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Eagles ready for rare playoff appearance

LASKER – First-year varsity head football coach Collin Sneed has the Northeast Academy Eagles right where he wants them – in the state playoffs.

&uot;It feels like our mission is not over,&uot; said Sneed.

&uot;This week I asked the team how many people thought we would still be practicing after last Friday,&uot; he added. &uot; The team thought they would, but the world thought they wouldn’t.&uot;

Sneed’s Eagles will make their first appearance in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state playoffs in at least 20 years.

While no one interviewed could pinpoint the last time Northeast Academy has made the playoffs, the general consensus is that it hasn’t happened since 1986.

The Eagles enter Friday night’s quarterfinals seeded sixth.

They will play at Halifax Academy, the number three seed, whom they lost to last Friday night.

Will Northeast be able to pull the upset?

&uot;We’re going to execute the plays we didn’t last Friday night,&uot; said Sneed.

&uot;We’re not going to do anything different, no new wrinkles.

We’re just going to get right what we got wrong.&uot;

He continued, &uot;We need big plays from the coaches.

We have to get together and put together a game plan to win this game.&uot;

Northeast finished the regular season with three wins, but it didn’t end the way Sneed envisioned.

&uot;We had a couple of mental lapses and team issues,&uot; he said. &uot;I think we’ve solved those.

All year we’ve been trying to show the kids how to be a team and I think they are grasping the concept.&uot;

&uot;The second half of the Halifax game they came out and looked like a team,&uot; added Sneed.

Northeast players started learning the playbook and conditioning in June, a factor that has both helped and hurt the Eagles.

&uot;It helped because they learned as much as they could, but at the same time players are getting burned out,&uot; he said.

The chance at a state championship may be enough to cure the burn out.

&uot;We’re taking it one step at a time, one quarter at a time.

&uot;We have to win each quarter,&uot; he said. &uot;We are 12 quarters from winning a state championship.&uot;