Local News

Old-Time Football Earns Western Harnett National Attention

Posted August 26, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Sometimes 'old school' turns out to be pretty cool. The Western Harnett County football team is doing things the old-fashioned way this season, and now they are getting national attention for it.

This is sort of a Cinderella story. This football team has not won many games in the past, until it made a change last year. Now, the players are winning games and they are in the national spotlight.

It is Friday night in rural Harnett County. The Western Harnett Eagles are at home for their season opener against the Union Pines Vikings.

The Eagles and coach Travis Conner have a few jitters -- but not just from the game. The team will be featured onESPN's"NFL Films Presents."

The Eagles are being spotlighted because they run the old Notre Dame box formation; no one else does.

"I understand they won like 19 or 22 games in the last 20 years. Last year they won nine. That's not coincidence, that's got to be the head coach, the kids he's brought around to his way of thinking and a prehistoric offense that he really knows. So I thought this was a fabulous story," says Doug Stewart, an NFL film producer.

Conner has known about ESPN's visit since July, but he just told the players last week so they would not get too worked up.

The players will do their best to stay focused, but what can you expect from these teens? This is national television!

"I'm happy, I'm excited, I'm nervous. What do you expect? I'm in high school and this is ESPN," says senior quarterback Roger Pugh.

The segment will air on "NFL Films Presents" on ESPN sometime in October or November.