Bears want focus

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AHOSKIE – It’s another game.

Hertford County High School Head Football Coach Diego Hasty is preparing his team for Friday with that mantra.

The Bears and their first-year coach will be making a trip to Northampton County High School n East Friday evening and the early-season road game has several interesting facets.

The Bears’ coach will be playing against the school he coached for more than 20 years. He also graduated from Northampton County High School, which is the forerunner of East.

Hertford County’s football team will also be meeting their former skipper as they travel to face Greg Watford’s Rams.

While admitting both can be emotional, Hasty said his focus was on keeping the Bears thoughts trained on one game at a time.

“I know they are going to be emotional,” Hasty said. “The game will probably be very physical. We have to keep our heads in the game and concentrate on what we do.”

As he prepares HCHS, Hasty knows they have to work on the fundamentals of the game.

“We’re still going back and working on basic stuff,” the coach said. “The defense is getting better, but the offense has been shooting itself in the foot. We’re still trying to get better.”

Hasty said his team’s biggest advantage was coming off two tough games to open the season and that should help the Bears.

Still, he cautioned there is much to do before Hertford County reaches the level they should strive to.

“We’re not a very good team at the moment, but we’re getting better,” he said. “Neither team has a lot of experience.”

The biggest disadvantage facing the Bears could be their injury situation with senior corner Jamal Jones out with a broken wrist and leading rusher Ron Gatling questionable with an ankle injury.

“We’ve got a few people banged up that we certainly would like to have,” Hasty said. “We also have a tough assignment going to their place.”

Hasty said he knew that stopping Watford’s favored triple-option attack would be something the Bears would have to work on in practice this week.

“Coach Watford’s offense is tough to stop,” Hasty said. “When you’re playing against an option, you have to play assignment football. That’s certainly an advantage for them.”

While the Bears will be working on the offense of the Rams, the main focus will be on getting HCHS better themselves.

“We’re mostly working on fundamentals,” the coach said. “We’re trying to make sure of our blocking assignments, reading keys on defense and just plain getting to the football.”

As for heading back to Creeksville, Hasty said he had been there several times as the Head Football Coach at Northampton-West.

“I’ve been having to go over there on the opposite side of the field the last couple of years,” he said. “What I feel like we have to do is treat it like another game.”

He said most of the staff at East is the different than when he was at the school, but said there would be a lot of community members there who knew him.

“There are a lot of people from the community who will be there,” he laughed. “I’m sure they all want to beat me.”

Hasty will lead the Bears to Northampton County on Friday at 7:30 p.m.