Play-off teams have local ties

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2003

A handful of coaches who have ties to the Roanoke-Chowan area will guide their teams into second round action in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state football playoffs Friday night.

Two of those men – Greg Watford and Jim Brett – are graduates of Ahoskie High School while four more served as head coaches in the area. Bill Hawkins (Bertie), Chip Williams (Bertie), Bing Mitchell (Bertie) and Donnie Kiefer (Gates County) all directed the football fortunes of local teams during their stay in the area.

Watford directs Patriots toward second upset

In his first trip home since becoming head football coach at West Carteret, Greg Watford directed his team to a 38-22 upset of second-seeded Hertford County High School last week.

&uot;We probably played a little over our heads,&uot; Watford said of last week. &uot;It was a very good win for our program.

&uot;I told our kids we don’t stop here,&uot; he continued. &uot;Hertford County is probably the best team we’ll face in a while.&uot;

The Patriots, now 5-6 overall, will travel to seventh-seeded West Brunswick Friday night for second round action.

West Brunswick, who finished sixth in the Mid-Eastern 4-A/3-A Conference, nipped Southern Wayne

20-19 Friday night.

&uot;If we play with the same intensity this week we did last week, we can beat West Brunswick,&uot; Watford said. &uot;If we play like we have earlier this season, it will be a long night.&uot;

The coach said he had stressed this to his team.

&uot;I told them we can, realistically, be in the third round if we play,&uot; he said. &uot;If we don’t play like we should, we can go home and roll out the basketballs and the wrestling mats.&uot;

Brett prepares for second battle of Knights

Jim Brett found himself in uncomfortable territory Friday night – trailing 21-7 at the intermission of his Northern Nash Knights’ first round game at Douglas Byrd.

His Knights’ responded in the second half, however, scoring 34 unanswered points en route to a 41-28 upset of perennial power Douglas Byrd in Fayetteville.

This week, the coach and his team will look to knock off a higher seed in the 4-A playoffs as they travel to Durham where they will meet the second seeded Northern Durham team.

The Pac 6 Conference Champions knocked off Northern Nash 24-0 in the regular season and advanced to round two with a 14-0 win last week over Cape Fear.

The two teams will meet in Durham for the second time this week.

Hawkins guides Vikings’ offensive strategy

Three schools removed from his successful stint at Bertie High School in the 1980’s, Bill Hawkins’ retired as a head coach four years ago only to move right back on the sidelines as Tarboro’s Offensive Coordinator.

&uot;When you have fields to line, locker rooms, and all the other stuff that goes with being a head coach, it’s a tough job,&uot; Hawkins said. &uot;I extended my coaching career by giving that stuff up.&uot;

This year the Vikings haven’t had their traditional offensive success, according to the coach, but have been a very good defensive team.

That defense paid off last week when they put up seven points early and held off higher-seeded Northside-Jax by a 7-5 count.

&uot;We were very fortunate that we had a good game on defense Friday,&uot; Hawkins said. &uot;The kids worked extra hard and for their efforts, we get the number one seed in the east in Southwest Onslow.

&uot;They’re very similar to us,&uot; he continued. &uot;We’ve worked with them over the last few off-seasons, sharing our offense and they’ve shared their defense with us, so we’re a lot alike.&uot;

Hawkins said he and head coach Mike Schott had been watching the Stallions on film.

&uot;They’re a good offensive football team,&uot; he said. &uot;But, defensively, they’re scary.&uot;

The coach said the offensive strategy was to do whatever they did quickly and not get caught in long yardage situations.

&uot;We have some speed,&uot; he stressed, &uot;and if we’re able to pop one or two and get points on the board, who knows?

&uot;Our strategy is to go into the fourth quarter with a chance to win,&uot; he said. &uot;We just don’t want to beat ourselves in the first three quarters.&uot;

Kiefer says something has to give

Coming off an easy 56-0 win over Columbia, Roanoke High School football boss Donnie Kiefer knows his team won’t coast by Friday night when they travel to fourth-seeded Rosewood.

&uot;Basically, they’re a team with a high-powered offense,&uot; he said. &uot;Jevon Williams is an outstanding running back and their other key players – quarterback, fullback and the other two halfbacks are solid.&uot;

While two-time All-State player Trimaine Goddard is the focus of most people’s attention when they think about Roanoke, the coach said he was one of three players who were key for the Redskins.

&uot;Everybody knows about Timaine,&uot; he said. &uot;But, both Erik Whitaker and Gerald Harrison have come up big during they year for us.&uot;

Asked what his fifth-seeded team’s advantage was, Kiefer said he wasn’t sure if there was one.

&uot;I don’t know if we have an advantage,&uot; he said. &uot;I think it’s a toss-up.

&uot;We’re giving up about seven points per game on defense and their offense is scoring about 40, so something’s got to give.&uot;

The coach said no one has found a way to slow down the high-powered Eagle offense, but said he &uot;feels good about it.&uot;

Mitchell looks for consecutive upsets

Northside coach Bing Mitchell led his team to a 20-15 upset of second-seeded Camden County in the opening round of the playoffs last week and will look to continue that trend this week.

Mitchell’s Panthers will travel to seventh-seeded North Duplin. The Rebels claimed a 34-14 win over Creswell in the first round.

Northside finished fifth inside the Four Rivers 1-A Conference during the regular season while North Duplin grabbed a third-place finish inside the Carolina 1-A league.

Williams banks on experience, desire

Last week, Chip Williams said his New Bern team faced one

of the toughest defenses in North Carolina as they battle Seventy-First in the opening round of the 4AA playoffs.

The Bears were able to stop the option early and late and that was enough to post a 27-14 win over the Fayetteville-based school.

This week the road gets tougher for the defending Eastern Champions as they host Durham’s Jordan High School on Friday.

&uot;We have a tough Durham Jordan team coming in here Friday,&uot; Williams said. &uot;They’ve scored 30 points or more in their last three games and that came against quality opponents. It will certainly be a challenge for the Bears.&uot;

The coach said Jordan possesses a lot of size in key places and are well-coached.

New Bern’s biggest advantage comes in the fact that they are used to playing in big playoff games and that they are playing at home, he said, but that isn’t enough.

&uot;The bottom line is that at this point in the season, whoever wants it more is the main factor,&uot; Williams asserted, &uot;and Durham Jordan is excited about football right now. Hopefully, we’ll come to play.&uot;