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Barons welcome rival

GATESVILLE – Prep football opens in Gates County Friday night.

The Red Barons will make their 2008 debut while hosting rival John A. Holmes High School from Edenton.

Second-year coach Matt Biggy said he was excited about the start of the upcoming season.

“I feel better than I did last year,” Biggy said. “I feel like we’ve improved as a team and that’s our goal every year. I feel like we’ve done that so far, but we still have a long way to go.”

The coach said while he was excited about Friday, he was keeping a close eye on the weather as a tropical storm makes its way north.

He said he is also concerned about not having the chance to see Edenton.

“We haven’t had an opportunity to see Edenton at all,” Biggy said. “They were supposed to scrimmage Friday, but unfortunately had an assistant coach pass away. That’s a hard thing for them, I’m sure.”

The coach said he knew the Edenton-Gates County game was a rivalry, but was trying to keep it in perspective.

“It’s really important; it’s a big game,” he said. “I know we’re going to draw a big crowd, but Gates County has only won this game once in the past 20 or 25 years, so we still have a lot of work to do.”

The coach said he was proud of the way his team was continuing to work and prepare for the game without distraction.

Biggy had his first opportunity to see his team against someone else Wednesday night at the W.H. Basnight Pigskin Preview which was held at Hertford County High School.

“We had a lot of positives. We moved the ball at times. The defense played well at times,” he said. “There are some small things we needed to clean up, but we’ve been working on those. We’re trying to get everything in line before Friday night.”

Biggy said he wasn’t changing what his team was doing, but trying to simply get better.

“We have to do what we do on offense,” Biggy said. “We have to stick to our game plan and execute. We’re going to try to be physical. That’s what we do and what we are.”

Defensively, the game plan is the same.

“We’re going to try to be physical, try to be tough,” he said. “We want to play fundamentally sound football. At times, we did that last year and at times we didn’t.”

Biggy said Friday night would be a good opportunity for fans to come out and see a different look for Gates County High School football.

“We’re coming out in all red n helmets, jersey and pants n to give ourselves a different look,” the coach said. “I hope everyone will come out and support us and see the new-look Red Barons.”

Edenton will come to town for a 7:30 p.m. kick off.