Northampton ready to continue
CREEKSVILLE – It’s been a long time coming.
And it’s been a short time.
There will be a playoff game held in Roy F. Lowry Stadium here Friday night for the first time since 2007. While that is a long playoff drought, it isn’t for the team that will be playing there.
That’s because Northampton County High School is a brand new institution, the result of consolidation of Northampton-East and Northampton-West this fall.
So while it will be the first time in a while a team has played a playoff game in the stadium, the Jaguars are playing at home during their inaugural season on the gridiron.
“It feels good,” NCHS Head Football Coach George Privott said. “As a 1-A team, you can usually get into the playoffs with three wins, but this is the first time there has been a playoff game here since 2007 and that feels great. It is nice to have home field advantage.
“It is tremendously special for us to do it during the first year of Northampton County High School,” he added. “There have been a lot of people that questioned whether or not we could coexist and it has been a lot of fun extinguishing that talk.”
Privott said his team was one unit, not anything near the two schools from which it originated.
“We have been fortunate enough to have all the talent from two schools under one roof,” the coach said. “It has been good because the kids get along really well and the coaching staff does as well. I think when you take the coaches and players from two rival schools and put them under one roof and they turn out a 9-2 regular season, it is a great accomplishment.”
In addition to winning nine regular season games, the Jaguars won all five of their contests inside the Tar-Roanoke Conference allowing them to claim the league title in not only their first year in the league, but the last one of the conference as it is currently formed.
Heading to Creeksville will be Riverside High School from Williamston. The Knights enter the contest 6-5 overall and winners of three straight.
“I know Coach (Asim) McGill pretty well and I know they will be ready and will be a good football team,” Privott said. “They will go shotgun and no huddle like we do, but they throw the ball all around the field, much more than your average high school team.”
Privott said the Knights had a good quarterback and a tailback that reminded him of Brandall Riddick, the junior running back from league foe Gates County High School.
“He can carry the load and he is a load to bring down,” Privott said. “We have to hit him before he gets going.”
Privott said his major concern at the moment was preparing the Jaguar defense for Riverside.
“We have spent a lot of time on defense,” he said. “We’ve given up 76 points in the past two weeks and we have to get better.”
The coach said Northampton would need to play good, solid defense and try to keep the Riverside offense on the sideline. He also stressed the need for good special teams play following a pair of weeks where the Jaguars struggled in that area.
“It would be great to get a win here in the first round,” Privott said. “With our seed, that would mean another home game.”
The last time a home team won in Lowry Stadium during the playoffs was the 2007 NCHS-East squad who lost the following week at Jones Senior.
The Jaguars will be looking to change that and continue to rewrite the history of the school, the stadium and the county at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Riverside High School.