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Hasty, ‘Canes overcome odds

CHOCOWINITY – &uot;If we make it to Winston-Salem, we deserve to be there.&uot;

Those were the sentiments of Northampton County High School – West skipper Diego Hasty once the seedings for the for the state football playoffs were announced four weeks ago.

Well, here we go.

In the first round, the Hurricanes rolled to a 56-0 win over North Edgecombe, but then things got interesting.

West rallied from a big first-half deficit to knock off Roanoke in round two, did the same against Manteo and week later and headed into Friday facing the top seed in the 1-A bracket – Southside High School.

With a late-game drive, the Hurricanes did exactly what Hasty said they must – they earned their way to Winston-Salem on Saturday where they’ll meet Elkin in the state championship contest.

&uot;Except marrying my wife and having children, this is the greatest moment of my life,&uot; Hasty said in the waning moments of the contest.

The coach has spent 29 years training young men, teaching them about football and life and has had many winning seasons, but never a trip to the title game.

&uot;Winning the regional championship means a lot to me,&uot; Hasty said. &uot;There has been a lot of hard work, a lot of years – both difficult and good years.

&uot;There have been people who said it couldn’t happen, but here we are,&uot; he added. &uot;It goes to show you have to keep believing in yourself.&uot;

The coach said it was confidence that had helped Northampton-West get to the title game.

&uot;These kids believe in themselves and they believe in the coaching staff,&uot; he said. &uot;I can’t ask more of them than that.&uot;

The Hurricanes entered the season s the favorite to win the Tar-Roanoke Conference, but few had them pegged for a state title appearance.

Last week only seven of the 13 members of the Pigskin Prognosticators selected West to advance past Southside. The week before it was nine who chose them to advance over Manteo.

Those two were down from the unanimous pick of the Hurricanes over Roanoke and North Edgecombe.

The Hurricanes will be heading to a big-time matchup against Elkin, a team that has previously been to the state title game.