In some ways, Anson County is an unfamiliar opponent for Havelock. But in other ways, the Bearcats are very familiar.
Anson makes the 4 1/2-hour drive to Havelock for a second-round playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The game marks the first meeting between the two schools.
“That’s what you get in the playoffs,” Bryant said. “You play people you don’t normally play in the regular season.”
While the name may be unfamiliar, the offense isn’t, Bryant said.
“They run a spread offense, no-huddle offense, similar to ours,” he said. “Some of their schemes are very similar to ours. It’s an offense our kids see a lot, so they’re accustomed to it.
“They’ve got a really good athlete at quarterback. He’s similar to what we saw against West Craven who gave us some problems.”
Anson quarterback J’Maine Harris has thrown for 1,438 yards and 13 touchdowns. But he has also been intercepted 15 times.
On the ground, Jekev Robinson has 1,072 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing on the season. In Anson’s 30-20 victory over Southern Guilford last week, the ninth-seeded Bearcats (6-6) had 245 yards rushing.
“They’re athletic, really athletic,” Bryant said. “They’ve got some really good players.”
Anson averages 21.9 points per game but will face a Havelock defense that has posted seven shutouts and allowed just six offensive touchdowns all year.
But Bryant knows that defense has an ally in the Ram offense, which rushed for 342 yards in last week’s 48-0 victory over Topsail.
“We’re going to have to figure out a way to score some points on them and try to keep their offense off the field,” he said.
Anson gives up 25.2 points per game but has recorded 19 sacks and forced 28 turnovers, including five interceptions from Lamonte Suggs.
“They’re very active on defense,” Bryant said.
As for the top-seeded and two-time defending state champion Rams (12-0), Bryant expects receiver Matthew Boykin and linebacker Joey Godette to be back on the field Friday night after sitting out last week’s game with minor injuries.
“They could have played this past Friday if we thought we needed them, but we decided to let them rest so it wouldn’t be those nagging injuries throughout the playoffs,” Bryant said.
He said the Rams weren’t making major changes in preparation for Anson.
“We’re just tweaking stuff,” Bryant said. “We’ll add a couple of new plays here and there and a couple of new fronts on defense here and there just to mix it up. But, our base stuff is what we’re going to continue to run with just a couple of tweaks.”
Bryant said the key to the game would be the fundamentals — blocking and tackling.
“Offensively, we’ve got to move the chains, and we’ve got to do a better job of sustaining our blocks and continue not turning the ball over,” he said. “On defense, we’ve got to keep playing like we have been playing. Our defense has done an outstanding job all year.”