“We control our own destination. That means that the only people that can take it away from us is us.” — GHS Head Coach Elvin James
By JULIAN LUCAS
Last year, the Goldsboro High School football team failed to win a single game, so the only thing on the line on Senior Night was giving the home crowd a chance to give the departing Cougars a proper sendoff.
But this year, the team finds itself with something to play for — at 4-5 heading into Friday’s matchup with Spring Creek, the Cougars need only two more wins to punch their ticket to the state playoffs.
So even though the team is coming off a tough stretch in which it lost to some highly touted competitors, Coach Elvin James said he is confident that the young men he has coached this season have what it takes to bring the program back into the postseason.
“The thing is, I want them to understand that we, at times, have been our worst enemy, but at the same time, we have a good program and that we control our own destination,” James told the Pride. “We control our own destination. That means that the only people that can take it away from us is us, so we’re gonna go back and do the things we’ve been doing. We won’t change anything. (Xzavior) Bowden will get his 25-30 carries. J.B. (Rhodes) will get his. The line is gonna come off the line and block. So we’re just gonna go over there and punch them in the mouth.”
Speaking of Rhodes, the young running back, who has logged more than 300 yards on the ground and scored six rushing touchdowns this season, talked to the Pride about his most recent performance — his first 100-yard rushing game — and how he feels about his team’s chances of winning out and making states.
“I stepped up my game Friday (against Wallace-Rose Hill) and I just had to pull it out,” he said, adding that he uses all the attention opposing teams pay to Xzavior Bowden to his advantage. “I feel like I’m growing. I feel like when teams prepare for Xzavior, I feel I need to step my game up.”
He did against Wallace-Rose Hill. Rhodes rushed for 104 yards on 11 carries, including a 40-yard bolt that represented one of the few bright spots for the Cougars last Friday.
When asked how many yards he thinks he’ll get against Spring Creek, he laughed.
“Another hundred,” he said.
Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. But with Friday being Senior Night, one thing is clear. Everyone should come out and give the team — and its seniors — a proper sendoff, as this must-win game could help the Cougars on their way to clinching what, at the beginning of the season, seemed like an unlikely playoff birth.