BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — In 2017, the East Bladen Eagles once again proved to be the top team in the county with their 48-12 win over the West Bladen Knights.
Both coaches say the success East has had over West comes down to one thing: tradition.
“What Coach Fisher, Coach Lewis and Coach Doug Henderson built before me is big,” East Bladen Head Coach Robbie Priest said. “We’ve been lucky and fortunate for it to carry on.”
“I think for us it’s just a matter of building tradition. They have a lot more football tradition than us. It’s just the way it is. But we’re still trying to build that tradition. It just takes time.”
It takes time and it takes hard work, something Coach Kris Williams and the Knights continue to put in coming into the 2018 season.
The team lost 16 seniors from their team a year ago that finished 4-7. But they return starting quarterback Tyre Boykin and he looks to be a difference maker this season.
“We going to try and spread things out more, but we’re still going to run the ball like we’re used to running it,” Williams said. “We’ve got a quarterback that’s one of our best athletes and we’re going to be asking him to do a lot. That means new kids have a chance to step up. They’ve got a place to be.”
Meanwhile over in Elizabethtown, the Eagles have been through a lot this offseason.
Not only have they lost several key stars like Xavier Wooten, but their Coach Robbie Priest battled and beat cancer. He takes the “appreciate every day” mindset into his coaching and looks to instill it in the kids.
When the season begins in a few weeks, he hopes that attitude and their winning tradition can carry over into victories in 2018.
“We’re going to have to rely on the seniors, that has been in the program for four years, to step up and carry the load for the team just like any other teams,” Coach Priest said. “We just prepare our boys to do the best they can and hope we put a good foot forward each Friday night. We want to put a good product on the field that the fans and the parents can be happy about.”
West Bladen opens the season at home against South Brunswick. East Bladen opens up their conference title defense against Clinton. Both games are on August 24.
Stay tuned to WWAY this week at 11 p.m. for the rest of our season previews.