Pigskin Prognosticators return

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 13, 2007

AHOSKIE n Once again 16 people will return to give their opinions on the outcome of local, state and national football contests.

The Pigskin Prognosticators enter another season in the pages of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald with 12 of the 16 panelists returning and four brand new faces joining the group.

Leading the returning members are two of the three people who tied for the win last season.

News-Herald Sports Editor Thadd White and News-Herald Sports Analyst Mike Williams, who is also co-editor of ncisaa.com, will both be back to defend their portion of the poll title. Mike Dail, who was the third member tied for the top spot, left the poll after returning to Lawrence Academy as Head Football Coach.

Also back on the poll this season will be fourth-place finisher Patrick Bryant, a graphic designer for the News-Herald who played his prep football at Northeast Academy.

News-Herald Senior Sports Writer Billy Harrell was next in line, finishing last season with a 122-47 mark. Northeast Academy basketball coach John Brown finished tied with Harrell, but chose not to return for another season.

Next in line is “Talkin’ Sports” host Gattis Hodges, a Northampton County High School graduate, who also serves as an analyst in the News-Herald Sports Department. His full-time job is with Georgia Pacific Resins in Conway.

Also back will be the next finishers, Marshall Cherry and Cal Bryant. Cherry is a Vice President with Roanoke Electric Cooperative and still holds receiving records from his playing days at Bertie High School.

Bryant is another Northampton County High School graduate who is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He served as Sports Editor of the publication for a dozen years before his promotion.

Retired Bertie High School Football Coach and Athletic Director Ron Cooke will also return to the panel this year. He is a past Pigskin Prognosticators champion.

Howard J. Hunter III will continue his role on the panel. A graduate of Hertford County High School, Hunter is entering his third season on the poll.

Heather Odom, a veteran Sports Writer for the News-Herald, will also be back after finishing last year with a 110-59 mark.

Also back will be Chowan University Senior Woman Administrator Meredith Long. She has been a regular on the panel for three seasons.

News-Herald Publisher Jeff Findley, who finished next among last year’s panelists, will be back for his third season on the poll.

The four additions to this year’s poll include two with Hertford County ties, a veteran sportscaster and a retired football coach.

News-Herald Sports Writer Gene Motley, who served as a sportscaster for 30 years, will be joining the panel of prep football experts. Motley will be in his first season of covering high school football for the News-Herald.

Also joining the panel will be Hodges’ broadcast partner, Trent McGee, who is the color analyst for the Hertford County High School football team.

Elton Winslow, who currently serves as Headmaster of Ridgecroft School, will also be new to the panel. Winslow retired after spending many years as a football coach at Gates County High School.

Finally, Hertford County High School Baseball Coach Chris Towell will be new to the panel this season. Towell is a graduate of Chowan College and has spent the last three seasons at HCHS.

Each week this season, the panel will venture their guesses concerning local high school and college football games as well as other games of interest in the state and nation.