a full 48 minutes.”
Dove’s keys to winning were basic — establish drives to control the clock, cut out turnovers, better blocking and better tackling.