Stevens

Cougars tackle major test

Staff WriterSeptember 4, 2009 

Reggie Lucas is in his first season as a head coach, but the Wake Forest-Rolesville High skipper knows the benefits of playing a big game early in the season. His Cougars face a big one tonight.

Wake Forest-Rolesville (2-0 and rated No. 4 in the N&O rankings) is at home at Heritage High for a nonconference game against Southern Durham (2-0 and ranked No. 2 behind Southeast Raleigh).

"I'd like to say that it is a normal game week, but we're preparing for a team that is a lot faster and quicker than most teams," Lucas said. "We're going to find out a lot about ourselves."

Wake Forest has shut out Durham Riverside 41-0 and East Wake 19-0 in its first two games. Southern Durham pounded Greenville Rose 47-17 and eased past Middle Creek 28-21.

Southern is averaging 37.5 points per game, and Wake Forest hasn't given up a point.

"Competition is good for you," Lucas said. "And it is especially good to be tested early in the season. You find out a lot about yourself when you're put under pressure.

"Once you find a weakness, you can work on it and get better. Playing good people can show you your weaknesses, where you need work."

Southern Durham coach Adrian Jones likes the way his schedule is working out. The Spartans made a long trip to Greenville and played well in the opener. Last week, it played a strong Middle Creek club in the rain, which nullified some of the Spartans' speed, but Southern found a way to win.

"The idea of playing such a tough nonconference schedule will prepare us for the PAC-Six season and, hopefully, the playoffs," Jones said. "We were able to go to Greenville and concentrate on playing football on the road. Then, we played a good Middle Creek team in tough conditions. Those are the kind of things you face in the playoffs.

"Those two games gave us a lot of confidence. We are harder to beat now because we won those games."

Some coaches like to schedule weak teams early in the season and build confidence. Jones prefers to play very good teams.

"If you can win those kinds of game, your confidence goes even higher," he said.

Southern Durham's matchup against Wake Forest is the only one tonight pairing two teams in the N&O rankings.

But West Johnston and Garner, a couple of teams that fell from the top dozen after losses, have shots at ranked teams.

West Johnston, which lost to South Johnston last week, plays at No. 5 Fuquay-Varina while Garner, which dropped its opener to Millbrook, is at home against No. 9 Middle Creek.

Western Harnett is at rival Harnett Central (2-0, No. 3) and Millbrook (2-0, No. 6) is at home against East Wake. Leesville Road (2-0, No. 7) plays at Apex.

tim.stevens@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8910

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