Thursday Night Football!

Published 10:04 am Thursday, October 6, 2016

As Hurricane Matthew churns northward in the Atlantic Ocean and makes a beeline for the southeastern coast, local high school athletic directors have switched their football games from Friday to Thursday night.

Changes reported to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald include (all games on Thursday) Hobgood at Northeast at 6:30 pm; Community Christian at Lawrence Academy at 7 pm; Northampton at Riverside at 7 pm; and Bertie at Hertford County at 7:30 pm.

Bertie at

Hertford Co.

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned, in-your-face battle such as this one to take a person’s mind off the pending arrival of Hurricane Matthew.

These two schools would be competitive against one another if they were shooting marbles at a neutral site.

The renewal of a rivalry that dates back to the 1960’s when it was Ahoskie vs. Bertie is this week, this time around at Hertford County Stadium.

While records typically do not matter when these two foes meet, the Bears are coming off a big loss (48-12) on Monday night at Edenton (in a game delayed by last week’s weather) while Bertie snapped a four-game slide by beating previously undefeated Riverside, 35-7.

“It was the first time all season that we executed our game plan from start to finish. We played the way this team is capable of playing,” said Bertie head coach Grantley Mizelle, referencing the non-conference win over Riverside.

This week, Mizelle and his Falcons (2-4 overall; 0-1 in league play) will use that newfound momentum to go in search of Bertie’s first win in Northeastern Coastal Conference action. But the Bertie boss knows his team will have their hands full playing a talented HCHS squad.

“Hertford County’s passing game presents us with challenges,” he admitted. “They have a good quarterback and talented receivers. That type of offense can score points in a hurry and we can ill afford to fall behind early on the scoreboard.”

On the other side of the equation, HCHS head coach Terrence Saxby said although his team typically gets excited when “Bertie week” rolls around, he is worried that a short week of preparation (coming off a Monday night game) plus the fact that his club didn’t play well in the loss at Edenton will have an impact.

“Plus, we’re meeting a Bertie team that’s very athletic, has great team speed and plays a disciplined style of football,” Saxby said. “Bertie is also well coached.”

It’s also Homecoming week at HCHS which also can present a distraction for the Bears, who enter the contest at 3-4 overall and 1-1 in conference action.


at Riverside

Coming off an open week on their schedule, Northampton High School gets back into action when they travel to Williamston this week to meet Riverside High in the conference opener for both clubs.

The Jaguars (3-3 overall) enter the contest riding a three-game winning streak and are playing a Riverside squad (5-1 overall) coming off their first loss of the season last week at Bertie.

“Riverside has a good quarterback, he throws the ball extremely well,” said Jags head coach George Privott. “They balance that offense with a strong running game. This is a big test for us in our conference opener.”

Privott said the challenge lies with trying to stop Riverside’s offensive balance.

“We need to contain their quarterback, keep him in the pocket where he isn’t a danger to take off and run,” Privott said. “Offensively, we need to do exactly what Bertie did in their win over Riverside, run straight at them. If we can execute offensively, we’ll have a chance.”

Community Christian

at Lawrence Acad.

It’s Homecoming week in Merry Hill and Lawrence Academy head football coach Lee Hoffman would love nothing better than to see the home fans witness a win by the Warriors.

Lawrence (0-6) will look to notch win number one for 2016 when they host Community Christian (2-4) this week.

“Despite our loss against Halifax (Academy) last week, we did some good things in that game,” said Hoffman. “We’ll be ready to go this week; it will be a competitive game, and we should be excited because it’s our Homecoming game.”

The Warriors coach said for his team to notch its first win of the season, it all boils down to two simple things.

“On offense, we just need to execute what we practice all week,” he said. “Defensively, we just need to tackle better.”

Hobgood Acad.

at Northeast

Another team searching for its first win of the season is Northeast Academy.

The Eagles came razor close to experiencing that thrill last week, but failed to execute offensively down the stretch in a 20-14 loss vs. Community Christian.

This week, Northeast (0-6) hosts longtime rival Hobgood Academy (2-3).

Gates County at

N.E. Carolina Prep

The outcome of this game has already been decided as Northeast Carolina Prep School has forfeited the contest.

Coupled with last week’s 32-19 win over Perquimans, in a game where Gates County rallied for three, fourth quarter touchdowns, the Red Barons are now the owners of a five-game winning streak to improve to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in conference action.