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HCHS edges Southern

AHOSKIE – The defense stood tall once again.

Lamar Monger’s key, third-down pass break-up in his own endzone with less than 45 seconds left helped turn away one last scoring threat by Southern Durham as Hertford County held on to defeat the visiting Spartans, 13-6, here last night (Friday) in a non-conference football game.

It marked the second straight week that the Bears defense only surrendered six points. Last Friday, two big interceptions, including one by Monger that he returned for a touchdown, helped HCHS beat Winston-Salem Parkland, 22-6, on the road.

“We faced a very good Southern Durham team here tonight,” first-year HCHS head coach Diego Hasty said after watching his club go to 2-0 on the young season. “Our defense bent, but they didn’t break.

Last night’s win was sweet for Hasty, a former player and coach at Northampton County High School-East. In his 30-plus years of high school football, he’s never been on the winning sideline in Ahoskie. Now, in a twist of fate, Hasty will take his Hertford County troops to his high school alma mater next Friday (Aug. 31) when the Bears square-off against the Rams, ironically coached by former HCHS skipper Greg Watford. That contest is set for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off in Creeksville.

Last night, the Bears and the Spartans battled to a scoreless first quarter, despite the fact that HCHS had a key interception (by Monger) while Southern Durham wasted a scoring chance after a blocked punt.

In the second quarter, the two teams finally got their offenses untracked and each rolled off impressive scoring drives.

Starting at their own 20, the Bears used only four plays to find the endzone with the last six yards covered by a pass from Antonio Vaughan to Monger. The PAT kick failed, leaving the Bears with a 6-0 lead at the 10:32 mark of the second quarter.

The big play on the drive was a 71-yard scamper by Shea Tann. He finished with a game high 84 rushing yards on four carries.

After an exchange of punts, Southern Durham mounted a 91-yard, 10-play drive capped by Lamont Pettiford’s three-yard TD run with 66 seconds left until halftime. The PAT failed, leaving the two clubs deadlocked at 6-6 at intermission.

On their second possession of the second half, the Bears took the lead for-keeps thanks to a five-play, 67-yard scoring drive that ended with Ron Gatling’s 25-yard burst to paydirt. Richard Burns tacked on the PAT, staking the Bears to a 13-6 lead with 4:05 showing on the third quarter clock.

Despite putting two touchdowns on the scoreboard for the night, coach Hasty still sees his offense as a work in progress.

“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with mistakes and penalties,” Hasty noted. “But everything we’re doing that badly right now can be corrected.”

The Bears finished with 216 yards of total offense, 210 of which came on the ground. Gatling was the club’s second-leading ground-gainer with 65 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, HCHS surrendered 202 total yards (110 passing; 92 rushing).

It was the defense that stood tall in the end, especially after Southern Durham fielded a short punt later in the game and returned it to the HCHS 23 yardline. From there, the Spartans could only muster five yards in four plays, three of which were incomplete passes including Monger’s key break-up in the endzone.