Keys to victory: BHS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The rivalry has a flare all its own.

Few in the state of North Carolina know the intensity that exists between fans who work together, shop together, eat together and sometimes even live together, but who graduated from schools 19 miles and a county border apart.

That means the burden is on the two coaches to devise a game-winning plan. Gattis Hodges, the Voice of the “Bears,”

gave HCHS coach Diego Hasty help with his gameplan, so it’s up to me to do the same for Bertie’s Tony Hoggard.

Here are my keys to a Bertie victory:

* Bertie must remember what got them to 5-0 in the conference: keeping their focus on one game at a time. They cannot get caught up in winning a conference championship, but must stay focused on the task at hand.

* The Falcons offensive line must be dominant. Bertie has a big, strong and senior-laden line and they must impose their will on the HCHS defense. If they don’t control the line of scrimmage, Bertie’s chance of winning diminish significantly.

* On the opposite end of Hodges’ game keys, Bertie must look for a big game from senior quarterback Desmond Williams. The Falcons started him as a freshman for this, his senior season. If he plays freely and relaxed, he can be as dominant in this game as quarterback Danny Dembry was for the Bears a year ago.

* Like Gattis, I also believe the team that best controls their emotion has the best chance of winning. That should be the team with a senior-heavy roster aka Bertie. Last season the emotion got the best of the Falcons…and then, so did the Bears.

* Bertie Offensive Coordinator Calvin Moore must stay within his game plan. He’s had two weeks to draw up what he thinks will work against the Bears and he must trust his instincts and stay with it, even if it means a slow start.

* The Falcons defense absolutely must attack. They have been better this year, but still don’t hit like the BHS teams of yesteryear. Friday night, they better. If they don’t get after the Bears’ running backs and quarterback, the HCHS offense will exploit their weakness: tackling.

* Two-point conversions will be very important for the Falcons. Bertie won’t kick extra points and the Bears will. That means getting in the endzone may be as important on the second try (the conversion) as it is on the first one. If the Falcons don’t score on the conversions, it could come back to haunt them in the contest.

What happens Friday night will be determined not by my game plan, but by the execution on the field. The team that forgets about the pageantry and the outside influences and executes on the field will win.

It’s a great atmosphere and anyone who doesn’t have a game of their own should make sure they’re on hand. There’s only one game like it.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Thadd White is the Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached by emailing