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Year of the Hurricanes

News-Herald Editorial

As residents of eastern North Carolina, we’ve all seen the destruction caused by one of Mother Nature’s most brutal forces n hurricanes.

However, not all hurricanes are bad.

Taking their team mascot from what is commonplace here in eastern ‘Carolina, the Hurricanes of Northampton County High School-West are much more than just a gust of humid air this year.

As the 2005 high school football season continues, so do coach Diego Hasty’s Hurricanes.

With only one non-conference blemish on their current 13-1 record, Northampton-West is set to enter uncharted territory n a spot in Friday night’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Class 1-A Eastern Finals. This marks the first time in the history of Northampton County public school football that a team has advanced all the way to the eastern state finals.

All that’s standing in the Hurricanes way are the undefeated (14-0) Seahawks of Southside High School.

West travels to Southside on Friday from where the winner advances to the NCHSAA Class 1-A state championship game on Dec. 10 at Groves Stadium on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

Do the Hurricanes have enough remaining energy to make it that far? The answer is a resounding n yes! There’s plenty left in the “tank” of this extremely talented football team.

Not only do the Hurricanes have enormous talent on the field, but on the sidelines as well.

Hasty, a veteran skipper who is also a Northampton County native, leads a cast of coaches that have perhaps forgotten more about football than most coaches claim to understand. Assistants Jerome Williams (offensive coordinator) and David Crossen (defensive coordinator) have been in Gaston for a number of years. Both men are proven leaders and either could easily take the next step in their careers by accepting head coach offers from other schools.

What sets this team apart from the rest is the fact that the ‘Canes pack a one-two punch on offense n using both a rugged “Wishbone” running attack and a five-wide, empty backfield passing game. That blend is rare, but it works at Northampton-West due to a wealth of talented players and a coaching staff that is able to design, teach and watch their young men properly execute those x’s and o’s.

Meanwhile, the West defense is a hard-hitting bunch. In this past Friday’s win over powerful Manteo, it was the Hurricanes defense that twice stopped the visiting Redskins inside the final five minutes, setting the stage for a heart-stopping win where the Hurricanes rallied to claim a 32-26 decision.

With a record-shattering 25 named tropical systems in the Atlantic basin this year coupled with the gridiron success of Northampton-West, 2005 appears to be the Year of the Hurricanes in more ways than one.

We salute the efforts of the 2005 Northampton County High School-West varsity football team, their coaches and loyal fans.

Good luck on Friday at Southside. Win or lose, you have well represented the Roanoke-Chowan area and its long legacy of football tradition.