Falcons claim forfeit, go to 3-1

Published 2:06 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WINDSOR – Bertie High School will get a win Friday without taking the field.

The Falcons had planned to travel to Gaston where they would have a rematch with KIPP-Pride, but that game has been cancelled as the Panthers officially forfeited. Bertie won last year 45-0.

“We have been talking with Diego (Hasty, the Panthers coach) for a few weeks,” Bertie skipper Greg Watford said. “We tried to find a game so we could let them go, but we called just about everyone with an open date. We tried to work things out, but they just couldn’t do it and eventually they decided to forfeit.”

The win Friday night will mean the Falcons start the 2012 season 3-1, a mark the program hasn’t reached in at least the past eight seasons.

“I think being 3-1 is good for our confidence,” he said. “We knew going into our game with Swansboro that we would get the forfeit, but we didn’t want to be a .500 team. That’s where we were last year.

“I think being able to beat a good Swansboro team and have our record at 3-1 is a confidence boost,” he continued. “After Rocky Mount, I told the guys we were a fair team. I have a matrix of the quality level of the team that goes from great to mediocre.

“There were many times last year when we were mediocre and fair is a step up, but we need to get to good,” Watford added. “We were a fair team Friday and I think we beat a good team.”

Watford said the goal for the Falcons over the next couple of weeks as they prepare for their next outing at Edenton Sept. 14 was to get to the level of being good because they knew the Aces were a very good team.

“I want them to have a tangible model,” he said. “We were a mediocre team in 2010 and some times last year, but we need to be better than that. The signs of a good team is being aggressive, not turning the ball over, being efficient on offense and those things. We have the potential to be that type of team.”

One thing that will help that is the return of three starters from injury. Raekwon Williams will be back on the field for the first time this season when the Falcons travel to Edenton. Marquan Murry will also be back on the field for Bertie after being injured during one of the scrimmages.

Watford said he also hopes to get sophomore Al-Ameen Sharif back after his knee surgery.

“Getting those guys back healthy could be a big step for us,” the coach said. “We need all of them on the field and that looks like it may happen before we head to Edenton.”

Watford said his team would use the next few days to work on fundamentals, including the quarterback/center exchange which has caused issues. He said the team is also putting emphasis on being better on special teams.

As for thus far this season, the coach said he was pleased with the growth of the secondary.

“We were not aggressive back there the last two years,” he said. “We’re becoming better tacklers and better cover guys. I think with RaeKwon coming back, we could have one of the better secondary units I’ve ever coached.”

He said he is also pleased with the kicking game and kicker/punter Luke Davis. He said Davis has been efficient and has allowed the Falcons to kick off deep. He also said the junior still has the potential to kick the ball in the endzone on a consistent basis.

Watford said he is also pleased with the progress of starting quarterback David Watford, his son.

“I think David is coming off a rough year last year and has worked hard in the weight room to get bigger and faster,” he said. “He is doing well overall with his passing and is doing a better job with the option.”

The coach said the biggest concern was still the offensive line, but complimented Charles Carter Harden and Dominique Harris with their work on keeping the offensive line fighting even after mistakes.

“I am also pleased with the growth of our staff,” he said. “We haven’t had any staff turnover in two years and I’m learning them and they are learning me. We are utilizing our strengths and that is making us better.”

The Falcons will not have a chance to prove how much better until they take the field again Sept. 14.