Falcons prepare for tough road

Published 3:38 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WINDSOR – The road to Bertie High School’s chance for an eastern final reads like a who’s who of eastern North Carolina 2-A football.

The Falcons, seeded No. 6 in the East pod would have to face Northeastern High School, Edenton and Tarboro in that order if seeds hold out. The combined records of those teams for seeding purposes is 29-1.

So why are the Falcons and Head Football Coach Greg Watford so optimistic?

“We got the draw we wanted,” the third-year mentor said. “I told the kids this is who we wanted. We knew from day one the path for us would go through Elizabeth City (Northeastern) or Edenton so we might as well see them early.”

The Falcons enter the playoffs for the first time since 2008 after having as many wins in 2012 as they had the two previous years combined. The six-win plateau is the highest since 2007.

Despite all of that and the tough 9-1 Eagles that will await Bertie, Watford said he is excited about the chance for his team to be back in the playoffs.

“We are in the playoffs for the first time in years,” he said. “That’s exciting for us. We’re also playing well on defense and have found a running game, so I’m excited about the opportunity.

“As the old saying goes, to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Watford continued. “Our road to the championship would be through the best, so we have to embrace it.”

The Falcons expect to have starting quarterback David Watford and senior slot back Malcolm Cherry on the field Friday despite injuries suffered last week during the annual “Backyard Brawl” with Hertford County.

Watford suffered a hand injury, but has been throwing the football during practice. Cherry retweaked an ankle and has been held out of practice, but is expected to be on the field Friday.

On defense, the Falcons have improved steadily since losing to Northeastern 55-12 on Oct. 10.

“Our defense is getting better and if they keep playing the way they have, we will have an opportunity to win more football games,” Watford said.

The coach said his team was also reveling in their role as under dogs.

“Would anyone give us a snowballs’ chance? No, they wouldn’t and I love it,” he said. “We have looked at the game and we know no one is expecting us to have a chance, but us.

“Are we concerned about Northeastern? Certainly we are,” he continued. “But I will say this; they better be concerned about us too.”

The Falcons will have their opportunity to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the program’s history Friday when they travel to Elizabeth City. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.