Bears prepare for second round matchup
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 18, 2004
AHOSKIE – Two plus two equals seven.
It isn’t good math and it may be somewhat hard logic to follow, but that’s where Hertford County High School and first-year skipper Greg Watford find themselves Friday night.
With two victories in two weeks, the Bears have erased seven years of frustration and landed a spot as one of the best eight football squads in the 3-A ranks.
The Bears, under Watford’s direction, beat archrival Bertie two weeks ago to claim their first victory over the Falcons in seven years and then knocked off West Carteret 41-22 Saturday night to grab a first-round playoff victory for the first time since 1997.
Watford was pleased with his team’s playoff win over the Patriots, who he coached last season in a twist of fate.
&uot;Against West Carteret, we did real well,&uot; Watford said. &uot;We had defensive intensity and offensive execution.&uot;
The win boosted the Bears to 7-5 overall on the season. Not an outstanding number until you consider they started the 2004 campaign a dismal 1-5. Their late-season surge was enough to give the Bears a number five seed in the 3-A playoffs.
White Oak enters Ahoskie as the number 13 seed with an overall 5-7 record after upsetting fourth-seeded Kinston Saturday night by a final of 27-14.
The Bears know Friday night will be even more difficult as they try to advance deeper into the playoffs.
&uot;It just gets tougher each round,&uot; said Watford, who himself is no stranger to the playoffs after taking all four schools he has directed to the post season. &uot;White Oak is a lot like us as we both played tough non-conference schedules.&uot;
As usual, Watford and his staff know what the visiting team will be like and they are preparing.
&uot;White Oak is strong and athletic,&uot; the Bears’ skipper said. &uot;We match up well against them and even though they are primarily a running team, they are able to pass.&uot;
As they enjoy the success they’ve tasted already this season, Watford and the Bears are looking for the opportunity to erase another 16 years of frustration.
&uot;We are excited about the opportunity we have before us,&uot; Watford insisted. &uot;Hertford County has not been to the third round of the state playoffs since 1988.&uot;
But, the Vikings shouldn’t believe the Bears have made third-round plans just yet as the HCHS coaching staff is firmly focused on Friday night.
&uot;This is a big game,&uot; Watford said. &uot;We want to show people we can play football in northeastern North Carolina. There aren’t too many times you can get two home playoff games.&uot;
The Bears’ football boss said he wanted to see the entire community at Bears’ Stadium Friday evening.
&uot;We want the fans from all over the Roanoke-Chowan area to come out and support us,&uot; he said. &uot;Bears’ Stadium is absolutely the place to be Friday night.&uot;
White Oak will pay their second-round visit to HCHS at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening.