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Bears ‘hunt’ for Eastern State title

GREENVILLE – All due respect to East Carolina University, but the biggest game played at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this season will happen today.

It is on the field normally occupied by the Pirates on Saturday afternoon, the Bears of Hertford County and the Warriors of Wilson’s James B. Hunt High School will decide who is headed for Winston-Salem and the state 3-A title game.

The Bears (9-5), who have put together an incredible eight-game streak, will be meeting one of the teams that sent them reeling to an 0-4 start this season will meet a Hunt team that has tasted victory 12 times in 14 outings this season. Among those wins was a 13-6 win over HCHS in Ahoskie earlier this season.

HCHS has put together a convincing eight-game win streak in which the Bears have gone from a team struggling to find its’ identity to one that is playing for the right to be called the best 3-A team in the East.

First-year skipper Greg Watford said his club is enjoying the experience.

&uot;We are excited to be playing in the eastern final,&uot; Watford said. &uot;We are having fun. We have had a good week of practice and everybody is healthy.&uot;

The Bears have first-hand knowledge of the club they will square off against in Greenville.

&uot;We know Wilson Hunt is a good football team,&uot; Watford said. &uot;We have to hold onto the football, not give up big plays and, if we swarm on defense, we can be successful.&uot;

Leading that Hertford County defensive attack this season has been by junior Joel Britt, who leads the team in tackles.

Senior Ken Lee and junior Jaquin Sessoms lead the squad with five interceptions each. Lee returned one of his picks for a touchdown.

Offensively, the Bears continue to rely on junior LaMarcus Bond. The tailback has carried for nearly 1,000 years (922) on 100 carries this season. His per-carry average is a solid 9.2 yards.

Kenneth Liverman joins him in the backfield. The senior has 709 yards this season on 98 carries with a 7.2 yards-per-carry average.

Quarterback Alan Corbett and running back Jermaine Williams lead Hunt.

In the first meeting between the clubs, Williams rushed for 138 of Hunt’s 228 yards of total offense. He had a pair of touchdowns and broke runs of over 10 yards seven times.

&uot;Williams is very quick and we will have to contain him,&uot; Watford insisted.

Corbett also contributed to the Warriors’ win as he completed five-of-nine passes for 72 yards.

The main part of this Saturday’s contest for Hertford County is that it gives them an opportunity to continue pushing for the goal they set at the beginning of the season and held onto even during a rocky 1-5 start to the 2004 season.

&uot;Our goal since our first practice was to win the state championship,&uot; Watford said. &uot;We are one game away from having the chance to realize that dream.

&uot;We had adversity early, but we made the state playoffs,&uot; he said. &uot;We have worked hard all season and we have talent. We are looking forward to this game.&uot;

The Bears’ first trip to the eastern finals in 16 years will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. on Bagwell Field. Coverage of the contest can be heard live on WDLZ-FM 98.3 in Murfreesboro beginning at 5 p.m. The call will come from the &uot;Voice of the Bears&uot; Gattis Hodges and his partner, Trent McGee.