Bears start fresh under new coach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

AHOSKIE – After posting identical 6-5 regular season records for four consecutive years, a change is definitely on the way for the Hertford County High School varsity football team.

First-year head coach Dealton Cotton has taken the reigns from Daryl Allen who retired at the end of the 2002 campaign. He becomes the fourth head football coach in HCHS history and only the sixth coach to lead an Ahoskie-based high school’s gridiron fortunes since the 1960’s. That proud program has been led by the likes of Al Vaughan, Allen, the late Carl Brock, Brian Moorings, Allen (who came out of retirement in 1997) and now Cotton.

The latest leader of HCHS football isn’t making any promises concerning if the Bears can snap their string of 6-5 records or if the club can end their absence from the NCHSAA play-offs – they haven’t earned a post-season berth since 1999.

&uot;We have a lot of inexperience on this year’s team, but I will promise you that we’ll work hard and do the things we need to do in order to improve,&uot; said Cotton who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach on Allen’s staff.

He continued, &uot;We’ll find out very quickly what we’re made of when we scrimmage at New Bern on Aug. 9,&uot; noted Cotton.

New Bern was last year’s state runner-up in the NCHSAA Class 4-A play-offs.

&uot;After the scrimmage, we face a tough non-conference schedule,&uot; he added. &uot;That will hopefully prepare us as we enter our conference games.&uot;

Those non-conference contests are: Plymouth (home, Aug. 15), at Tarboro (Aug. 22), at Gates County (Aug. 29), at Wilson Hunt (Sept. 5) and D.H. Conley (home, Sept. 12).

The Bears open play in the Northeastern Coastal Conference on Sept. 19 during a road trip to Elizabeth City Northeastern. Their remaining league games are: Edenton (home, Sept. 26), Currituck (home, Oct. 3), at Pasquotank County (Oct. 10), at Manteo (Oct. 24) and Bertie (home, Oct. 31).

&uot;This is a pretty tough conference,&uot; noted Cotton. &uot;We’ve got to be ready to play each and every week.&uot;

HCHS joined all other North Carolina high school football squads in the opening day of practice on Monday. Cotton welcomed 35-to-40 varsity players to his first practice session as a head coach.