Havelock game a homecoming game for J.H. Rose head coach Will Bland

Bland faces high school alma mater and former O.C. in state playoffs
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:17 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It’s a homecoming night in Havelock, well sort of. It is for J.H. Rose head coach Will Bland. He played for Havelock in high school. His Rampants meet the Rams tonight in the state playoffs third round.

“It is always fun going home to see everybody down there and talking to them and stuff,” says Rose Head Coach Will Bland, “This has more stake than it had in the regular season you know. Now it is you lose you go home, you win you advance so we have to be in that mindset.”

For Will Bland and his J.H. Rose football team there will be no secrets against Havelock.

“Coach King will probably put in some extra wrinkles in there,” says Bland.

Their former offensive coordinator Caleb King is now the O.C. for the Rams. The connections are everywhere.

“Their whole staff I know Coach King, the Wootens, Frazier I know the whole staff well. Coach King knows our whole staff members and some of our kids so we are very familiar with each other,” says Bland, “We know what each other has, what type of talent we got so I think it will be a fun game and the chess match will be real fun.”

Different for the players too. Many just played for King en route to their state championship appearance two seasons ago.

“Going against coach King, he knows us, we know him,” says Rose running back Jameer Roach, “He’s a guru at what he do so I give him his props.”

just three weeks ago the two teams met in Havelock further adding to the familarity. The Rams won 35-7 the final week of the regular season. But a few weeks of playoff experience changes things a little.

“Road warriors coach Bland tells us all the time we got to stick as a team,” says Roach, “We got to stay together. We got to lift each other up.”

“I think a lot of stuff has gelled for us, a lot of people have stepped up,” says Bland, “You know hey it could be our season continue or we got to pack up our stuff. Hopefully we got the kids ready to perform better this go round.”