DUBLIN — A week after suffering its first loss of the season, a 22-12 setback against Fairmont, West Bladen coach Kris Williams knows there’s one area his Knights can’t let happen again.
“We’ve got to score when we’re in the red zone (inside the opponent’s 20),” he said. “We can’t leave points out on the field like we did last week.”
On top of that, West Bladen was flagged for numerous, drive-changing penalties on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve been working on getting that cleaned up,” Williams said.
The Knights will travel to Red Springs for a Three Rivers Conference game against the Red Devils on Friday, and what Williams thinks he’ll find is primarily a run-oriented offense and a crowd-the-line defense.
On offense, Red Springs will lean on sophomore running back Lee McLean, who has rushed for 478 yards and four touchdowns on 74 carries this season. Quarterback Denyon McKeithan has also put the ball in the air, throwing for 258 yards with four TDs and four interception on 16-of-36 passing.
The defense is led by last season’s Robeson County Defensive Player of the Year Jerome Bass, a senior defensive end who has been in on 33 tackles and has three sacks. He’s joined by junior linebacker Aaron Hunt, who has 22 tackles. As a team, the Red Devils’ defense already has eight sacks.
Red Springs also has some size on the line. Led by 5-10, 315 junior Jaylen Jacobs, the Red Devils also have three others who are 275 or better.
“The do have good athletes,” Williams said. “We’re going to have to play our assignments, execute and be disciplined.”
In addition, Williams also said his Knights need to avoid turnovers and penalties.
Red Springs leads the overall series, 4-3, and the last game played between the two teams — in 2012 — was a 67-27 Red Springs blowout when the Red Devils operated out of the spread offense.
Kickoff on Friday in Red Springs will be at 7 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.