Game Preview: Laney football rides to Shallotte for date with West Brunswick

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Laney (2-2, 5-4) at West Brunswick (4-1, 8-2)

 Two of the top running games in the area square off Friday night as Laney looks to end a two-game skid with a trip to Shallotte for a date with West Brunswick.

The Trojans are coming off its first setback in league play, but West Brunswick remains in control of its own destiny as the top 3A team in the split 3A/4A Mideastern Conference and eager to bounce back for a chance to share a division title. Laney returns to the field after the bye week looking to put a wrinkle in the Trojans hopes of finishing tied atop the conference.

Imeek Watkins and Bubba McCray have been two names high school football fans have heard for the last several seasons. Watkins has rushed for 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns under a new offensive system in Buctown this season.

McCray has over 1,400 yards on the ground and 22 touchdowns, but was held to just 65 yards in last week’s 34-26 setback. Maliek King has emerged as a key asset to the West Brunswick ground attack, which averages around 300 rushing yards per game. While King is typically used in short yardage situations and to wear down the opposing defense, Tariq Thomas adds a big play threat with a good mix of speed and athleticism. His potential was evident last week when he took the first play from scrimmage 67 yards on a jet sweep into the end zone.

Maliek King. Photo courtesy- Cape Fear Photography.
Maliek King. Photo courtesy- Cape Fear Photography.

The matchup to look for in this contest will be the Laney defense against the West Brunswick run game. Special teams could also play a big role in what should be a close game as both programs haven’t been able to find much consistency.

Turnovers plagued the Trojans one week ago, but remain unbeaten at 5-0 on their home turf.  The Bucs have allowed just 12.3 points per game this fall. However, Laney has struggled to get the end zone at times, averaging 20 points per game.

Defensively, West Brunswick needs to control the line of scrimmage and try to contain Watkins. Forcing Sidbury to make plays with his feet and through the air will bode well for the Trojans’ defense.

Stat leaders

West Brunswick

  • QB Owen McDowell: 40-of-62, 612 yards, 3TD/3INT
  • RB Bubba McCray: 195 carries, 1,463 yards, 22TD; Maliek King: 55 carries, 292 yards, 9TD; Tariq Thomas: 36 carries, 366 yards;
  • WR Wehrly Brandon: 8 catches, 176yards; Tariq Thomas: 9 catches, 142 yards

Laney

  • QB Sherod Sidbury: 22-of-46, 458yds, 3TD/3INT; 92 carries, 447 yards, 7TD
  • RB Sherod Sidbury: 186 carries, 1,172 yards, 10TD
  • WR Jason Billingslea: 8 catches, 151 yards, 2TD