East receive number five

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 5, 2007

CREEKSVILLE – Northampton-East is at home.

That is both literal and figurative for the Rams as they prepare for Friday’s opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs.

First of all, East will be playing here Friday when they host Mattamuskeet High School in the first round of the 1-A playoffs. The Rams are the number five seed with their 7-3 playoff record while Mattamuskeet comes in at 4-6.

Secondly, Northampton will be playing in the 1-A playoffs this season rather than the 1-AA playoffs where they have participated in recent years.

“We’ve been a bubble team in the past,” Rams’ Head Football Coach Greg Watford said. “We played 1-AA last year because we got bumped up.

“This year, our numbers put us right in the middle of the 1-A pack which is where I think we should be,” he said.

Northampton-East having a home football game to open the playoffs is a positive, Watford said, but also cautioned there was a long road ahead.

“We start with Mattamuskeet and then, if we’re lucky enough to advance, we are likely to see Jones Senior in the second round,” Watford said. “They’re one of the better teams in the east.

“If we are fortunate enough to get by Jones, then we have to go to Plymouth,” he continued. “We have a five seed, but it doesn’t mean much when you’re playing teams like that.”

Still, the Rams are happy to be playing at home Friday, especially after how they were projected to finish in the Tar-Roanoke Conference.

“We’re pleased to be here,” Watford stressed. “We were picked next to last in the conference and finished second. It’s a pretty big deal for us and I’m excited about it.”

Watford also said it was good for the program because Friday night, in a victory over Southeast Halifax, he started 10 players on offense that will be back next year.

Still, the first order of business for the Rams is establishing some playoff history.

“We have not had a lot of success in the playoffs, so we have to get a run going,” Watford said.

The rest of the 1-A East bracket includes:

* No. 10 Northside at No. 7 Roanoke;

* No. 15 Weldon at No. 2 Williamston;

* No. 11 Perquimans at No. 6 Creswell;

* No. 14 Northampton-West at No. 3 Jamesville;

* No. 9 North Edgecombe at No. 8 Manteo;

* No. 16 Cape Hatteras at No. 1 Plymouth;

* No. 13 Southeast Halifax at No. 4 Jones Senior.

The 1-A West bracket is as follows:

* No. 10 South Stanly at No. 7 Elkin;

* No. 15 Andrews at No. 2 Cherokee;

* No. 11 Alleghany at No. 6 Robbinsville;

* No. 14 South Robeson at No. 3 Lakewood;

* No. 9 Hobbton at No. 8 Union;

* No. 16 Princeton at No. 1 North Duplin;

* No. 12 Bishop McGuinness at No. 5 North Stokes;

* No. 13 East Wilkes at No. 4 Hayesville.