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Gates faces tough 07 By Thadd White 07/17/2007 GATESVILLE – Gates County High School#8217;s varsity football team has a laundry list of challenges. And that#8217;s before the Red Barons take a look at

GATESVILLE – Gates County High School’s varsity football team has a laundry list of challenges.

And that’s before the Red Barons take a look at the 2007 schedule.

During the upcoming gridiron campaign, the Barons will not only adjust to a new coach in first year skipper Matt Biggy, but they will also transition to the Tar-Roanoke Conference. In addition, the Barons won’t play a single home football game this year.

Due to construction at GCHS, the Barons will not be able to use their home football field. That means they will be on the road, most likely using the football field at Hertford County High School in Ahoskie on Saturday afternoons for their home games.

One thin that’s playing in favor of the Red Barons is their move to the T-RC. That is because Biggy is a veteran of the league, having coached there the past two seasons at Northampton-East.

“I did know a lot about the league,” Biggy mused. “That was before all the coaching changes. I don’t know about schemes, but I will still know the personnel.”

The Barons, coming off a 1-10 season in 2006, will be looking to rebound this year.

“Getting back on track is big,” the new coach said. “They didn’t win but one game last year. We have been working out and trying to make sure we have a better season.”

Gates County opens the season at Edenton, the only team they defeated a season ago. Despite the Aces’ sub-par 2006, Biggy said he knew they would be a formidable opponent.

“They had a rough season last year, but they always have talent and speed,” he said. “There’s no reason not to think they’ll bounce back.”

Biggy also said he knew Currituck, the Barons’ destination in week two, would be much better.

“They won five games last year and, considering their conference, that is impressive,” the coach said. “They are a team on the rise and have a lot of players back.”

The new head man at Gates is also familiar with week four opponent Roanoke High School. He faced the Redskins the past two seasons while working at Northampton-East.

“Roanoke is always a solid football team,” he said.

Biggy admitted he would be working to learn more about week three opponent Pasquotank County High School, who will be making the trip to Gates County and Perquimans, the opponent in week five.

After that non-conference slate, the Red Barons will open the 2007 Tar-Roanoke Conference season with Weldon High School, the place Biggy left to take the Gates County job.

“I guess it’s got to happen sometime,” he said. “I think there were some people who were disappointed I left Weldon, but there are some that will be fired up about that game.”

After that, Biggy will meet Northampton County High School n East, where he coached for two seasons.

“I already had one kid tell me he was happy for me, but they were going to score 100 points on us,” Biggy laughed. “I worked with kids at both schools and they were great. I’ll be pulling for them anytime I’m not playing them.”

After that, the Barons will host Northampton-West and then take an open date before hosting Southeast Halifax for Homecoming Night 2007.

The Red Barons close the season on the road at North Edgecombe and Louisburg.

“There will be some growing pains,” Biggy admitted. “We’ll have to go through some adjustment with a new offense and a new defense.

“Hopefully, we’ll get it together as we go,” he continued. “The kids seem pretty excited about it.”