Starting Over

Published 8:17 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WINDSOR – After suffering through their worst season at 1-9 since going winless in 1975, Bertie High selected their fourth coach in four years last spring with the hiring of Ty Hill as the new field boss of the Falcons.

At his introduction Hill said he wanted to restore the Bertie tradition on power running football and he hopes to make big strides quickly.  He started things off by being the first Roanoke-Chowan team to begin fall practices by starting off right at the stroke of midnight on Aug. 1.

“I tell the kids to always try to look to get better, do something different,” Hill said.  “Everybody else was starting practice Friday morning or Friday evening and I just wanted to get things kicked off because we don’t have a second to waste.”

While the new Bertie High School sits like a bright beacon on US 13 north of Windsor, staid old Roy Bond, Jr. Stadium will still be the home field for the Blue-and-White.

The Falcons will be led on defense by Alexander Cooper a senior defensive tackle and Jarvis Carr next to him at defensive end.

“Our defense is going to be good,” Hill maintained. “We will also have a good secondary with a pair of juniors, cornerback Malik Moody and safety Darquil Wilkins. We will also count on Nick Cooper, a junior defensive end, and Archie Wesson, a senior linebacker.”

Anchoring the Falcon offense will be senior running back Alameen Sharif and up from the junior varsity, sophomore sensation Corey Cherry.

“Our offensive ends will be Tydre Lee and Eric Speight,” said Hill.  “Lee is a senior and Speight is a sophomore.  Both have speed.”

Still a question mark for Bertie will be who lines up under center, but Hill says there’s plenty of competition for the position.

“We haven’t decided on a quarterback yet,” Hill said. “We do have three players vying for the position.”

Bertie will open the season Aug.22 at home in Roy Stadium against Gates County, a team the Falcons lost to in 2013 for the first time in three meetings. Aug. 29 will bring their first road game, at Manteo, before Bertie returns home on Sept. 5 to play Swansboro.

Following an open date on Sept. 12 the Falcons return to non-conference play when they host West Carteret on Sept. 19; but that will be their only game over a four week period because Bertie has a second open date on Sept. 26.

Conference play begins for the Falcons on Oct. 3 against rival, HertfordCounty in Ahoskie.  Oct. 10 brings a trip to Kill Devil Hills and the Nighthawks of First Flight.  Two home league games follow: Currituck County on Oct. 17 and Pasquotank on Oct. 24.  Edenton will be Bertie’s final road conference game on Halloween night, Oct. 31, before the Falcons close out the regular season Nov. 7 back at Bond Stadium against Northeastern, conference champs for two of the last three years.

The NC High School Athletic Association playoffs begin a week later on Nov. 14.   Bertie has only made the post-season once since 2009.

“The Northeastern Coastal Conference is a tough league,” Hill warns.  “Northeastern, Edenton, and Currituck are probably the top three.  We have our work cut out for us as we will battle everybody in the conference.

“Our goal for this year is to compete in every game,” Hill said in closing.  “We will see how our athletes will do and will be happy with the outcome.”