DUBLIN — West Bladen will have one additional challenge besides those presented by a Northeastern team Friday when it opens the state’s Class 2-A playoffs.
“It’s going to be about a five-hour trip … one way,” Knights coach Russell Dove said. “That’s something we’re going to have to manage.”
West Bladen’s gridders will leave school early Friday morning. But once kickoff rolls around that evening, a whole new set of challenges will be in front of them — courtesy of the 9-2 Eagles.
“They aren’t fancy, but what they do, they do real well,” Dove said.
Northeastern operates its offense out of the spread and will throw the ball about 75 percent of the time. But when the Eagles get inside the 20 and near the goal line, they will often line up in the Power I.
The offense is directed by quarterback Quaymon Williams, who is 167-for-257 through the air for 2,514 yards and 28 touchdowns. His favorite targets are wide receiver Travis McWilliams, who has 60 catches for 986 yards and 15 touchdowns, and “athlete” Ge’dari Liverman, who has 54 catches for 875 yards and 10 touchdowns.
On the ground, running back Ladon Jordan carries a majority of the load, rushing for 898 yards and eight touchdowns on 93 carries. William Snyder has added 205 yards and eight touchdowns on 38 carries.
That quarterback can move around and buy time,” Dove said. “And he’s got a really good arm.”
Northeastern’s offense has racked up 452 points this season, or 41 points per game.
On defense, where the Eagles have allowed just 12.5 points per game, Northeastern will line up in 6-1 or 6-2. The defense is led by middle linebacker Jordan Spellman, who has 109 tackles this season, and Simpson, an outside linebacker who has 95 tackles and eight sacks.
“Those two are tackling machines,” Dove said.
Also on defense, the Eagles have gotten 48 tackles and 11.5 sacks from lineman Aryhan Jones; 62 tackles and nine sacks from defensive back Jamar Johnson; and six interceptions each from Trever Overton and Liverman.
“They look really good on both sides of the ball; big and fast,” Dove said. “And defensively, there are no surprises — they just line up and bring it.”
Dove said the Knights are hoping to execute their own offense to keep Northeastern’s offense off the field. But when the Eagles do have the ball, Dove hopes the Knights can pressure the quarterback. More importantly, West Bladen will need to finish drives and take advantage of opportunities.
“We have to put points on the board when we get inside the 20,” Dove said.