Pasquotank County officials plan to reach into their own pockets to help pay for silver rings for Northeastern High School’s state runner-up football team — but won’t allocate any county funds for the mementos.
Antonio Moore, head football coach of the NHS Eagles, asked the Board of Commissioners at last week’s finance committee meeting for a county contribution toward the purchase of silver rings for players and assistant coaches in recognition of the Eagles’ season.
The Eagles lost to Reidsville High School 14-0 in the 2A Division of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Football Championship on Dec. 14 at BBT Field in Winston-Salem.
Moore told commissioners that a silver ring is an appropriate memento for a runner-up finish, noting that gold rings are reserved for winning the championship.
Moore said he raised money in the community to buy silver rings for NHS’ 2018 team, which also lost to Reidsville and finished second in the state. He’s raising money again this year and is asking the players to participate in the fundraising themselves.
Moore said the total cost for the rings in 2018 was $5,400, but he’s getting a better deal this time and the cost will be $4,000.
“And I’m not asking for four grand” from the county, Moore said.
Moore didn’t suggest a specific amount, but said the county providing a contribution of some kind would indicate community support for the team.
At their regular meeting later the same day, Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Griffin said he thought commissioners should “pass the hat” at their next meeting and contribute as individuals to the fundraising effort. However, he recommended against allocating county funds, saying he was concerned about setting a precedent if the county contributed funds toward the rings’ cost.
Commissioner Cecil Perry said he thought county funding could be an indication of community support.
“But I want to follow protocol,” Perry added.
Board Chairman Jeff Dixon thanked Moore for the way he and the teams have represented the county the past two years.
Commissioner Barry Overman said that as a graduate of Northeastern High School he has been delighted to see the team doing so well in recent years.
Moore said he was proud of both the 2018 and 2019 teams but was especially proud of the 2019 squad because of how well they dealt with adversity. The coach pointed out that the team lost three consecutive games in 2019 but then dusted themselves off and kept winning until they got to the championship game.
The road to the state championship game included a 23-8 win over Clinton High School Dec. 6 to clinch the NCHSAA 2A East Regional championship.
The seniors from the 2019 Northeastern Eagles football team were slated to attend the county commissioners’ meeting to be recognized for their accomplishment but the appearance was postponed due to a couple of the seniors being out with the flu.
In a follow-up interview, Moore said he does not plan to make a similar request to Elizabeth City City Council for funding for the ring project. He noted the city already supports two AAU teams at his request.