WINDSOR – Tony Hoggard’s lot is similar to many coaches who had 10-win seasons last year.
The Bertie High School third-year coach is trying to teach the game to a whole set of new Falcons who are struggling to learn football at the high school level.
“I’m not feeling so well after the scrimmages,” Hoggard said. “We lack some competitive juices. I didn’t think we really competed; I thought we went through the motions.
“We’re dealing with a young crowd and we’re still trying to find ourselves,” he added.
The Falcons don’t have much time to grow up as they welcome 3-A power James B. Hunt High School on Friday. The long-time rivalry between the Falcons and the Warriors, which began back in the old Big Eight Conference, could be coming to an end.
“We don’t have a contact with them for next season, so this could be the end,” Hoggard said. “With gas prices and other problems, lots of schools are looking at playing games closer to home. We’re not sure, but this could be the end for a while.”
As he prepares for what could be a historic ending, Hoggard said he can only rely on his knowledge of Hunt coach Randy Raper.
“I know absolutely nothing about them,” he said. “They didn’t get a chance to scrimmage. All I know is Coach Raper doesn’t change much. I’m looking for the same Randy Raper who we always see.”
The Falcon defense, which has been slightly ahead of the offense, will be called on to keep Bertie in the contest.
“Defensively, we’ve shown a lot of resilience when facing adversity,” Hoggard said. “We still have a lot to learn. The kids are not good students of the game, so we have to teach them.
“Right now I would say none of our units are at what I would call ‘game level’,” Hoggard said. “Our special teams have not been contested because we have not gone against anyone. We’ve had inconsistence on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense. The defense is going to have to come through for us to stay in the ball game.”
Keon Moore, a converted tight end, will likely get the start at quarterback for the Falcons in the post-Desmond Williams era for the Falcons. He will be one of a host of new starters.
Hoggard said the first game was important for Bertie.
“It’s critical,” he said. “It is our home opener and we have a new team. This is probably the last time we’ll play Hunt in the regular season. It could be pivotal.”
The coach said it is important for him that his team really compete Friday.
“We need to play well,” Hoggard said. “I’m coaching to win, but if not, we need to compete. Hunt is a little more experienced than we are as far as personnel, but we can compete if we apply ourselves.”
Kickoff for the season opener will be 7:30 p.m.
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