East welcomes North

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2004

CREEKSVILLE – It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here.

Northampton County High School – East will host their first playoff appearance since 1997 here Friday night when they host North Johnston in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state football playoffs.

The Rams, coming off their first Tar-Roanoke Conference championship, rallied from a 1-4 start to finish 6-5 on the season and grab the number seven seed in the postseason.

As second-year skipper H.B. Harris looks at the turnaround that took place this season, he gives credit generously.

&uot;I think the main factor and all the credit should be extended to the players themselves,&uot; Harris insisted. &uot;They have responded admirably to the coaching they’re getting.

&uot;Also, accolades should go to Coach (Mark) Long and Coach (Donald) Gibb,&uot; he continued. &uot;They have, especially in the late-season run, had the team prepared. Still, above all, the credit goes to this team.&uot;

The Rams will host North Johnston, a team that has put together a solid season and will enter the contest at 8-3.

Harris said he had seen the team on tape and had an idea of what kind of squad would be invading Roy F. Lowry Stadium.

&uot;They are very quick, well-coached, fundamentally sound and disciplined team,&uot; Harris said. &uot;That’s what we anticipate seeing Friday night.&uot;

North Johnston will depend heavily on running back Adrian Bristow, a 1,000-yard rusher for the season.

One of the biggest keys for the Rams, as they make their return to the postseason, will be having the opportunity to play in the friendly confines of Lowry Stadium.

&uot;It’s tremendous,&uot; Harris said. &uot;Without exception, to play at home and not have to hit the road will benefit us. I think playing in a friendly environment will give us the opportunity to play well.&uot;

Also key for East will be having the support of those who have endured the playoff drought.

The coach addressed those who had waited patiently for the Rams to return to the playoffs.

&uot;There’s a song that says, ‘congratulations,’ and that’s what I would say to those who have supported us and been there with us,&uot; Harris said. &uot;It’s well-deserved. From the assessment I got when I came here last year, I would say it’s long overdue.

&uot;They should be proud of the student-athletes at East and what they have accomplished,&uot; he added. &uot;It couldn’t happen to a better, finer, more deserving group of people than the Rams’ faithful.

&uot;To that extent, we’re only as strong as the community,&uot; he continued. &uot;We want to invite them to come out and support us as we continue with Friday’s playoff contest.&uot;

The Rams will host North Johnston at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.