Bears blank Bertie

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2004

WINDSOR – In an average high school football game, both teams may combine for 90-or-so plays. Of all those snaps from center, two plays defined Hertford County’s 7-0 win at rival Bertie here last night (Friday).

LaMarcus Bond’s 63-yard, second quarter interception return for the game’s only score was solidified by a crucial 48-yard late game run from Jaquin Sessoms that allowed HCHS to move from the shadow of their own endzone as the Bears held on to end six years of frustrating losses to their arch rivals.

The win, Hertford County’s sixth in their last seven outings, allowed the Bears to finish the regular season at 6-5 overall and 6-1 in the Northeastern Coastal Conference. That’s good for a second-place league finish, guaranteeing the Bears a first round, state play-off game at home next Friday against an opponent that will be named later today.

For Bertie, the Falcons completed their season at 3-8 overall and 2-5 in the league.

On a cold Friday night in front of a packed house, it was the defensive effort from both teams that heated-up this rivalry. Bertie finished with 146 yards of total offense and turned the ball over four times. HCHS mustered 156 yards; suffered a turnover, and were flagged 14 times for 140 yards.

The Falcons had their chances on offense, moving into enemy territory on six different occasions, but the HCHS defenders were up to the challenge each time. The biggest of those scoring opportunities came in the fourth quarter where the Falcons used the running of Jarekus Creecy and William Howard to drive from their own 36 to the HCHS 19. But the Bears defense stiffened as key plays from Cedric Fields, Joel Britt and Chris Stanley forced the Falcons to surrender possession on loss of downs at the 11.

Britt led the Bears with nine tackles. Fields finished with five stops and a sack. Tydreke Powell chipped in seven tackles.

With its offense struggling against a Bertie defense, led by Devin Saunders with eight tackles and seven stops each from Clarence Leary and Kendall Bridgett, the Bears needed a lift late in the game to preserve the win. That lift came from Sessoms who, on a third-and-16 play from his own 20 yardline with three minutes left in the game, rambled 48 yards to move the chains. HCHS eventually pushed the ball to the one, losing possession on loss of downs, but left Bertie with only 1.9 seconds to pull off a miracle that never materialized.