High School Football | Area teams vie for league championships
From staff reports
Friday, November 8, 2019
The final week of the 2019 high school football regular season is here.
By Saturday, brackets will be released for the state playoffs as there could be as many as four teams in the Daily Advance’s coverage area that will live to play at least another week.
There is still a lot at stake tonight, however, for a few teams tonight, especially in the 2A Northeastern Coastal Conference.
Northeastern (7-3, 3-1 NCC) and Currituck (7-3, 3-1 NCC) both enter tonight in a three-way tie with Hertford County (8-2, 3-1 NCC) for first place in the league.
If all three win their respective games, it will be a three-way share of the NCC title for the first time in three seasons.
The path to the possibility began in the first week of the conference schedule when Hertford County beat Northeastern 33-21. The Eagles were up 14-0 early in that game when junior Deandre Proctor went down with a broken collarbone.
Proctor is still sidelined due to the injury.
Northeastern got back in the win column the following week at Currituck after a late scoop-and-score touchdown allowed the Eagles to win a 14-7 defensive battle.
They handily defeated Bertie and First Fight at home with senior Holden Hodge behind center and are now a win at Pasquotank from at least a share of the conference title for the seventh straight season.
The Eagles have been outright champs in four of the last six years.
“(Possibly) seven straight conference championships, nine in all, that’s a big deal,” Northeastern head coach Antonio Moore, in his 15th season at NHS, said. “It shows that we do have the kids in Elizabeth City to win and compete.”
Currituck was one of the three in a three-way tie in 2013 as it joined John A. Holmes, still in 2A at the time, and Northeastern at the top of the standings. It’s the last time the Knights were that close to the title.
This season, after Currituck’s loss to Northeastern, Hertford County was in the driver’s seat with a 2-0 record after its first two conference games.
But Currituck bounced back in a huge way and blew out the Bears in Ahoskie 45-27 to effectively create the three-way tie.
Currituck head coach Paul Bossi, in his second season, now has the Knights in position to share a conference title for the first time in six years.
“That’s a huge boost for the program,” Bossi said. “It shows the boys their hard work does pay off. I demand a lot from my boys… and we needed that Hertford County win to get our team up over that hump to show them that we’re going to be a contender.”
The Knights travel to First Flight tonight to close out the regular season.
Bossi expects the rival Nighthawks to give his team a dog fight as he acknowledged that First Flight will be extra pumped for its senior night and that it is a scrappy, well-coached team.
None of the three teams that Currituck, Northeastern and Hertford County play to end the conference schedule have more than two wins all season. The Bears face one-win Bertie tonight.
So, barring a big upset, the Northeastern Coastal Conference will have its third three-way share of the title in the last seven years.
“It tells you that this area is getting more competitive in football,” Moore said.
The Aces have clinched a share of the Class 1A Albemarle Athletic Conference title after beating Manteo 56-0 last week, but they can be the outright champions for a third consecutive year with a home win against Perquimans tonight.
Edenton has yet to lose a conference game in its third year as a member of the conference and it would be its fourth straight year of at least a share of a conference title as it was in a three-way tie in the NCC in 2016.
If the Aces were to be upset by Perquimans (5-5, 2-2 AAC), which is hoping for its first state playoff berth since 2016, Manteo (8-2, 3-1 AAC) can clinch a share with a win against Washington County.
John A. Holmes head coach Paul Hoggard noted that it feels good to be playing for another outright conference championship, but the Aces still have to play the game tonight.
Coach Hoggard noted that not much has changed offensively with starting quarterback Landen Hoggard going down in last week’s game with an upper-body injury.
With Landen expected to miss multiple games going forward, Mitjonta Stanley has shifted from running back to quarterback for the Aces.
Stanley had to play quarterback in a similar situation in 2017 when then starting quarterback, Kentreaz Coston, missed most of the season because of a lower-body injury.
Coach Hoggard noted that Stanley practiced this week as if he hasn’t missed time at quarterback.
As for tonight’s opponent in the Pirates, coach Hoggard noted that the Edenton defense needs to contain Perquimans quarterback A’marion Hunter.
The Edenton coach added that the Pirates have very capable running backs and wide receivers.
He credited the Pirates offense as being explosive and very hard to contain.