Some weeks, it’s easy for a high school football coach to see progress when he flips on the film of the previous game.
Other weeks, you have to look harder. And occasionally, you need a microscope to find the good news.
“You have to look hard sometimes,” Kinston head coach Rudy Free said after top-ranked Brantley certainly looked the part while beating Kinston 55-0 last Friday. “We had some guys that had to play in some situations that hadn’t been playing because of some guys we had out.”
Upon further review, Free said he keeps seeing progress from a couple of sophomore defensive linemen – Caden Carter and Conner Tew.
“Two big guys, a couple of sophomores, and they were our defensive tackles and helped us,” Free said. “About two weeks ago, we decided to play most of our offensive linemen just one way and put some younger guys in there on the defensive line. They’ve really played well.”
The contribution to the defensive is evident. But they’ve also helped the offense by keeping their teammates fresh.
“The big linemen don’t really recover. Once a big guy is done, he’s done,” Free said. “I asked our guys if that helps them and they said, ‘You just don’t know.’ It does make a difference playing one way and you can concentrate on playing just that position.
“Most of the teams we play don’t have that luxury – and we don’t to a certain extent. That’s why that will help us down the road.”
Free said some other players have shown strides to get into the playing rotation and provide reliable depth down the road.
Kinston (1-2) and Red Level (0-2) are both looking for their first region victories. The Tigers lost their opener to Straughn 19-0 and last week to McKenzie 50-12.
“They’re kind of young in some spots. They don’t have a ton of players. They’ve got around 20, 21 varsity age players,” the coach said about Red Level.
“They’ve got some athletes at some positions and some decent-sized offensive line. They’ve been struggling a little bit, last week especially. It’s at their place and it’s their first home game. It’ll be a good matchup.”
Follow Ken Rogers on Twitter @debamabeat.