Down the Stretch

Published 9:42 am Thursday, October 27, 2016

It’s home, sweet home for the majority of the high school football teams in the Roanoke-Chowan area this Friday (Oct. 28) as the 2016 season enters the 11th week of a 12-week regular season.

Hertford County, Gates County, Bertie County and Northampton County will each play in front of their home fan base on Friday.

Meanwhile, over in Merry Hill, Lawrence Academy closes out its regular season by hosting R-C area rival Northeast Academy.



at Hertford Co.


The Bears have enjoyed an extra week to prepare for the powerful Eagles as HCHS is coming off a bye on their schedule after beating Pasquotank two weeks ago.

“It was great to see us get the running game going against Pasquotank,” said Bears head coach Terrance Saxby, referencing a 368-yard rushing effort that produced a 47-0 victory.

That game also marked the full return of junior running back Kyeem Perry who has missed the majority of the season due to injury. His presence was immediately felt at Pasquotank where he rushed for a game-high 226 yards and scored four touchdowns.

Zion Riddick (#23) is part of a contingent of Hertford County High School running backs who have combined to rush for nearly 1,600 yards this season. Dynamic Photo / William Anthony

Zion Riddick (#23) is part of a contingent of Hertford County High School running backs who have combined to rush for nearly 1,600 yards this season. Dynamic Photo / William Anthony

“We executed well and blocked very well against Pasquotank,” Saxby added.

HCHS will need that same effort this week when they tangle with conference leading Northeastern High School. The Eagles stand 8-1 overall and are unbeaten (4-0) in league play.

The Bears (5-4 overall; 3-1 in the conference) have a chance to tie Northeastern for the league lead with a win.

“We have our work cut out for us this week,” Saxby stressed. Northeastern is highly ranked in the state polls. They’re very athletic; have a good quarterback, and very good running backs.”

The question heading into this critical match-up for both teams is what hand will Saxby play…..will the Bears use the success enjoyed two weeks ago with their running game, or will they employ an aerial attack vs. the Eagles – a passing game led by junior quarterback Lance Hunter who has thrown for 1,820 yards and 20 TD’s in nine games thus far.

“I believe we need to have an effective running game again this week,” said Saxby. “Defensively we need to make tackles at the point of contact and not give up any additional yards trying to bring down one of their players. Plus, on defense, we needed to understand what our assignments are and stick to them.”



at Bertie


One week ago on a rainy night at Roy Bond Stadium, Bertie rallied down the stretch to pull out a hard-fought 15-12 win vs. Currituck.

“We never quit in the Currituck game,” said Falcons head coach Grantley Mizelle. “The defense played great, to include a couple of key stops late in the game, and we were able to get a win.”

This Friday, Bertie (4-5 overall; 2-2 in conference action) will hunt for their third consecutive win when they host league foe Pasquotank (5-5; 0-5).

“Pasquotank has two good running backs, which we will have to stop,” Mizelle noted. “They also have good team speed and are well coached.

“We have to contain their speed; play soundly on defense, and not give up any big plays,” Mizelle continued. “Offensively, our line needs to play much better than they did last Friday. We also need to cut down on turnovers.”


Camden at

Gates County


Gates County enters this game riding a seven-game winning streak, to include last Friday’s shutout victory on the road at Columbia.

“We ran the ball extremely well last week at Columbia,” said GCHS head coach Matt Biggy. “We were able to put points on the scoreboard early and build a good lead.”

This Friday, rival Camden County (5-4 overall; 3-2 in conference play) comes to Eason’s Crossroads to pay the Red Barons (7-2; 5-0) a league visit.

“Camden runs the option on offense, which makes them a very dangerous team to defend,” Biggy stressed. “They have a good quarterback and good running backs. They also get their tight end involved in the passing game; we’ve got to make sure he gets covered.”

Biggy said he felt the key this week was for his Red Barons to come out of the locker room and start the game with an upbeat approach.

“It’s a big game for us as we head down the stretch of the regular season,” he noted. “We can’t afford to start slow; we need to establish our running game going early.

“Defensively, we have to play assignment football to stop their option. We’ve got our work cut out for us this week if we want to remain undefeated in the conference,” Biggy concluded.


Tarboro at



This game features opposites: Northampton is coming off a lopsided loss last week at home vs. North Edgecombe while Tarboro manhandled Riverside.

“Tarboro is a mirror image of North Edgecombe as they do a lot of things very well,” said Northampton head coach George Privott.

Playing in Northampton’s favor is Friday’s contest marks the third straight home game for the Jaguars (4-5 overall; 1-2 in league play). However, Tarboro is a formidable foe with their 6-2 overall mark and 2-0 in the conference.

“Tarboro still runs that T-offense and they execute that offense very well; just like they have for years and years,” Privott stressed. “Their running backs hide the ball very well, which makes that type of offense tough to stop.”

The Jaguars coach knows that his best defense may be his offense.

“We have to control the ball, and control the clock, which helps to limit their number of offensive possessions,” Privott said. “On defense it simply boils down to controlling their running game. Tarboro likes to grind it out and wear you down. We need to keep their offense off the field as much as we can.”


Northeast at



The annual rivalry game between these two independent schools shifts to Merry Hill this year.

Lawrence (0-8 overall) will close out its regular season looking for a win. The Warriors played well last week, but fell at Wayne Christian.

Northeast Academy (1-7) is coming off a bye week.