Three prepare for conference openers

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2010

League play opens tomorrow night (Friday) for many of the local gridiron teams.

Hertford County High School will welcome Northeastern in the opening game of Northeastern Coastal Conference play while Gates County High School will host Tar-Roanoke-Conference foe Weldon.

The Falcons of Bertie High School will make the short trip to Edenton Friday night when they open league play against the Aces.

HCHS vs. Northeastern

Head Coach Scott Privott’s team has lost the last two outings, the first two such losses during his regular-season career, but says his team is practicing well in anticipation of Friday.

“Even though we’ve lost two in a row, we’re still up and we’re practicing hard,” he said. “I think they’ve put those two losses behind them and are focusing on conference play.”

As the Bears get ready for Northeastern’s visit, Privott said he is pleased there are no significant injuries facing HCHS.

“The first thing I’m excited about is that we’re healthy,” he said. “We have no significant injuries just some nicks and bruises. That’s important when you’re starting league play.”

One advantage for the Bears as they host the Eagles (3-2), is that they will be playing in the friendly confines of Bear Stadium.

“I think being at home is very important,” the coach said. “We think it’s a good thing. We have a favorable conference schedule since we only have to play two away games. If we get started well Friday, that will help us momentum wise.”

Privott said the Bears needed to get off to a good start offensively on Friday and that he hoped the defense would play a part of that.

“We need to get going early and get the momentum in our favor,” he said. “They’re a physical team who is going to run the ball a lot. We need to stop them early and then score some points quickly.”

As for getting started in league play, Privott admitted a 1-0 start would be beneficial.

“In our conference, I think it’s important,” he said. “We’re playing every game as if it were a conference championship. If we lose the first game, we need help the rest of the way. If we win, we control our own destiny.”

Gates County vs. Weldon

There may be no hotter team in the local area than Gates County.

The Red Barons are off to a 4-1 start and are currently riding a four-game win streak after dropping a 21-20 decision at Hertford County in the season opener.

Last week, the Red Baron defeated arch rival Edenton 23-15, just their second victory over the Aces in the past two decades.

Weldon, on the other hand, enters Friday’s game 1-3 and having only scored 22 points the entire season, 16 of which came last week against Harrells Christian Academy.

The Chargers are off to their worst start (1-3) since the 2004 campaign.

Gates County skipper Matt Biggy, in his fourth season with the Red Barons, will be looking for his first win over Weldon.

Bertie vs. Edenton

The Falcons and Aces have won only three contests between them in the opening five weeks of the prep football season.

That won’t matter after Friday, however, as one of the schools will open Northeastern Coastal Conference play 1-0 and tied atop the league standings.

First-year Bertie High School mentor Greg Watford said that’s exactly what his team has been preparing for.

“We feel really good because we play a tough non-conference schedule,” he said. “We feel like we prepared for the league by having that type of schedule. We have a very good conference, but we don’t have any New Bern’s in our league.”

The Falcons are 1-4 after the opening five weeks, having beaten Northampton County High School – East, but dropped four contests including one to 4-A New Bern and three others to 3-A schools.

“Our primary goal is to win the conference,” Watford said. “We started that by playing a tough non-conference schedule against larger schools. We also used that time to add pieces to our offensive and defensive playbooks.

“Now, we have our entire package in and we’ll see what we can do with it,” he added.

The new coach said he thought the contest with Edenton was a good way to start the league schedule.

“What better way to get started than to travel across the Chowan River Bridge and met a big rival and a good opponent in Edenton.”

All three contests will kick off at 7:30 p.m.