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HCHS falls to RM

AHOSKIE – One would think that with a 100-yard field, football would not be considered a “game of inches.”

But that old saying is so true.

Hertford County came-up a half the length of a football short of moving the sticks on a critical fourth down snap inside the 15 yardline in the third quarter, a play that kept the momentum on the Rocky Mount sideline as the visiting Gryphons knocked off the Bears, 32-16, here last night (Friday) in second round action of the NCHSAA Class 3-A state play-offs.

The loss ended the Bears season at 11-2 overall. Both losses came at the hands of Rocky Mount, who edged HCHS 24-22 during a regular season clash back in September.

Trailing 20-10 at halftime, the second-seeded Bears seemingly turned the game’s momentum on the second play of the third quarter when LaQuan Tann scampered 75 yards for an apparent touchdown. Apparent is the key word here as the score was wiped out due to an illegal block in the back at the HCHS 31 yardline.

But the Bears dug deep and overcame that critical mistake with a nice drive highlighted by two key runs by Travis Greene (30 yards) and Danny Dembry (23 yards).

HCHS penetrated the red zone where they eventually faced a 4th-and-2 play from the 13. Dembry kept the ball on the option and a hole opened for the HCHS senior quarterback. However, it closed quickly and he was tackled just inches short of the first down marker.

To make matters worse, Rocky Mount then drove 88 yards in 10 plays capped by Jerome Jefferson’s three-yard run. The two-point conversion run was stopped, but the Gryphons, instead of possibly nursing a three-point lead if Dembry’s fourth down run had moved the chains, were now up 26-10 at the 2:56 mark of the third quarter.

Both teams scored once over the final 12 minutes of play.

Hertford County drew to within 26-16 with 9:06 left in the game where, following a Lamar Monger interception, the Bears drove 44 yards in five plays capped by Rayshawn Mercer’s seven-yard run. The conversion pass failed.

Rocky Mount, who as the #10 seed pulled off their second win over a higher seeded team in as many weeks, put the icing on the cake when Demetric Marshall scooted 54 yards to paydirt to close out the scoring.

It was Marshall who was a one-man wrecking crew for the visitors. He ran for a game-high 290 yards on 25 carries. Two of those carries produced first quarter touchdowns for Rocky Mount as the scatback scrambled 14 yards and 28 yards to help put the Gryphons up 14-0 by the end of the first quarter.

But Hertford County refused to surrender.

Driving 72 yards on seven plays, the Bears scored on the first snap of the second quarter on Dembry’s three-yard run. Michael Burton’s PAT trimmed the HCHS deficit in-half at 14-7.

The HCHS defense stepped-up on the game’s next possession when Andre Lyles made a leaping interception at his own one yardline.

On the next snap, Dembry ran the option and turned upfield on an 82 yard run. But the Bears couldn’t reach the endzone and settled for a 32-yard field goal by Burton as HCHS pulled to within 14-10 at the 6:33 mark of the second quarter.

But the Bears couldn’t stop Marshall and Company as Rocky Mount answered with an 85-yard drive. Marshall received the scoring honors, finding paydirt from four yards out. The PAT kick failed, leaving Rocky Mount with a 20-10 halftime lead.

Score by Quarters

Rocky Mt.

14-6-6-6

HCHS

0-10-0-6

Rocky Mt. n Demetric Marshall, 14-yard run (Nick Hahula kick), 9:54; 1st

Rocky Mt. n Marshall, 28-yard run (Hahula kick), 3:36; 1st

HCHS n Danny Dembry, 3-yard run (Michael Burton kick), 11:54; 2nd

HCHS n Burton, 32-yard field goal, 6:33; 2nd

Rocky Mt. n Marshall, 4-yard run (kick failed), 3:12; 2nd

Rocky Mt. n Jerome Jefferson, 3-yard run (run failed), 2:56; 3rd

HCHS n Rayshawn Mercer, 7-yard run (pass failed), 9:06; 4th

Rocky Mt. n Marshall, 54-yard run (kick failed), 7:06; 4th

Rushing

HCHS n Danny Dembry: 11-157, Rayshawn Mercer: 12-97, Travis Greene: 10-47, LaQuan Tann: 10-23

Rocky Mt. n Demetric Marshall: 25-290, Jerome Jefferson: 14-140

Passing

HCHS n Danny Dembry: 5-11-1, 49 yards

Rocky Mt. n Jason Tyler: 3-8-2, 73 yards

Receiving

HCHS n Rayshawn Mercer: 4-40, Travis Greene: 1-9

Rocky Mt. n Anthony Smith: 1-41, Jacobi Jenkins: 1-21, Jerome Jefferson: 1-11