• 50°

Roy could back it up

It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.

Roy Bond could definitely back it up.

The sport of prep football in the state of North Carolina lost a great man this past weekend with the passing of retired Bertie High School football coach Roy Bond. All I can guess is that heaven must have needed a championship caliber resident.

In my years of covering sports for this newspaper….the time before I got old and ugly and they made me the Editor…I’ve had the privilege to work with some great coaches and witness some awesome young talent in all athletic venues. Roy Bond was among the best…that of a coach and a man.

Back in the day, it was my job to preview each of the Friday night football games involving our local teams. I could always count on Roy giving me basically the same preview info each week.

“We’re not worried about them (the opponent); we’re worried about us,” the coach would always say.

In other words, he did his utmost best to make sure Bertie was prepared to play. Come Friday night, the Falcons were prepared. They won some; they lost some…but one could rest assured that either way the scoreboard read at the end of the game, Bertie was prepared to play.

Prior to the 1995 season, the media covering what was then the Big 8 Conference gathered in Wilson for a football preview. Coach Bond stood at the podium that day and boldly predicted his Falcons would not only win the league title, but the state championship as well.

Some in the media viewed that statement as braggart and cocky, but they didn’t know Roy Bond. He was a man of his word.

The Falcons actually tied for the conference crown that year with Wilson Beddingfield and Wilson Hunt. In a drawing to determine the conference’s top seed, Roy said he would pick from the hat the slip of paper inscribed with “#1.” He did just that.

Five games later on the turf at Kenan Stadium at UNC-Chapel Hill, Bond completed his pre-season promise as the Falcons edged High Point Central, 38-34, in what had to be one of the best high school football games I’ve ever witnessed.

Five years later, Bond did it again as his Falcons spanked Jamestown Ragsdale 32-15 in the Class 3-A title game at Kenan Stadium.

In all my years of covering high school football, those were my first and second opportunities to write a state championship story. As a sports writer, there’s no better feeling than to see your byline on such an article.

Neither of those opportunities would have presented themselves without Roy Bond. He allowed me full access to himself (even fielding my phone calls on nights and weekends at his home), his assistant coaches and his team.

We lost a gentle giant this past weekend, but those that knew him, worked with him or just shared a story or laugh with him, we’re all better off for our brief brush in life with Roy Bond.