Big play Bears knock off Edenton

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2003

AHOSKIE – The two top contenders for Manteo’s Northeastern Coastal Conference crown did battle here Tuesday night in a contest that looked much like a heavyweight fight with each team landing huge blows.

Hertford County’s Bears slugged their way to a 19-0 margin and held off a late-charging Edenton squad to move to 2-0 inside the league with a 19-16 victory.

While both teams hit blows that rocked the other, neither could deliver a knockout punch until Brandon Long picked off a Brian Swicegood pass with 1:30 left to seal the Bears’ victory.

Maybe the biggest blow landed was when the Aces drove deep into Hertford County territory in the third quarter after recovering a Bears fumble.

After driving 11 yards, Edenton missed a pair of scoring opportunities when a wide-open receiver dropped a third down pass in the endzone forcing a field goal attempt.

At that point, Tremaine Leary landed a huge blow in this battle when he blocked the field goal and stopped the Edenton drive.

Edenton bounced back, however, to make it a tough contest when Lawrence returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Bears with the 19-16 margin.

The Bears tried to seal the victory, driving 62 yards on 10 plays and reaching the Edenton five yardline, but the Aces held HCHS on fourth and three and took possession of the pigskin with 6:02 to play in the contest.

The Aces come out with Luke Williford running the ball to pick up a first down at their own 17-yardline.

From there, Edenton used a pair of four yard runs by Brandon Hyman and an HCHS penalty to pick up a first down at the their own 30-yardline.

Three plays later, the Aces faced a fourth-and-seven, but Swicegood found Hyman with a nine-yard pickup to move the chains.

Two plays later Long snagged the Swicegood aerial to seal the HCHS win.

Early on it was all Hertford County as the Bears built a 19-point lead in the first two quarters of play.

HCHS scored on their first possession when Reggie Wiggins started things off with a 25-yard kickoff return to their own 48-yardline.

Long then connected with Leon Eason on a 42-yard pass completion to move the ball down to the 10-yardline. Qwenton Valentine then scampered the last 10 yards to paydirt to give HCHS an early 6-0 advantage.

Lorenzo Benthall then picked off a Swicegood aerial and returned it 21 yards to set up the Bears’ second touchdown.

Valentine and Wiggins each had a runs of over 10 yards on the drive before Valentine punched in the score from seven yards out to give HCHS a 12-0 advantage with 5:51 still to play in the first quarter.

Both teams turned the ball over on the next possession, with Edenton fumbling the ball away and Hertford County throwing an interception.

Following an Aces’ punt, Hertford County setup shop on their own six-yardline. The Bears wouldn’t be denied, however, as Benthall, Wiggins and Valentine each carried the ball to move the ball to their own 28-yardline.

Wiggins then broke off his fourth touchdown run of over 70 yards in less than a week, scampering 72 yards for the score. Clay Thompson added the point after touchdown

to give Hertford County a 19-0 lead.

Edenton was far from done, however, as they answered on their next possession, driving 48 yards on nine plays for their first score of the night.

The key play on the drive was a fourth-and-eight completion from Swicegood to Hyman that was good for 26 yards. Hyman broke a 15-yard run to paydirt on the next play which, coupled with Swicegood’s kick, cut the Bears’ advantage to 19-7.

The Bears were held to three-and-out on their next series, giving the Aces a chance to score before the half.

A pass interference call against the Bears on third down kept the Edenton drive alive and moved the ball to the HCHS seven-yardline.

From there, Edenton gained three yards before being whistled for a false start. The penalty moved the ball back to the nine-yardline from where they were forced to settle for a Swicegood field goal.

On the night, Wiggins led the Bears with 172 yards on 17 carries while Valentine checked in with 59 yards on 10 carries and Benthall with 55 yards on 14 carries.

The Bears, who now stand 6-1 overall and 2-0 inside the league, will travel to Pasquotank Friday night where they will look to extend their conference win streak.