The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 2, 2012

Albemarle fan gets visit from players

By Justin Jones, Staff Writer

Friday, November 2, 2012 — One loyal fan received about 15 special guests from her favorite local football team Tuesday night.

Seniors from theā€ˆAlbemarle High School football team surprised Barbara Hedrick, and her husband Gene, when they stopped by her home Tuesday evening along with head coach Danny Akins and assistant coach Antwain Hamilton.

They didn’t come empty handed either. Hedrick was given a signed football and card, along with an Albemarle Football cake that was donated from the Albemarle Sweet Shop.  

Hedrick has been unable to attend Albemarle football games for many years, but listens to each game broadcast on WSPC 1010 AM and then watches the replay on the Stanly Community College Channel 21 on Tiime Warner Cable.

As a 1969 graduate of Albemarle High School, she immediately connected to the players and showed her Bulldog pride.

“I’m so proud of you boys,” she said.

“Keep going,” in reference to the boys pending playoff games.

Hedrick asked the players who they will meet in the first round of the NCHSAA single-A playoffs, in which they are the first seed in the Midwest Region and overall West Region.

When the team replied South Robeson, she showed her confidence in their abilities.

“Oh that won’t be no problem,” she said.

The seniors stood in front of her porch after presenting her and her husband with the football, card and cake, getting to know each other and fielding questions from the family.

Both Gene and Barbara asked which players were what number, based of what she hears on the radio and sees on the television replay.

“I don’t know what you’re all doing, but when they (announcers) say Albemarle touchdown, I go WOOOO!” she said, bringing out smiles from the players.

Barbara has been diagnosed with a pulminary disease and because of that condition is unable to leave her house under most circumstances.

Hearing of Hedrick’s devotion to Albemarle football seems to have played a positive effect on the players.

“It’s gonna make us work harder knowing we got loyal fans for us no matter what (their condition),” senior linebacker Jay Dockery said.

“It was a big shock that we had a fan like her,” running back Martinus Crump added.

“It does motivate us a lot to bring back a state championship.”

After it was recommended that Hospice of Stanly County come to the assistance of their family, Gene and Barabara decided that they would make the most of their days together.

Since that time, Gene picks up a fresh cookie or cupcake for his wife each day that the Albemarle Sweet Shop is open.

Until Friday night’s football game, Hedrick can enjoy the cake and memory of her visit with the players.

Maybe by the time she has satisfied her sweet tooth, she’ll be able to sit by the radio for Friday night’s game with football in hand cheering on a Bulldog victory.