Bertie, HCHS head to 2-A?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Warning: Bertie and Hertford County fans proceed with caution.

Some of you are not going to like what follows in this column.

Our columns are our opinions, but the opinions that follow have basis in fact.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me break the bad news to some of you: Bertie and HCHS will be 2-A schools when the North Carolina High School Athletic Association realigns in just over two years.

There, someone has said it in print for everyone to see.

Bertie is a given. The Falcons are currently the third-smallest 3-A school in the state of North Carolina with a current-year Average Daily Membership (ADM) of 974 students. That’s a full 78 students lower than the largest 2-A school which is Orange High School.

In fact, there are 30 2-A schools right now that are larger than Bertie High School. In truth, if the Falcons petitioned to be moved to the 2-A ranks right now, it is something the North Carolina High School Athletic Association would have to consider.

This news may be new to some Falcon fans, but it isn’t news to Bertie High School. Current Athletic Director Marvin Rankins and I have been discussing this distinct possibility since the last realignment four years ago.

During our conversations, Rankins is honest about what lies ahead for the Falcons. He has said on numerous occasions it would take something unforeseen for the Falcons to be anything but 2-A when realignment comes around again.

Hertford County’s situation is a little less clear cut.

HCHS is currently at 1,092 students. That would put them smaller than eight of the current 2-A schools.

In and of itself, that would not drop the Bears to the 2-A level because there are 10, 3-A schools which are also smaller than HCHS.

Current 2-A member South Brunswick (1,090) and North Buncombe (1,075) are the two closest schools to HCHS in the ADM released for football this season.

Inexplicably, three 3-A schools n Phillip Berry Academy, Panther Creek High and Holly Springs High n also have lower ADMs than HCHS.

The realistic view is that Hertford County’s student population next year will be a big factor in where the Bears land two years from now when realignment and conference come together.

Many at HCHS would prefer to stay a 3-A school and the sentiment is understandable. The question is at what cost?

The Bears would likely not be left in their current conference because only two 3-A schools would be there n HCHS and Currituck. While it is at least possible the two teams could be stuck in the same league, the split would become even worse for the Bears and would definitely have negative impact on their post-season plans.

Meanwhile, Bertie would simply become a 2-A member of the Northeastern Coastal Conference along with current league members First Flight, Pasquotank, Edenton and Northeastern.

SouthWest Edgecombe at 1,003 is also likely heading back to the 2-A ranks, but wouldn’t seem to be a fit for the current league. Beddingfield and Kinston are also in good position to be 2-A schools at the next realignment.

Gates County High School is larger than some of the 2-A schools in North Carolina, but likely will not be large enough to be moved up. There are currently 15 schools in the 2-A ranks which are larger than the Red Barons.

Northampton-East is even further away from the cutoff as they have 587 compared to the 679 at GCHS.

The bottom line is both Hertford County and Bertie would be better served to become 2-A schools and compete in the Northeastern Coastal Conference, which would then become a true 2-A league.

If you’re going to compete with 2-A schools all year, it is better that you should be able to play them in the post-season too, especially if you’re actually a 2-A size school.

I’m sure some will vehemently disagree, but trust me, the state championships don’t have asterisk beside them if you win them at the 2-A level instead of 3-A.

Bertie dropped from 4-A to 3-A and it has been beneficial. I believe the person sitting at my desk in 10 years will say the same about the drop from 3-A to 2-A.

The Bears also could be better off to make the move.

Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks?

You can reach me at or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.