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Hertford County opens delayed football season

AHOSKIE – After a seven-month delay, high school football season has arrived.

Hertford County High School is slated to open an abbreviated schedule tomorrow (Thursday) with a 6 p.m. game at Southampton County High School in Courtland, VA.

It marks the season opener for both teams and the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The Bears were scheduled to open the season last week (Feb. 26) at Gates County, but the Red Barons were forced to cancel that game due to not having enough players to safely play the game.

HCHS head coach Terrance Saxby scrambled to find another opponent and briefly found one vs. Smithfield (VA) High School, but they canceled as well.

Now, Saxby and the Bears have their sights set on the Southampton Indians.

“Southampton is a power running team,” Saxby noted. “They have decent size and speed. They have very good athletes.”

Saxby said his team needs to be focused defensively.

“We need to understand their [offensive] formations and stick to our assignments defensively,” Saxby stressed. “Offensively, it’s all about proper execution and maintaining our blocks.”

Following the guidelines set earlier by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, the Bears were allowed to open practice on Feb. 8 with the season opener coming no earlier than Feb. 26. The regular season is limited to only seven games.

“It’s important to us to play and get the kinks out since we were not allowed to schedule any pre-season scrimmages,” Saxby said.

“We’ve had some good practices thus far,” the HCHS coach added. “We did the best we could with all the rainy weather we’ve been having. We’re ready to get the season started.”

Hertford County’s remaining regular season games (all tentative dates and opponents) are as follows:

March 12: home vs. Northeastern

March 19: home vs. First Flight

March 26: at Currituck County

Bertie High and Pasquotank County High, both traditional conference foes for the Bears, have opted not to field football teams.