Coach Caleb King and his eastern regional champion Rams got a rowdy send-off Friday afternoon as Havelock High School stuffed the gymnasium with cheerleaders, a band and all its students to cheer them on.
Havelock is scheduled to face Charlotte Catholic for the state 3A championship Saturday at 3 p.m. in Wallace Wade Stadium at Duke University in Durham.
Above the bleachers, signs shouted the team’s glories. “Go! Win! Fight!,” “Touchdown Havelock!” and “No Doubt Dynasty” were among the giant placards rising over the sea of students.
The band started its booming songs with an opening of bassy brass, trumpets followed in, and the fight songs that stir up fans at every game filled the room and echoed off the walls while cheerleaders performed their moves and batons festooned with flags twirled.
The team lined up and the players were announced to shouts and cheers before they were hurried out again to end the event.
“They’re a good team,” Principal Jeffrey Murphy said afterward the event. “’They’re a lot of fun. They work hard.”
Havelock has reached the eastern regional championship game in eight of the last nine seasons, having reaching the state championship game in five of the last seven seasons. Havelock won state championships in 1971, 2011, 2012 and 2013 but lost in the state title game in 1975, 1986 and 2014.
Murphy, not giving in to the brashness of many of today's professional athletes, fell short of predicting a victory for Havelock but said, “We’re going to play our best. We’re going to do the best we can do. I hope we win. We’ve got a really good team.”
The game will be shown on WCTI-Ch. 12 and will be on ESPN radio at 103.9 FM.