Oct 31, 2011
Last season, Cary won nine games in the regular season. The Imps' 9-2 record was the best season at Cary since the Imps made a run to the third round of the playoffs in 2005, winning 11 games.
Cary's 9-2 record in 2010 was awarded with a trip to conference foe and Tri-9 champion Fuquay-Varina in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Imps finished the regular season this year with an 8-2 mark, but instead of playing a conference opponent on the road, Cary will get a home game against an unfamiliar opponent – Lumberton.
"That's the exciting part. We're glad to be home and we're glad to play somebody else out of the area," Cary coach Ben Kolstad said. "One of the special things about the playoffs in the past is that you got to play somebody you didn't get to play before, and this should be a good challenge for us."
Cary returned most of it's offensive firepower off last season's squad – quarterback Connor Chase, tight end Jackson Gomez, and running backs Deandre Henry and Marquise Sherrod-Cooper.
Chase has thrown for more than 1,100 yards this season, and Gomez is one of his favorite targets. The tight end has 300 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season.
The Imps are a run-first offense though. Henry, a senior, leads a balanced running attack with nearly 1,000 rushing yards this season. Sherrod-Cooper has about 500.
Kolstad expects to see a similar style from Lumberton.
"They don't throw it a whole lot... They have the ability to throw it, so we're not going to say they won't throw it, but we expect them to come and hit, and run, and do all those smash mouth things," said Kolstad.
Lumberton started the season off hot. The Pirates won their first seven games, including an overtime win over Jack Britt.
The last three weeks have been a struggle for Lumberton though. After losing to Richmond County 27-22, the Pirates fell to Scotland County 35-7, then lost to county rival Purnell Swett 25-7 in the season finale.
But Kolstad isn't paying much attention to the three game losing streak.
"We're expecting a fight. They're coming from a tough conference," Kolstad said. "They're an athletic team, they're a physical team, they play pretty good defense, and they'll come after you."
Kolstad believes his team is up for a battle with Lumberton though, and he credits the team's preparedness with the strength of the Tri-9 Conference.
"We feel like we're prepared. We feel like we've been tested in our conference," said Kolstad. "Our conference has prepared us for this type of challenge and we're excited to see what happens."
Kickoff between Cary and Lumberton is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Cooper Field in Cary.
"I love it. Playing somebody different with the possibility of playing somebody different again next week... it's exciting to know that we have a home game this week and if we win, we'd play another well-respected team in either South View or Jack Britt," said Kolstad. "In the playoffs the best of the best are sticking around and you better be prepared."
This story is closed for comments.