With their 3A State Playoff chances pretty much fallen by the wayside, East Lincolnâ€™s head coach Matt Rikard believes his team has nothing to lose by taking chances against the East Gaston Warriors.
â€œWe donâ€™t have anything to lose. Weâ€™re going to throw everything we got at them. Weâ€™re going to take some chances and hope they work.â€
The Mustangs (2-7, 1-4 Big South 3A) laid the ball on the ground eight times against Hunter Huss last week, a trend that has robbed them of a couple of potential wins. Rikard, who has understandably grown tired of talking about the subject, says that canâ€™t continue to happen.
â€œWe canâ€™t fumble. Offensively, if you take away the fumbles weâ€™ve played pretty decent football. When weâ€™re doing something good we lay it on the ground. As long as weâ€™re doing that, itâ€™s going to be tough to beat teams that are as good or better than us,â€ he said.
A group that Rikard hopes will step up this week against the Warriors is the offensive line.
â€œUpfront weâ€™re going to have to play a good ball game. Theyâ€™re very good on the defensive line. Theyâ€™re big and strong and weâ€™re going to have to do a very good job upfront,â€ he said.
East Lincoln will look to get the ball in the hands of receiver Thomas Huntley who had a mediocre game against Hunter Huss catching two passes for 11 yards.
â€œThomas has dropped some passes. He normally doesnâ€™t. A lot of that comes from Hunter Hussâ€™ double coverage. We werenâ€™t able to free him up like weâ€™re normally able to do because on the fades, they were just sitting there over top,â€
Against a modified 4-4 defense, with a walk-up strong safety, Grayson Schram should get plenty of chances to throw the ball.
East Gaston (5-4, 3-2 BS3A) is led by quarterback Ryan Baker who Rikard believes is as good as advertised.
â€œHe moves well, has a strong arm, is accurate and doesnâ€™t make a lot of mistakes,â€ he said.
The Warriors also have a very talented duo at the running position that East will have to slow in order to be competitive in Ronnie Brooks and Desmond Wilson.
â€œTheyâ€™re probably as good of running backs as weâ€™ve seen all year and they got two on the same team. They have speed, quickness and power and have great receivers,â€ Rikard said.
by John Mark Brooks