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HCHS starts Friday

AHOSKIE – It’s year three of the homecoming.

Greg Watford, the Ahoskie High School graduate who took the reins of the Hertford County High School football squad in 2004, will begin his third season for the Bears Friday night when they host Kinston.

Asked about the difference in year one and year three, Watford said they were two-fold.

&uot;Obviously I’m more comfortable with the kids and they are more comfortable with me,&uot; he said. &uot;Some of these guys started for me as sophomores and now they’re back starting as seniors.&uot;

Watford also said opening night from three years ago would be different.

&uot;We came into that night apprehensive and not knowing what to expect,&uot; he said. &uot;Now we know what to expect. We expect to win.&uot;

The Bears are fresh off a 6-6 season and are one of the early favorites in the Northeastern Coastal 2-A/3-A.

Kinston, who pays their first visit on the Bears, is projected near the bottom of their league.

Still, Watford is not taking Kinston lightly and is already worried about an injury to starting center David Bracket.

&uot;If he’s healthy, I feel pretty good,&uot; Watford said. &uot;If he’s not, we’re looking at starting a newcomer at center in our first game.&uot;

The coach said if Bracket’s sprained ankle kept him off the field, he would be looking to fellow sophomore D.J. Jenkins to start at center. Jenkins is already the Bears’ starting nose guard, but would have to pull double-duty if Bracket can’t go.

The coach is also concerned about the progress of the secondary and offensive line, both of which will have younger players starting.

&uot;We have a lot of inexperience in both places,&uot; Watford said. &uot;If they are solid, I like our chances, but they’ll need to be ready to play.&uot;

One area the coach feels particularly good about is the offensive backfield where third-year starter Danny Dembry will return at quarterback. He is the obvious leader of a unit that will also feature Travis Greene, Rayshaun Mercer and Laquan Tann.

&uot;They are special,&uot; he said. &uot;All four of them can go the distance from anywhere on the field and in all of my experience coaching, I’ve never had that.&uot;

The Bears will find out how good their offensive backfield is and how much progress has been made when they host Kinston at 7:30 p.m. at Bears’ Stadium.

The game will be broadcast live by WDLZ-FM 98.3 in Murfreesboro with Gattis Hodges and Trent McGee having the call starting at 7:15 p.m.. Next day results will be in Saturday’s edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.