Eagles battle Eagles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

LASKER – One thing is for certain – the Eagles will be victorious Friday night in the opening round of the NCISAA playoffs.

The only question is which Eagles team will advance to the semi-finals, fourth ranked Northeast Academy or number five seed Rocky Mount Academy?

The winner will move on in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association championships to face either top seed Trinity or Cary Christian in the second round.

Northeast makes its second straight appearance in the postseason, falling to Word of God in the final seconds of the semifinals last year.

Every game of the 2007 campaign has stared with the team running through a banner bearing the words &uot;Unfinished business,&uot; a testament to their goal of winning a state championship.

The first meeting of these teams this season was an offensive shootout with Northeast winning 68-48.

Running backs Brodie Harrell, Brandon Futrell, Arch Harrell and Hunter Deloatch rushed for over 100 yards each in the victory.

According to Northeast Head Football Coach Collin Sneed, the keys to winning are to &uot;play hard nosed football, run hard and make tackles.

&uot;We need to keep possession of the ball and make the plays we have to make,&uot; continued Sneed.

Rocky Mount has a strong offensive line that typically runs the ball but can pass, and that passing game could present a challenge for Northeast.

&uot;Passing has been giving us trouble all year,&uot; Sneed said.

&uot;If we can get pressure on the quarterback we can solve that.”

Sneed will be looking to junior defensive guard Wesley Bryant to plug the middle.

&uot;He’s the run-stopper,&uot; Sneed insisted.

Deloatch will be the key in covering the pass.

B. Harrell is questionable for Friday night’s game after sitting out last week’s victory over Lawrence.

&uot;We’re going to need him to win this game,&uot; said Sneed.

Rocky Mount played without four of its defensive starters in the regular season loss.

Assuming they will be in uniform Friday night, Sneed doesn’t think it will change the outcome.

&uot;I think it will make a difference, but not enough for them to win.

We have the same goal we’ve had since last year, to win every quarter.&uot;

Sneed will be looking to his eight seniors – Jay Baker, Jimmy Baker, John Michael Timberlake, Chris Futrell, Josh Jenkins, John Pope, Jay Duncan and B. Harrell – to lead Northeast as they take care of unfinished business en route to the state championship.