The big game unfolds on Friday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

WINDSOR – Officials in two counties are urging caution and respect for others.

Friday night, Bertie High School will host Hertford County High School in a football game to determine the winner of the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

Bertie enters the contest 8-2 overall and 5-0 in the league while HCHS is 9-1 and 5-0 in conference.

Law enforcement and school officials are hoping the night ends with a good football game and people in both counties enjoying an evening of prep athletics and they are encouraging good behavior as part of the fun.

“Of course, because of all they hype, security has been stepped up,” Bertie High School Principal Ricky Eley said.

Eley said those in attendance would be electronically searched at the gate and, as a further precaution, fans would be asked to leave as soon as the matchup is over.

While the game is going on, Eley is encouraging people to find a seat if possible and said all of the “dark areas” around the field would be kept clear.

“We want people to come out, have a good time and enjoy themselves,” he said. “We don’t want drama. All of the animosity fostered in the past, leave that at home.

“Come out and enjoy yourself and enjoy the game,” he added.

Eley also said there would be no dances or activities scheduled after the game.

Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins said his department would provide extra security, but hoped people would make the event enjoyable.

“We encourage everyone to come out and participate,” he said. “We just want you to remember why you’re there n to watch a sporting event and have a good time.

“We’ll have plenty of law enforcement officers there to make sure those who want to do that are able to,” he added.

Both Windsor Police Chief Rodney Hoggard and Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said they wanted people to enjoy parties or celebrations after the game, but said they should do so inside the parameters of the law.

“Everyone on the Windsor Police Department will be on duty Friday night,” Hoggard said. “We want people to have a good time whoever wins the football game.

“What we want is for people to enjoy the football game and celebrate responsibly,” he added. “Most people will do that, but we will be prepared for those who may not.”

As fans of the Bears return to Ahoskie after the contest, Fitzhugh wants them to be safe.

“We want people to have a good time,” he said. “We just want them to be safe. Respect each city and enjoy the celebration.

“What we don’t want is for the celebration to be problematic,” he added. “We want people to celebrate wherever they go, but without incident.”

The chief indicated Ahoskie too would have increased patrols on Friday evening.