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Gates preparing to open

GATESVILLE – Currituck certainly presents concerns for Gates County High School football coach Clark Harrell.

The school that pays the Red Barons a visit Friday night at 7:30 p.m. is a much larger institution and has a game under their belt. The Knights lost at Manteo 35-7 in their season-opener last week.

GCHS is getting ready to open the 2005 campaign Friday evening and has only two scrimmages on which to build as they square off with the 3-A Knights. That is the main concern Harrell holds heading into the home-opener.

&uot;I think the number one thing for us is that we don’t beat ourselves,&uot; Harrell said. &uot;I’m not taking anything away from Currituck, but I feel like our main concern Friday night has to be Gates County.&uot;

The 11-year veteran skipper of the Red Barons said he feels like Currituck was able to get out their first week turnovers and mistakes when they took to the field. That simple fact gives the visitors a big advantage heading into Friday’s game.

&uot;They have a huge advantage having played already,&uot; Harrell said. &uot;As Elton Winslow used to say, you can have as many scrimmages as you want, but it’s different when the coach has to stay on the sideline during a real game.&uot;

Harrell has seen some things that pleased him during scrimmages at Tarboro and Columbia, but insists those are different come Friday.

&uot;You never know how a team will react when you’re not on the field with them anymore,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve done some things well during the scrimmages, but Friday will show us where we are.

&uot;Currituck has the advantage of already seeing what mistakes they were going to make and they can go out and make adjustments if they need to,&uot; Harrell added. &uot;We haven’t had that chance yet.&uot;

As he heads into the game, turnovers are an area Harrell will emphasize this week.

&uot;Number one for us has to be not beating ourselves,&uot; he said. &uot;We can’t go in there and spot someone a touchdown or 14 points on mistakes and then try to fight back in the game.&uot;

While turnovers and mistakes will be a key issue, Harrell knows he is heading into the matchup with a high-powered offensive attack.

Senior running back Raphael Eason will lead the way for the Red Barons. The most seasoned of the backs, Eason has deadly speed which Harrell said will be key for his team’s attack.

&uot;When number 46 for Gates County has the ball, people are going to be trying to stop him quickly because all he needs is one step,&uot; Harrell said.

Joining Eason in the backfield will be his brother, Derrick, at the fullback spot while last year’s part-time starter at running back, Graylon Boone, will move to start at quarterback for Gates County.

The Red Baron defense will also look to use their team speed as they begin play.

Gates County will host Currituck at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.