Falcons ready for Homecoming

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WINDSOR – Homecoming is a time for celebration and pageantry.

While alumni of Bertie High School will flock to Windsor to enjoy the sights and sounds associated with the annual event, one group of alumni won’t be interested in the plethora of events.

That group of coaches, headed by 1985 BHS graduate Tony Hoggard, will be more interested in winning a high school football game.

“I’m just going to take the kids back to what it is we want to accomplish,” Hoggard said. “We want to win the conference and to do that we have to take each game one at a time. This week, that means Currituck.”

Hoggard said the Falcons’ matchup with the 6-1 Knights is an even more important contest for reasons that have nothing to do with the Homecoming celebration.

“We want to win, first of all because it’s a conference game, but also because to ensure a playoff bid, we must beat Currituck,” he said.

The Knights and Falcons are two of only three 3-A teams in the Northeastern Coastal Conference. Two of those 3-A members are ensured a playoff berth. With Hertford County already beating Currituck (49-20 last week) the Bears are likely in the playoffs. Bertie needs to win Friday or they will go into a must-win situation against the Bears on November 2.

Despite Currituck’s record being better than that of the Falcons, who are 5-4, the teams are coming in off completely different contests.

The Knights suffered their first loss Friday when Hertford County blew open a two-point lead in the third quarter and rolled to a 49-20 thumping of Currituck.

Bertie, meanwhile, decimated Northeastern 53-7 in what Hoggard called the first complete game his team had played all season.

“I feel like we finally put together a total game,” he said. “We had very few penalties and played well on both sides of the ball. I need that kind of output every week.”

While one might think Bertie is confident of a win, Hoggard cautioned the Knights were a formidable foe.

“They’re physical and they’re tough,” he said. “They have a never-quit attitude and they’re relentless. This is probably the best team I’ve ever seen Currituck have.”

He said for Bertie to be successful, he felt the offense would need to do two things.

“Definitely, we’ll need to execute and score on offense,” Hoggard said. “We need to be very physical defensively and say a whole lot of prayers.”

The Falcons are on a similar path to last year’s team where they stumbled through the early part of their schedule to later roll off seven consecutive wins.

This year BHS has already put together five consecutive wins as they head into Friday’s contest. While Hoggard admitted he was aware of the similarities in the last two years, he was also quick to point out he hoped there were differences.

“Right now, we’re pretty much focusing on one game at a time,” he said. “I know it resembles last year’s season, but we want to be better than last year.

“We have the talent to be better, but we have to get that talent to come together and work on the same page,” he continued.

The coach said he felt his team had improved and was quick to point out it had been a team effort. He also said it will take the entire group to continue.

“I need the whole team to step up,” he said. “We’ve been playing as a unit. We must continue with that attitude. It can’t be one person, it has to be a team effort.”

The Falcons will look to continue that team effort Friday when they host Currituck at 7:30 p.m.