It began 50 years ago as a clash between two Craven County high schools, and now it’s one of the biggest games in the state.
Havelock and New Bern are scheduled to renew their football rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.
The teams first met in 1964, just a few short years after Havelock High School opened its doors. Brick Scoggins threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Dees in the closing minutes, and then Dees intercepted New Bern’s last gasp pass, clinching Havelock’s 25-20 victory in the first ever football meeting between the two schools.
Today, both teams have multiple state championships under their belts, with Havelock coming off three in a row, making this much more than just a county rivalry but one of the top matchups in the state.
Both teams opened their seasons last week with victories. Havelock is coming off last week’s 37-6 victory over Washington, while New Bern came up with six turnovers in shutting out Durham Hillside 12-0. New Bern’s Rasheed McCoy intercepted three passes, including two in the end zone, as the Bears kept Hillside off the scoreboard and limited the Hornets to 123 total yards.
Offensively, quarterback Mike Hughes leads New Bern. Against Hillside, he threw for one touchdown and ran for another.
“They’re athletic. They’re New Bern,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “New Bern’s always going to have good players. They’re always going to be well-coached. We’re going to have to come out and have a great — not a good — but a great week of practice to have a chance to beat those guys.”
The series between the two teams is about as close as it can get, with the Bears holding a 22-21-1 edge over Havelock. Havelock won last year’s contest 31-13 at New Bern High. Since 2008 when Bryant arrived at Havelock, the Rams are 4-2 against New Bern.
Havelock High School is selling advance tickets for the game during normal school hours today and through noon on Friday. Tickets cost $7 each. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to the game and to drive carefully in and around the school as pedestrian traffic is expected to be high.