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C. E. Murray High School
Greeleyville

 

War Eagles using bye to correct mistakes, prep for playoffs

By Justin Driggers

Consulting Editor

Greeleyville – When Lake Marion called C.E. Murray head coach Chad Wilkes and asked if he wanted to make up the game missed by Hurricane Florence, Wilkes’ response was an unequivocal “yes.”

That was mainly because the War Eagles, who had already wrapped up second place in Region 5-A, were already guaranteed a bye in the first round of the playoffs and were facing the possibility of having two weeks off prior to playing.

“One week off is nice – two weeks off is too much,” Wilkes said chuckling.

CEM won the game 30-14 to put its overall record at 6-4 entering the playoffs. The War Eagles will host Green Sea-Floyds on Nov. 16.

“We probably expected to be a little better than 6-4, even though we played a pretty tough schedule,” Wilkes said. “Our first four games were all against AA opponents or bigger. But even so, we lost a game in region that we feel like we shouldn’t have lost.

“But we don’t feel like we’ve played anywhere near as well as we’re capable of playing, and that’s what this bye week is hopefully going to help us with.”

Execution was a problem earlier in the season, but CEM has averaged at least seven yards per offensive play this season – and the number is likely higher during the last few games, Wilkes said.

“Things we really have to clean up are just mistakes, especially in the red zone,” he added. “Too many penalties and too many turnovers. That’s what we’re working on this week.”

Still, the offense has been productive. Quarterback Antonio McKnight – who took over the position from WR – has thrown for more than 700 yards eight scores and also rushed for more than 250 yards and six more TDs.

Jamall Gibson leads the team with more than 450 yards rushing and four scores and is also the second-leading receiver behind Dajuan Reid. All-state offensive lineman Jasper Graham has provided another solid year of run-blocking and a lot of big holes for the backs, Wilkes added.

Defensively, the War Eagles have eliminated the big pass plays that hurt them earlier in the year thanks in large part to McKnight now playing both ways and making plays on both sides of the ball. He has two games played at cornerback and two interceptions to show for it.

Carlton Robinson Jr., Darrell McCrea and Tyqese Bynum are among the leading tacklers with Bynum also leading the way in tackles for losses and sacks.

 

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