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Eagles hope third time is charm

LASKER – They say the third time’s the charm.

Northeast Academy hopes the saying holds true as they make their third straight appearance in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association football state semi-finals.

Friday night’s game in Lasker will pit the second seeded Eagles (10-1 overall) against sixth seed Word of God. Two years ago in their first semi-final appearance under Head Coach Collin Sneed Northeast fell to the Holy Rams on a last second play.

Since that loss the team has worn shirts with the phrase “Unfinished Business”.

The Eagles earned this rematch by holding off Cary Christian Academy 42-40 in last week’s opening round. Word of God advanced after handing Halifax Academy a 76-40 loss.

“We’ve got to put that game out of our minds and play hard-nosed football,” said Sneed. “Every team has a bad game and that (Cary Christian) was ours. It’s a good thing we got it over with.”

This will be the first meeting of these two teams this season, but Sneed saw the Holy Rams’ win last weekend and has a game plan in place.

“Our plan is to control the ball with our offense and not let their offense on the field,” Sneed explained. “When they do get the ball our plan is to go after it every time. That means fumbles, interceptions and hitting hard.”

Word of God turned several Halifax turnovers into touchdowns but Sneed doesn’t see that happening against his team.

“We haven’t put the ball on the ground in the last two games and we don’t plan on putting it on the ground Friday night,” he declared.

Defensive coordinator Jermaine Vaughan spent time during Tuesday’s practice working with the defensive line on recovering fumbles.

“They’re going to rise to the occasion,” Vaughan said. “The defense does what is asked of them. We realize this is a big game. We always come prepared to play our best football in the big games.”

Northeast is looking to take care of business Friday night and advance to their first state championship. The Eagles kick off at 7:30 p.m.