ELIZABETHTOWN — On the heels of last week’s 39-33 win over James Kenan in the first round of the state’s Class 2-A East playoffs, East Bladen coach Robby Priest knew before he stepped off the field at Lenon Fisher Stadium his Eagles would spend the week working on their most glaring weakness … pass defense.
It comes just in time for this week’s second-round game against another potent passing team.
East Bladen, now 11-1 after its eight straight win, will host Snow Hill’s Greene Central, 8-4, out of the Eastern Carolina Conference. The Rams knocked off conference foe Kinston last week, 28-6, to extend their winning streak to three.
Greene Central is a senior-laden team — 23 of its 38 roster players are seniors, and many are key starters.
The Rams’ potent spread offense, which has put 400 points on the board, is led by senior quarterback Jackson Batchelor, who has completed 128 of 247 passes for 1,979 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has thrown only three interceptions.
Batchelor has a corps of top-notch receivers, starting with senior Taboris Bynum with 32 catches for 665 yards and eight touchdowns, and continuing with senior Torrence Clark with 41 catches for 538 yards and four touchdowns.
But unlike James Kenan, an aerial attack is far from the only offense Green Central will offer up. Senior running back Willie Edwards leads the Rams’ ground game with 1,676 yards and 29 touchdowns on 228 carries. Senior running back Javon Edwards has contributed 681 yards and six touchdowns on 107 carries.
If anyone thinks a potent offense is the biggest concern for the Eagles, Greene Central is also bringing a senior-filled defense that has recorded 23 sacks and picked off 12 opponents’ passes.
Leading the Rams are four players — three seniors and one junior. Senior free safety Tyreke Speight has five interceptions and two sacks; senior cornerback Bynum has five interceptions; senior linebacker Wayne Warren has five sacks; and junior tackle Terry Williams has five sacks.
The Greene Central defense has allowed 247 points this season.
East Bladen, meanwhile, has put 390 points on the board over their 12 games and has a defense that has given up just 165 points so far — though 20-percent of that total came last week.
Kickoff between the Eagles and Rams on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or email@example.com.