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If High Point Andrews coach Herb Goins had his way, he would eliminate the open date on the Red Raiders' football schedule.

``I don't like open weeks,' Goins said. ``I really like a 10-week season.'But even Goins had to admit the open date last Friday could not have come at a better time. The break gave the Red Raiders time to savor their 14-0 win over perennially powerful Page two weeks ago without having to prepare immediately for Class 2-A power Thomasville. Andrews faces Thomasville in a non-conference contest on Friday night at High Point's Simeon Stadium.

``It might have been hard bringing the players back down to earth,' Goins said.

Goins says the Raiders need the extra time to prepare for an unbeaten Thomasville squad known for its tenacious defense. The Bulldogs nipped Ragsdale 18-17 last week after shutting out their opponent two weeks ago.

``Coach (Allen) Brown loads up his best players on defense,' Goins said. ``Lamont McCauley has been impressive at defensive tackle and linebackers Zeke Dula and Kerry Mock are tough players.

``Brown makes no bones about it, he tries to win games with defense. He likes for his defense to force errors and then he uses the offense to punch the ball across.'

Goins has been working with the offense, especially the rushing attack, in an effort to reduce turnovers.

``We need to cut our mistakes to a minimum if we are going to have a chance against them,' Goins said.

The Red Raiders have a solid defense of their own. Linebacker Eddie Robertson heads a veteran unit that kept Page out of the end zone in the Red Raiders' season opener.

``I felt we had the ability to defeat Page but never in my mind did I think we would shut Page out,' Goins said. ``That was icing on the cake.'

Andrews will have to rise to the occasion again Friday to stop Thomasville running backs Rashein Feaster and Miguel Weldon, both 1,000-yard rushers last season.

``We've got to stop their long, ball-control drives,' Goins said. ``Against Ragsdale, it took them 15 plays to score on one series.'

HAVING A BALL. Dawn Essick has made a smooth transition from assistant coach to head coach on the Ragsdale volleyball team.

Essick, an assistant coach the past five years at the school, has guided the Tigers to a 2-0 mark in the Piedmont Athletic 3-A Conference and a 5-0 overall record in her first year as head coach.

Even though the Tigers are junior-oriented, Essick says the team has plenty of experience.

``This group of girls has always practiced and played together,' Essick said. ``A lot of them played on the varsity as 10th-graders.'

Senior server Mary Ann Hutchinson and junior setters Kimberly Flynn and Carrie Smith head a small but quick squad.

``We are not real big - the tallest girls on the team are 5-foot-10 - but we cover a lot of area,' Essick said. ``Our serving has been consistent and we are getting hits.'

In addition to coaching the varsity, Essick is in charge of the junior varsity team which also is unbeaten at 5-0.

MILESTONE. Northeast Guilford's 4-1 win over Eastern Guilford in soccer last Wednesday was big in more ways than one, according to first-year Northeast coach Bill Bookout.

``Not only was the victory the first ever in the school's two-year history,' Bookout said. ``But it takes the pressure off the kids. After coming off a winless season, it is good to see the players win.'

Bookout says the victory shows how much progress the team has made since last season.

``We scored four goals in our win. I think last year we scored four goals the entire season,' Bookout said. ``This year, we have more guys who have soccer experience. Last year, we did not have that.'

As of Friday, Northeast's record was 1-1 in the Mid-Triad 3-A and 1-2-1 overall.

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