All Games Matter

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

At home or on the road, when the second week of October rolls around the location of a high school football game doesn’t really matter.

It’s rather how a team prepares in advance and executes on game night as all games matter down the stretch of conference races.

As week number nine of the 2016 season arrives, three local teams (Gates County, Northampton and Northeast Academy) will have home games this Friday while both Bertie and Hertford County will pack up the bus for road trips.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Academy has an open date on their schedule this week.

Manteo at

Gates County

The Red Barons (5-2 overall; and unbeaten in conference play at 3-0) are coming off a forfeit win over Northeast Carolina Prep while Manteo (4-3; 2-1) defeated Columbia last week.

“We haven’t played now in two weeks so we’ve got to be prepared,” said Gates County head coach Matt Biggy. “Manteo runs the option, so that presents us a challenge. Plus they play well defensively. They are improving as the season goes along.”

Biggy said the key for his club to be successful at home this week is to get off to a good start.

“We didn’t do that two weeks ago against Perquimans; we got off to a slow start and had to battle our way back,” Biggy said referencing a fourth quarter comeback that allowed the ‘Barons to taste victory.

“We also need to continue to run the ball well and play sound defensively,” Biggy closed as his team goes in search of its sixth consecutive win and a chance to improve to 4-0 in conference play.

South Creek at


Both of these conference foes are coming off losses in their respective conference openers last week. Northampton (3-4; 0-1) dropped a two-point heartbreaker at Riverside while South Creek (1-6; 0-1) was defeated by Tarboro.

“We had a couple of key turnovers that really hurt our chances in the game at Riverside,” said Northampton head coach George Privott. “We actually had the lead at halftime, but just couldn’t hold it in the second half. It was a tough, tough loss for us to open our conference schedule.”

Hopefully, Privott and the Jaguars employed the “24-hour rule” after that loss – a time period used by athletic teams to either bask in the glory of victory or agonize over a defeat before turning their full attention to the next opponent on the schedule.

“Even though they have had a tough season so far, South Creek is very athletic and they will pose a threat to us,” Privott stressed. “South Creek runs multiple offenses and they are a good defensive team as well.

“We just need to continue to run the ball well and stick to our defensive game plan,” Privott closed.

Wayne Christian

at Northeast Acad.

Northeast is coming off its first win of the season last week when they rallied down the stretch to defeat Hobgood Academy, 20-16 on Homecoming night in Lasker.

“That was a great win for us; we played like I knew we were capable of playing,” said Eagles head coach Stevie Flythe.

This Friday, Northeast (1-6) looks to use the momentum built last week when they host Wayne Christian (1-6).

“Wayne Christian is a pretty quick team and they like to throw the football,” noted Flythe.

“It’s our senior night game. We just need to play like we did against Hobgood and we should be in good shape,” closed Flythe.

Hertford County

at Pasquotank

Hertford County enters this conference road game fresh off a big win on Oct. 6 vs. rival Bertie. Meanwhile, Pasquotank prepares for the challenge on their home turf after suffering a setback against First Flight.

“It was a big win for us, and more importantly it was a team win as we played well on both sides of the ball,” said HCHS coach Terrance Saxby. “We’re hopeful that we can build on last week’s momentum and take it with us to Pasquotank this week.”

The Bears enter Friday night’s contest in Elizabeth City at 4-4 overall and 2-1 in league play. Pasquotank currently sports a 5-2 overall mark (1-2 in the conference).

“Pasquotank has a new coach and he’s doing a great job with that program,” Saxby said. “They’re running a new offense. They’re a very athletic team who lost a tough game last week against First Flight. We need to be focused and ready because I know they will be because they’re a very well coached team.”

The Bears will be led offensively by junior quarterback Lance Hunter who has thrown for 1,765 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“Offensively it’s about getting our playmakers involved early,” Saxby noted. “Defensively we need to tackle well and limit their big plays.”

Bertie at

First Flight

Bertie will be looking to get back on the right track this on the heels of last week’s setback at Hertford County, a game where they suffered eight turnovers.

“We turned the ball over way too many times, which you can’t do against a good football team and still somehow expect to win,” said Falcons head coach Grantley Mizelle.

Mizelle and his staff will look for their players to bounce back this week when Bertie (2-5 overall; 0-2 in league action) travels to the Outer Banks to meet First Flight High School (2-5; 1-1).

“First Flight is a very disciplined team,” noted Mizelle. “They run the Wing-T spread offense. They are a very fundamental team and do a good job in executing their offense.”

For the Falcons to come home from the beach with a win, Mizelle said it all starts with protecting the football.

“We can’t turn it over, we have to hold on to the ball,” Mizelle said. Defensively we need to tackle well and be in position to make those tackles. If we can execute well on both sides of the ball that puts us in a position to have a chance to win our first conference game.”