By JULIAN LUCAS
With a slash — and after shaking off several members of the Southern Wayne football team and leaving the crowd awestruck — Xzavior Bowden was headed for the end zone. But two defenders stood in his way.
Surely, this wasn’t going to be a touchdown run.
If you believe that, you don’t know Goldsboro High School’s junior running back.
Bowden had no choice, so he took a leap of faith. Moments later, after successfully hurdling the two Saints and leaving the crowd in shock, Bowden picked up the six.
“It wasn’t my first time hurdling, but it was my first time hurdling over two people,” Bowden told the Pride. “They said the play looked like something off of Madden.”
His stats did, too. Bowden carried the ball twenty-two times, scored four touchdowns, and racked up 206 yards against Southern Wayne. (In just three games, Bowden has logged more than 500 rushing yards.)
The young man also punished them in his role as linebacker, notching eleven tackles. It was a breakout game — but one Bowden insisted could never have happened without his teammates.
“The same way they depend on me, I depend on them,” he said.
Dorian Rogers, a GHS safety and wide receiver, is one of the people Bowden depends on. He had five tackles of his own against Southern Wayne and said he is looking forward to the Charles B. Aycock game Friday night — even if it means the Cougars will have played two games in four days.
“We’re gonna try our best,” Rogers said. “Even if we don’t win, we’ll still try our best.”
But he believes in his team and thinks they will earn “the W” — both against CBA and GHS’ other upcoming opponents.
“It’s different from last year. We’re not 0-11 no more,” he said confidently, referring to last season’s winless campaign. “We’re going to States.”
Running back J.B. Rhodes took a more serious tone. Yeah, he was happy with the win, but he believes he could have played better. So look out for Rhodes Friday night. Because he told the Pride, “I’m gonna get my mind right.”
The Cougars’ head coach, Elvin James, hopes all of his players have their mind right Friday because their bodies have a disadvantage. Coming into tomorrow’s game against Aycock, the Golden Falcons will have a full week of rest versus the Cougars’ three days.
But James isn’t one to make excuses. After defeating Southern Wayne 32-21, Coach James stated he is very proud of his young men and the way they performed Tuesday night, and seemed unbothered that the Cougars have a game against CBA only three days later.
“It’s still just a football game. We just gonna do what we do. We’re gonna man up. We’re not gonna look at the time. We got to play on Friday. And they got to play. We need to be ready. If not, they’re gonna punch us in the mouth,” he said. “We want to shut down the whole system. I truly feel we have the young men who can do that. I personally believe we control our own destiny. But nobody is gonna lay down for us.”