The Real Deal

Published 9:06 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

After a whirlwind – no pun intended – first three games of the season complete with hurricane delays and other postponements, the start of conference play highlights Week-Four on the high school football schedule.


Edenton at Bertie

The Falcons enter 3A-2A Northeastern Coastal Conference play with a home date against the area’s most surprising team.

The Aces under second-year coach Wes Mattera are 3-0 and coming off a rout of Perquimans last Friday night, 58-24.

But whatever the boys across the Sound have done to surprise, Bertie’s eyebrow-raising isn’t far behind.  At 2-1-1 the Falcons are unbeaten at home thru their first four games since the man their stadium is named for – Roy Bond, Jr. – roamed their sidelines.

Coach Greg Watford’s team is just two quarters of sluggish play at Swansboro from being undefeated.  They’ll get a good test in Edenton which features an explosive offense this year thanks to a trio of senior running backs who are all game-breakers.

Bertie features Jonathan Wilson and Malcolm Cherry in it’s backfield with David Watford calling the shots under center.  On defense coach Watford has kept fresh bodies and cheery attitudes with lots of rotation and playing plenty of people.

Game time from Roy Bond Jr. Stadium in Windsor is 7:30 p.m.

Northampton-West at Northampton-East

Interestingly, this could go down as the second ‘Game Of The Week’ because both teams are in search of their first win this season.

The Rams and Hurricanes normally meet twice a year, with one of the games being a non-conference match-up, but because of school and weather concerns their game scheduled for two weeks ago had to be cancelled; and their first and only meeting will be their annual Tar-Roanoke Conference affair.

Second-year Rams coach George Privott will rely on quarterback Evans Grant to get the offense moving while across the line Dasmine Moody and Johnnie Benton will be looking to get the ‘Canes into the end zone and come out on top.  We’ll see Friday night in Conway at 7:30 p.m.

Southampton Academy at Northeast Academy

After coming closer to the win column since their season-opening loss to defending independent school state champion, Word of God, the Eagles finally broke thru into the win column Friday night with a 54-46 win at Hobgood.

That’s the good news for the Eagles.  The bad news is that the first-year NCISAA Colonial Carolina member Raiders also took a shellacking from Word Of God but that’s the only blemish on their record this season.  And Southampton is coming off a 46-25 win on the road in Raleigh last week against St. David’s.

Still, first-year coach Steve Flythe may’ve crossed a hurdle with his program in getting that first win and Northeast – playing at home with a 7:30 p.m. start in Lasker – could be lying in wait with upset on their minds.

Meanwhile, every other area team is on the road.

Hertford County at Northeastern

As third-year coach Scott Privott told me at the end of last week’s horrendous Hertford County loss to Nash Central, ‘Now we get down to work’.   The Bears do that when they open league play on the road against the defending state 2A finalists.

But that was last year.  This year there is no undefeated stamp on the Eagles and no aura of invincibility for a team that lost it’s first two and then ran the table all the way to the state championship.

This year coach Antonio Moore’s team had it handed to them already by East Duplin at home in week two; but for their other three wins they’ve scored in the sixties.

But it’s also been a rebuilding year too for the Bears.  Still, with junior quarterback Dorrien Askew feeling more and more comfortable as signal-caller for Hertford County and their defense still a force to be reckoned with this could spell trouble in Elizabeth City.

Gates County at Weldon

Speaking of a difference a year makes, fifth-year Gates County coach Matt Biggy’s Red Barons have been up-and-down.

That’s made it a late summer of losing to Bertie and Pasquotank but posting wins against Perquimans and last week, 28-15, against Atlantic Shores Christian out of Virginia.

Even with some not-yet-familiar faces the Red Barons still sport a punishing ground attack behind senior DaShawn Stokely and sophomore Brandall Riddick. They will also look to continue to see maturity from freshman quarterback Andrew Wiggins.

The Chargers also winless on the year and this will be a good road game for the Red Barons, though maybe not a good road test.

Lawrence at Arendell-Parrott

You have to feel for the Warriors, now playing a fourth straight week away from Merry Hill.

First-year coach Beau Drake’s kids can be forgiven if they’re clicking their heels together and saying, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”.  As tough as the rebuilding has been, it hasn’t gotten any easier when you have to board a bus every Friday afternoon.

Still, these kids are gamers and bring the fight every Friday night no matter where they play.