DUBLIN — They say it’s dangerous to back a wild animal into a corner. On Friday, an 0-2 Whiteville Wolfpack will come to Dublin foaming at the mouth for their first “W” of the season, and it’s the 2-0 West Bladen Knights who stand in the way.
“They may be 0-2, but they’ve lost to two pretty good football teams in North Brunswick and East Bladen,” said West Bladen coach Russell Dove. “It definitely puts us in a precarious position more than usual because they will be fighting hard for that first win.”
Whiteville, which lost a top-notch running back in Terrin Manning and two big tackles to graduation in June, will still be bringing plenty of talent to The Castle on Friday.
Senior quarterback Nydir Carr will direct an offense that operates out of the shotgun and gives Carr plenty of options — including jet sweeps, the option and spreading the defense out for one-on-one matchups.
“He (Carr) can run or pass out of any set,” Dove said. “The offense is definitely geared around him.”
Stepping for Manning is sophomore running back Keshawn Bellamy, who will get the carries Carr doesn’t take himself.
On defense, Dove said the Wolfpack will operate out of a 33 stack with a corps of linebackers that was a big key to last year’s run to the third round of the state playoffs for Whiteville. That corps includes seniors Andrew Powell, Garrett Wilson and Monchovia Gaffney.
“That 33 stack is something we don’t see very often,” Dove said, “so it’s given us something to spend a lot of time on this week.”
After whipping South Robeson 46-0 in the opener and West Columbus 52-24 last week, the Knights’ coaching staff is looking at Friday’s game as the season’s first real test.
“This one should let us know where we stand,” Dove said. “It’s a rivalry game that’s always a good one.”
Dove added that turnovers will probably tell the story on Friday, but he also emphasized the need for controlling the clock, avoiding penalties and winning the special teams game.
West Bladen is expected to be slightly shorthanded Friday with a couple of injuries. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The game will broadcast live on Cool 105.2 FM, with the pre-game starting at 7 p.m. with the radio team of Ricky Leinwand, Robert Hester, Dan Allen, Joe Melvin and Ron Daniel.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.