Bears glad to be at home

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

AHOSKIE – The smallest 3-A school in North Carolina is not only in the playoffs, but took a number two seed.

It’s a far cry from the Hertford County High School that was once in the top 10 largest schools in the 3-A ranks a decade ago, but the Bears have worked hard and put themselves in a position to make the most out of their final 3-A berth.

“I think if you look at the fact we’re the smallest 3-A in the state and then see where we’re seeded, it’s says good things about the program,” fourth-year HCHS mentor Scott Privott said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction as a program. We only have about 850 kids and we’re in the same bracket with schools well over 1,000. I think for us to be seeded number two in our pod shows we’re moving in the correct direction.”

The Bears will be hosting a first round playoff game Friday when they welcome West Carteret High School at 7:30 p.m. HCHS comes in seeded number two in the East pod.

“I feel a lot better than last year when we were starting the playoffs by going to Havelock,” Privott said. “I like the way we ended the season – on a four game win streak. I think that gives us some momentum heading into the playoffs.”

The Bears knocked off rival Bertie High School 29-13 a week ago, earning their fourth straight victory. HCHS also defeated First Flight High School, Currituck County High School and Pasquotank County High School during the winning streak. Three of those four will be in the playoffs Friday.

Privott said one of the reasons for the recent success was a difference in play by the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think we’ve played better up front both on offense and defense,” the coach said. “We’ve been able to run the ball and also to throw the ball when we needed to because of the protection we’ve had up front.”

Privott said the success the Bears have in the first round of the playoffs will likely come from what happens on the offensive and defensive fronts.

“West Carteret is big up front,” he said. “That can cause problems if we don’t stay low and fly off the ball.”

The coach said the Patriots would come in seeking to control the line of scrimmage because of their size.

“They are a very, very good football team,” Privott assured. “They are big and strong up front and we have to prepare for their power running game. They will try to run right at us and we have our work cut out for us up front.”

Defensively the Patriots will try to keep the Bears in front of them and not surrender big plays.

The Bears will look to counter with their team speed.

“We want to get the ball to our playmakers in space and let them work,” Privott said. “We’re also going to need Kenny (Sharpe) and Anthony (Lassiter) to produce in the running game.”

Sharpe leads the Bears with more than 700 yards rushing this season, despite battling injuries while Lassiter is near the 500-yard mark.

Quarterback Ryan Weaver had completed 44-of-95 passes for 633 yards and six touchdowns through nine games.

Dorrien Askew leads the HCHS receiving corps with close to 250 yards on the season while Kevin Privott is at slightly less than 200 yards.

The Bears are relatively injury-free with only cornerback Christopher Jordan suffering from a dislocated shoulder which occurred last week at Bertie.

Hertford County will look to win their first playoff game in three years and Privott said he was using that as incentive.

“We haven’t won a playoff games since 2009 and we’re using that as a motivational tool,” Privott said. “We know that’s our next step.”

The Bears will be looking to do so during their last trip through the 3-A ranks.

“I haven’t thought a lot about it,” Privott said of his last 3-A playoff trip. “We do want to do well and make a run. I think we’re in a good position seeding wise to make a run.”

That run will begin Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the friendly confines of Bear Stadium.