When everyone is optimistic, I tend to be pessimistic.

When everyone is optimistic, I tend to be pessimistic.

Itís not that Iím that way with everything. If everyone is pessimistic, I tend to be optimistic.

I think itís the journalist in me. Itís my attempt to make sure both sides of the story are represented in my mind.

So as I see Havelock going crazy for its Havelock High School Rams football team, Iím a bit more cautious. After all, you donít count your state championships until you have the trophy in your hand.

Having said that, there are certainly plenty of reasons to be excited about the Rams, who play Concord in the state championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday in Winston-Salem.

First of all, Havelock definitely has experience. After all, the Rams went 16-0 and won the state title last year, beating West Rowan 38-6 in the title game. Most of Havelockís key players were a part of last yearís team.

And speaking of players, the Rams have a lot of talent. Of 11 defensive starters, four are big-time college recruits. And a couple of those will slide over and play offense as well. Perhaps Orange High coach Patrick Moser, whose team lost to Havelock 42-7 last week, summed up Havelockís talent the best.

"We tried to run right and we ran into a kid going to South Carolina (Kendal Vickers), tried to run left and thereís a kid going to East Carolina (Malcom Ashley). I mean what are you going to do?" he said.

Along with experienced players, the Rams also have a valuable corps of coaches, led by head coach Jim Bob Bryant. This is the fifth year the staff has been together, and they know what is needed to put their players in the right positions to make plays.

Itís a coordinated effort in practices and on the sidelines during games among the coaches, with each having a clearly defined role. Theyíve earned the respect of the players, and because of that, the players give their all to the coaches and to the team.

But then thereís that pessimistic side of me, and it starts with Concord being a really good team. The Spiders are 13-2. You donít get to 13-2 by being a bad team.

Concord is explosive offensively. The Spiders average 38 points per game, and in eight of their 15 games, scored 42 or more points, including a high of 62.

And Concord is certainly talented. B.J. Beecher is one of North Carolinaís Shrine Bowl quarterbacks and had a game earlier this year in which he threw for 451 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns.

This by no means will be an easy game, as so many others this season have seemed.

No matter the outcome, itís been another great season for the Rams, and I hope all have been able to get out to a game to watch. The last two seasons have certainly been special and I know one more victory will make it even better for the players, coaches, parents and community.

The optimist in me wants to wish the team good luck.

The pessimist in me is afraid Iíll jinx them.

So I will just wish them and all traveling to Winston-Salem for the game a safe journey.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at ken.buday@havenews.com.