It’s been a while, but it’s finally time to shake the dust off of the 2013 version of the Harris Poll.
I honestly can’t remember how many years we’ve done this — seven or eight?
What I do know, this is the fourth year that will end with Jerry McGee and I presenting the Jerry McGee Award to the top area football team.
If you don’t know Jerry, he is a long-time contributor to athletics in the area. He played here, coached here and served as athletic director here. I can’t even begin to list his accomplishments, awards and the halls of fame he’s been inducted into.
Not only is he a friend of the community, he’s a good friend of mine. I’m honored to partner up with Jerry once again to present this award.
I have not gotten out to as many games as I’d like to as my job of making the newspaper look pretty doesn’t allow me much flexibility to escape on a Friday night.
But, as you might have noticed, I’ve covered a couple of games and I have managed to slip out one or two other Friday nights to watch a few quarters.
I do closely follow the players, the teams and the games in the paper daily and I tap into the knowledge of the sports editor Owen Hassell and sports writer Jimmy LaRoue pretty much every day as well. So I feel I have a pretty good grasp on where teams stand.
Now, onto the poll.
For the uninitiated, the rules are simple. There are no rules really. It’s pretty much what I think of our six area football teams at this juncture of the season. You can agree or disagree, but you’ll have no one to complain about or to but me.
This is not the final ranking and the beauty of it all is that most of the poll shakes itself out on the football field.
What I have seen is the top three teams pretty much separating from the rest of the field and any of them could end up with their name on the Jerry McGee Cup if they keep putting up wins.
1. Northeastern (5-1) —Ever since 2010, the Eagles have put together a unique combination of a balanced offense and a smothering defense. That has equated to three straight double-digit-win seasons and a fourth appears to be a lock. Big games still loom with Edenton, Currituck (both on the road) and Hertford (at home). Run that gauntlet and home field and playoffs will be written many times in the same sentence when discussing the Eagles.
2. Edenton (4-2) — As I tallied the votes last week, Edenton sat squarely in third place. After Friday’s impressive win at Hertford (a team that beat Hunt, which in turn handed both Northeastern and Currituck their only losses of the season in back-to-back road games) a voter changed his mind and the Aces jumped up the board. If Edenton can get through the next two weeks (Currituck and Northeastern, both at home), it should be smooth sailing until at least a few rounds deep into the playoffs.
3. Currituck (5-1) — There is not a bigger surprise in the area than the Knights. They have proven they can win with burst (Friday’s fourth-quarter scoring explosion in a 36-15 win at Pasquotank) and by slugging it out (as in the season-opening 7-0 win at Manteo). The 2A playoff tree should be a little more kind to the Knights, who can take a big step toward a home playoff game with a win at Edenton next week.
4. Camden (2-4) — Pound for pound, no one in the area has played a tougher schedule in the first half of the season. And the Bruins have bounced back nicely from a couple of tough early losses. Some winnable games are left on the schedule and I know coach Scott Jones and company are looking forward to the Oct. 25 trip to Plymouth, a team the Bruins had on the ropes before falling 36-23 a few weeks ago.
5. Pasquotank (2-3) — The Panthers have stumbled a bit after a nice start to the season. Granted, the schedule has gotten tougher, but Pasquotank has to find that winning edge again if it hopes to break into the top half of the Northeastern Coastal Conference. And believe me, Northeastern, Edenton, Hertford and now Currituck aren’t going to be very willing to let that happen.
6. Perquimans (2-3) — Kudos to what coach Elvin James and staff have done to pick things up at Perquimans. The Pirates not only broke a nearly two-year long losing skid, but they put together a modest two-game winning streak. And they are not done. There are still a couple nice matchups left on the schedule and Perquimans will be in the 1A playoffs.