There may be some who recall the old PAC 6 – 4A conference and hard fought battles between the Vance Vikings and the Northern Durham Knights at Veterans Field in downtown Henderson or at Durham County Stadium. Those two teams hooked up for some great high school football games back in the 1980’s. While the Vikings are no longer with us, their spirit remains in the Vance County Vipers and they will once again tangle with the Northern Durham Knights in Durham on Sept. 24th. It will be the Vipers first game since defeating Durham-Riverside almost two weeks ago where, unfortunately, they were exposed to Covid shuttering the school’s football program for two weeks. The good news is that even though there was exposure, none of the Viper’s players or coaches tested positive.
Vance County Head Football Coach Wilbur Pender said today on SportsTalk with Trey Snide, “This week has been something else. It’s different. It’s weird. When you have football in the fall and have to sit on your hands for two weeks you get a bit antsy.”
While the team has been quarantined coaches have stayed in touch via phone and computer. Coach Pender said he and his staff check in on the players to make sure they eat right, get in workouts instead of playing video games and stay on top of their school work. “Players are chomping at the bit,” Pender added about the chance to return to action. However, Pender also noted that the health and well being of players and staff is the top priority. They won’t have to wait much longer as the quarantine ends Friday and the students return to school and practice on Monday to begin preparations for the Knights.
They will have their work cut out for them too. The Knights boast several offensive line men on the northside of 300 pounds and will run hard at the Vipers. The Knights are 1 -2 having been beaten by Scotland Co. 52 – 0 and losing 56 – 6 against Knightdale. There only victory was a 25 – 23 win against Franklinton.
Meanwhile, the Vipers put their 2 – 1 record on the line but Coach Pender feels good about his chances. Effective execution on offense, allowing a good mix of run and pass should put the Vipers where they want to be against Northern Durham. “Any play can become a home run play,” Pender said.
The Vipers will play the Knights on Friday Sept. 24th in Durham with kick off at 7pm.
Remember to listen to the Live Play by Play on WIZS Radio if you are unable to attend the game.