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Barons have a lot to play for

GATESVILLE – They still have a lot to play for.

Gates County High School’s varsity football team enters Friday night’s Homecoming game with one win for the season. That win came last week against Tar-Roanoke Conference rival Northampton County High School n West.

The win snapped a 15-game losing streak for GCHS, gave first-year Head Coach Matt Biggy his first varsity win and also gave the Red Barons hope for a playoff berth.

“We’re going to try to make a push these last three games,” Biggy said. “I feel like if we get some of them we might have a chance for the playoffs.”

Last week was Gates County’s bye week and the coach and his team put the seven days to good use.

“Last week we lightened things up a little bit and took care of some injuries,” Biggy said. “We had a red-white scrimmage. We did some things that were functional, but we tried to have more fun doing it.”

The coach said he was able to see Southeast Halifax, their Friday opponent, play this past week against the same Northampton-West team the Red Barons beat.

“They’re the standard Southeast Halifax team,” he said. “They’re big and they’re fast. They are always going to have a lot of speed.”

While last week was more relaxed, Biggy said his team will be picking up the pace for their Homecoming week contest.

“My feeling has always been that you play like you practice,” he said. “We try to have pretty physical practices.

“For instance, on the offensive line, we do a lot of body-on-body drills,” he continued. “Hitting a dummy is one thing, but I have never seen anyone hold a dummy during a game.”

The coach said his team would have to put together a full four quarters if they wanted to compete against the visiting Trojans.

“We have to come out and play a full game,” he said. “So far this season, we’ve been a team of halves. Sometimes we’ve played well in the first half and not the second. Other times we’ve played just good enough not to get blown out in the first half and better in the second.

“If we put together a full game, we can play with Southeast,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

One key to putting it together will be getting on the board first, according to the coach.

“If we can get on the scoreboard first, it would give us a little bit of confidence,” Biggy said. “We haven’t played with a lead much this year.”

Another key will be the play of the offensive line, according to the coach.

“Our offensive line has to play well,” he said. “They have a defense that jumps around a lot.”

Biggy said the Trojans would line up in a 5-3, a 6-2 and a 4-4. He indicated Southeast would blitz a lot out of the 4-4.

“If we don’t do a good job of picking up blitzes, it could be a long night,” he said. “If we don’t pick up everyone, you can have a linebacker standing in the backfield.”

As for the festivities of Homecoming week, Biggy said he knew his players were enjoying it and he didn’t want to keep them from it.

“You’re always going to have distractions,” he said. “It’s Spirit Week, so the kids are all excited about that. Sure, it’s a challenge to keep them focused, but come Friday at 3 p.m., it will be time to get down to business.

“We’ll get it together then and go out and try to play a full game of football,” he said.

The Red Barons will look to put together a win streak this Friday when they welcome the Trojans at 7:30 p.m.