Vikings Prepare to Face Eagles
Union Pines head coach Ryan Riggan wants his football team to forget and move forward when they hit the field for a league game against Western Harnett tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Lillington.
Monday, the Vikings suffered a 49-0 Cape Fear Valley Conference (CFVC) loss to Gray’s Creek (5-1, 1-1) in Cameron.
“We have talked to the guys all week about putting that Monday night game behind us,” Riggan said, “especially because it is such a short turnaround. So our mindset is to almost have amnesia.
“We played a really good team Monday in Gray’s Creek. In addition, we did not help matters by not doing many things well as a group. As a result we have been working hard to block that all out and instead focus on some of the positive things we have done this season in an effort to get back on track.”
With a record of 2-4 overall and 0-2 in league play, Union Pines displayed a ground-and-pound style of offensive football in its wins against 1-A North Moore and 1-A East Montgomery. Another area that has helped Union Pines remain competitive in four of the six games it has played this season is ball security.
Neither positive aspect was present in the Vikes’ loss last week. Union Pines carried the ball 24 times for 29 yards in the tilt and saw three of the Vikings’ five turnovers lead directly to points for its opponent, including two defensive touchdowns.
“We must go back to playing mistake free, turnover free football,” said Riggan. “We turned the ball over five times last week, and I am pretty sure that matches our giveaway total in the other five games we have played this season.
“Those turnovers will kill us. We are a ball-control team and that is how we need to play. We want to possess, move the chains, run some clock on offense and move the football for long periods of time and when you are turning the ball over it takes away your ability to do that.”
At 1-5 overall and 0-1 in CFVC play, Western Harnett enters tonight’s game after a 31-12 loss to Southern Lee (5-1, 2-0) in its conference opener last week
On the season, the Eagles have been outscored 188-101, with their lone win coming on opening week in a 37-6 decision over 1-A South Robeson. Notable losses for Western Harnett include a 41-14 defeat against 4-A Pinecrest and a 53-7 pounding by 4-A Purnell Swett.
According to Riggan, Eagles’ senior running back Jordan Trapp is a player that makes their run-oriented offense go.
“On defense we have to make better tackles and do a better job of containing,” he said. “Trapp has run the ball pretty well against us the past two years and is a really good player.”
This season Trapp leads Western in rushing with seven touchdowns on the ground and 480 yards on 92 attempts, with an average of 5.2 yards per carry.
“Our focus has been on Trapp this week,” Riggan said, “and that is where it will be during the game. The best thing the Eagles do is run the ball and Trapp is there best option. So we want to take away their best option, limit the things he can do and make them try to best us some other way.”
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