Seeding leaves only two at home
CHAPEL HILL – Seeding was good for some in our area, not so much for others.
All five local football teams made the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs which begin Friday night.
Northampton County High School – West is the area’s top-ranked team as the Hurricanes are seeded second in the 1-A football playoffs.
Despite being pleased with the home schedule, fourth-year West skipper Diego Hasty said he felt his bracket was tough.
&uot;We’re happy about being at home, but the top of the bracket is strong,&uot; Hasty said. &uot;First, we have to play a team we’ve already played, then we’ll get the winner of Roanoke and Lejeune. After that, if we get that far, we get Manteo. All of those are tough.
&uot;If we get to Wake Forest (site of the state title game), we earned it,&uot; Hasty added.
The Hurricanes will open with North Edgecombe, a fellow member of the Tar-Roanoke Conference. Until this year, teams in the same league couldn’t meet in the first round, but that is no longer the case.
The plus for West will be having a home playoff game for the first time in Hasty’s tenure.
&uot;We’re glad to be at home,&uot; Hasty said. &uot;We’ve been on the road for so many years, I’m happy for these kids to get a home playoff game.&uot;
One team not seeing the benefits of seeding was last year’s 3-A eastern finalist Hertford County.
The Bears ended up with an at-large bid to the playoffs thanks to a tiebreaker that left them fourth in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.
Second-year HCHS skipper Greg Watford said he wasn’t going to complain about the seeding process.
&uot;It’s not a perfect process, but its the one we have in place,&uot; the coach said. &uot;This is the way it played out, so this is the way it’s supposed to be.&uot;
Watford said his team went to the eastern state championship game last year with the process, so he would take it.
&uot;We want to win a state championship so we might as well play the best early,&uot; he said. &uot;That way we’ll find out if we belong.&uot;
The Bears will begin that quest by traveling to third-seeded Western Alamance (9-1) Friday night.
Another team that wasn’t the beneficiary of the seeding was Gates County High School. The Red Barons were seeded ninth, despite having the same record as the two teams ahead of them. That means instead of being at home, they’ll travel to Pamlico Thursday night for a 7:30 p.m. game.
&uot;Well, we felt that if we were 5-5 and second in our conference, it would come down to a draw whether we got a playoff game or not and that’s the way it turned out,&uot; veteran GCHS skipper Clark Harrell said. &uot;I wish we had that overtime loss to Northside back and we’d have been seventh.&uot;
While the Bears and Barons were a bit bitten by seeding, Bertie may have been the area’s most fortunate team. Because the Falcons ended in a three-way tie for second, they won the tiebreaker by having beaten Northeastern and drew a number two seed.
The result means Bertie will be the number seven seed, at home hosting Southern Wayne (7-3) Friday evening.
&uot;Anytime you can play at home, you’re thrilled,&uot; second-year coach Willie Roberson said. &uot;Sometimes just being at home can give you an advantage.&uot;
The coach said long rides are killers in playoff games and he was glad to have Southern Wayne making the trip to Windsor.
The final team in the Roanoke-Chowan area making the playoffs was Northampton County High School – East. The 12th seeded Rams will travel to Ayden-Grifton Friday evening.
Other eastern seeds include (1-AA) number seven Louisburg hosting 10th seeded Spring Creek, 15th seeded Southeast Halifax traveling to North Johnston (1-A) seventh-ranked Roanoke hosting Lejeune, sixth-seeded Williamston hosting Northside, 14th seeded Plymouth traveling to Manteo and fourth seeded Jamesville hosting Weldon.
In the 3-A ranks, South Central (#15) will travel to Northeast Guilford, SouthWest Edgecombe (#8) hosting West Craven, top-seeded Rocky Mount hosting Northern Vance and number 12 Washington at Gray’s Creek.