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Bertie stuns Aces

WINDSOR n Someone said earlier this week that Bertie High School may be the best 0-5 football team in the state.

Edenton will attest to that fact.

Trailing 28-8 early in the third quarter, the Falcons reeled off 30 points in a shade over 17 minutes here last night (Friday) and stunned the visiting Aces, 38-36, in the Northeastern Coastal Conference opener for both clubs.

The win snapped Bertie's five-game losing skid, but more importantly, placed the Falcons at 1-0 in league play n the part of the schedule that really counts.

Even more amazing is the fact that Bertie, down by six (36-30), won the game with an 84-yard drive that took only 2:58 to complete.

After its defense played a fake field goal perfectly (the Falcons had the receiver double covered as the pass from the Aces kicker, Broc Sutton, sailed out of bounds), Bertie took over on loss of downs at its own 16 yardline with exactly six minutes left on the game clock.

As he had done for the entire second half, Bertie sophomore Kevin Swain put the Falcons running game on his back. Runs of nine, 16 and 22 yards by Swain helped push Bertie to the Aces 32 yardline. From there, senior William Howard, seeing his first action after twisting an ankle on the last play of the first half, sandwiched two runs around an 11-yard scamper by Jairekus Creecy and a five-yard face mask penalty against Edenton to punch in the score. It was Howard's 12-yard dash to the endzone that tied the game at 36-36 with 3:02 left.

After a timeout by Bertie skipper Willie Roberson, Bertie lined-up for the two-point conversion. Quarterback Dee Dee Williams faked a bootleg to the right, drew the defense to him and lofted a soft pass to a wide-open Darius Wesson for the two points that eventually won the game.

Edenton, using a pair of passes from Brian Leary to John Layton (29 yards) and Latrone Robbins (11 yards), got as close as Bertie's 27 yardline on the game's ensuing possession. However, Bertie's defense rose to the challenge as key plays from Kendall Bridgers and Benjamin Cloe kept the Aces at bay.

It was that same defense that got Bertie back in the game after surrendering a 61-yard TD run by Edenton's Linnel Evans on the first snap of the second half that staked the Aces to what then appeared as a safe 28-8 lead.

Again riding the strong legs of Swain, Bertie marched 68 yards in nine plays capped by Bridgers' seven-yard TD run. The conversion failed, leaving Bertie facing a 28-14 deficit with 5:03 left in the third quarter.

On Edenton's first snap after the ensuing kickoff, Monti Holley smacked Leary after a short gain. The ball popped free and Cloe recovered at the Aces 47 yardline.

Three runs by Swain totaling 22 yards set the table for Bertie to score three plays later when Williams, on a bootleg, skirted past two Edenton defenders as he dove for the pylon to complete a five-yard TD run. Bridgers ran in the conversion, trimming Bertie's deficit to 28-22 with 2:16 left on the third quarter clock.

Another big defensive play n a blocked punt by Demetrius Lee n set up Bertie's next score.

Taking over at Edenton's 22 yardline after the block, Bertie took only two plays to score. The TD came on a 22-yard slant pass from Williams to Wesson. Williams ran in the conversion as Bertie led 30-28 with 11:55 left in the game.

Edenton answered with a five-play, 71-yard drive capped by Leary's 33-yard TD strike to Layton. Devontaye Bond ran in the conversion, allowing the Aces to build a 36-30 lead with 9:44 remaining, setting the table for Bertie's thrilling finish.

The visitors, using the arm and legs of Leary, raced out to a 21-8 halftime lead. Leary, who threw for 197 yards and rushed for 61, had a hand in all three, first half TD's. He rushed for one (18 yards), threw for another (15 yards to Sutton) and caught a 15-yard scoring pass from Joseph Westbrook.

Bertie's lone first half score came on a 41-yard TD pass from Williams to Wesson and Bridgers' conversion run.

Swain was the game's leading rusher, accounting for 134 of his 136 yards in the second half. Howard added 89 rushing yards. Williams was 4-of-11 through the airwaves for 82 yards, but he was picked off three times.