Red Baron-ready

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

GATESVILLE – Last year Gates County High ended their football season with an 8-5 overall mark with a 5-2 record in the now-defunct Coastal-10 Conference.

The Red Barons dropped their first two contests to open the season and then ninth-grader Caleb Brickhouse kicked through a 39-yard field goal attempt with one second left on the clock as Gates erased a nine-point deficit and shocked Bertie in the Falcons’ home opener, 17-16.

From there the ‘Barons went on to win their next six in a row and took an undefeated mark into their home game with Camden County, but fell to the Bruins by a point, 35-34, this time when the opponent kicked the game winner.

After that loss, Gates then fell to league champ and 1AA finalist Plymouth before shocking Louisburg on the road, 34-17, in the first round of the playoffs. They eventually fell the next Friday night to East Carteret.

The top returnee on offense for Gates County and Coach Matt Biggy is quarterback Jawan Riddick, who will start his third season as the ‘Barons’ signal-caller.

Joining Riddick in the backfield will be senior running back Demond Jones, taking over for the graduated Robert Walker. Leading the offensive line will be senior Isaiah Stewart, while Riddick’s main target in the receiving corps will be junior Jordan Robinson.

We have experienced skill players on offense,” said Biggy. “We want to establish our offensive line and be able to run the ball.”

The Red Baron defense will be led by four juniors. Ron Olsen and Tyrell Holley will be the junior linebackers, Robinson will play safety, and another junior, Rayvon Riddick, will anchor the defensive line.

Our defense will be young,” said Biggy. “We will be looking for our defense to step up, play fast, and make tackles.”

Gates County opens the season on August 18 at Hertford County, followed by their home opener on Aug. 25 against Oxford Webb.

The ‘Barons open September with a home date on the 1st against Bertie. On Sept. 8 Gates will travel to Chocowinity and face Southside. On Sept. 15, Southeast Halifax is at Gates, and the ‘Barons play their final non-conference game on the 22nd against their third Northeastern Coastal Conference foe in Pasquotank.

After an open date Sept. 29, Gates opens league play in their brand-new 1A Albemarle Conference on October 6 at Manteo. On Oct. 13 Gates will host Perquimans, followed by a home date Oct. 20 against the newest conference member, Edenton Holmes. Oct. 27 Gates is at Plymouth and the ‘Barons will close out the regular season at Camden County on November 3 with the state playoffs beginning Nov. 10.

We have a real tough non-conference schedule as we play Hertford County, Bertie, and Pasquotank. We also have Southeast Halifax, Southside, and Oxford Webb,” said Biggy. “These are all good competition and should make us better.”

We are now in one of the toughest 1A leagues in the state,” he added. “Edenton and Plymouth were both in state championship games last year. The other three teams in our league are also good.”

Our goal is to make the state playoffs,” he concluded. “We will take them one game at a time and hopefully get better each week.”