Vikings ready for the big stagePublished 7:04pm Monday, November 26, 2012
RALEIGH — ’Tis the season for holiday wish lists and at the top of Robert Cody’s is a fire truck – and not the type made by Hess.
Upon winning the NCHSAA 1-A state championship against North Duplin in 2007, Cody and his Vikings returned from N.C. State’s Carter-Finely Stadium and were escorted through Martin County all the way back to Plymouth via the Fire Dept. For Cody, the honor was a memory that will last a lifetime and it is one that he would like to relive this Saturday when Plymouth (14-1) faces defending state champs Murphy (13-2) in this year’s state championship matchup.
“The feeling we had coming back from N.C. State with the fire truck picking us up at Martin County and escorting us back to Plymouth will never leave my mind,” Cody said. “That’s a great thought, and it’s the one thought I want to keep in my mind. I would like to have that happen again. I want this kids to have that. Remember, these kids weren’t around to see it the last time.”
Ironically, this year’s state title game will also be Carter-Finley Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. and will be streamed live at News14.com. For ticket information contact Plymouth High School at 793-5880.
The 2007 state appearance was the first one for Cody, who is now in his 28th year as the Vikings’ football coach, and he said that this time around he would take a little extra time to soak it all in.
“I think the No. 1 thing I’m really going to do is enjoy this week,” Cody said during Monday’s press conference held at N.C. State. “I enjoyed the last time, but to be honest with you I never really thought I would get back. But, to get-to-get back and to know the feeling you can have just to be here and to bring these kids here is great.
“When you run on the field on Saturday morning, it’s just an atmosphere that you can never get on any other court or in any other sport. I think that’s what I’m going to try to convey to the kids. I just love it.”
While the atmosphere is great, it can be overwhelming to a team that has not been there before. Playing in a college stadium can takes some adjusting too, as does the intense atmosphere and added media coverage.
While it’s been five years since the Vikings football team has been on this kind of stage, it’s been less than 12 months since the boys’ basketball team has played in front of the bright lights.
Last year, the Plymouth hoops team played in the 1-A title game at the North Carolina University’s Dean E. Smith Center and a majority of those athletes were underclassmen that are also on the football team.
Cody is hoping that experience will translate into this week’s game.
“The leaders on this ball club have been here, and that’s a great thought,” Cody said. “These kids have been in the ‘arena’. Win or lose, they were in there. So the next time when you go back the bigness of the ‘arena’ isn’t quite as big, and I think that’s what they’re going to find out this time around.”