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Bears set-up showdown

KILL DEVIL HILLS – The showdown is set.

Hertford County High School held-up their end of the deal with a 28-7 win here last night (Friday) at First Flight High, setting-up next Friday’s (Nov. 2) Northeastern Coastal Conference championship battle in Ahoskie against arch rival Bertie.

Bertie (7-3 overall; 5-0 in conference action) can win the title outright with a win over the Bears (8-2; 4-1). A HCHS victory would leave the two rivals deadlocked for the league’s top spot, but the Bears would gain the number one seed in the tiebreaker.

But before the Bears, who saw their 13-game league winning streak snapped two weeks ago in a 26-25 loss at Pasquotank, could set their sights on Bertie, they had to take care of business last night.

Despite a bit of inconsistency on offense, mostly attributed to a rash of penalties, HCHS was able to get the job done.

The Bears never trailed, jumping out to a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter.

HCHS found the endzone on their second possession of the game, driving 91 yards in only seven plays capped by Michael Stephenson’s 30-yard run. Richard Burns split the uprights on the PAT, staking the Bears to a 7-0 lead at the 2:53 mark of the opening period.

Set-up by Lamar Monger’s 24-yard punt return, the Bears cashed in on a short drive (27 yards in four snaps) where quarterback Antonio Vaughan covered the last 10 yards to paydirt. Burns’ PAT made it a 14-0 lead with just under four minutes left until halftime.

First Flight answered on the game’s ensuing possession. Aided by a pair of 15-yard penalties on HCHS, the Nighthawks drove 64 yards in nine plays capped by J.J. Allen’s 12-yard TD pass to Anders Jacobson with 36 seconds left on the first half clock. Steve Escobar added the PAT kick.

But the Nighthawks experienced a nightmare in the second half, accounting for only 26 total yards (94 for the game) against a stingy HCHS defense.

Meanwhile, the Bears were tallying two insurance touchdowns.

On HCHS’ first possession of the second half, Markee White’s five-yard TD run ended a 57-yard, five-play scoring drive. With Burns booting the PAT, the Bears padded their lead to 21-7 with 4:36 left in the third quarter.

Set-up by a Monger interception, the Bears ended the scoring by driving 64 yards in eight plays capped by Ron Gatling’s four-yard blast to paydirt less than 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. Burns added the PAT.

HCHS finished with 399 total yards, 385 of which came on the ground. Stephenson led that effort with 120 rushing yards on nine attempts. Vaughan added 98 yards on 11 carries.

(Gattis Hodges, the “Voice of the Bears” on WDLZ-FM called in the game results for this story.)