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Bears rally past Parkland

AHOSKIE – Last night in a game that was about to be labeled as an upsetting season opener, the Hertford County High School Bears redeemed themselves to make a huge statement. And with three backs totaling over 100 yards each, it was not hard to do.

The Bears, who played host to the Parkland Mustangs on Friday, were down by three touchdowns early in the second quarter, but came back with a purpose, rallying to win their season opener, 50-37. The Bears struggled to keep it close during much of the first half, distancing themselves in point margin as far as 19 points when the Mustangs had a 22-3 lead at 11:39 in the second quarter. It would not be long, however, until the Bears took control of the game.

Bears kicker Richard Burns had put the only points on the board until 3:31 in the second half when Bears running back Ron Gatling ran 13 yards for a touchdown, decreasing the Bears’ deficit to 12 points.

With the score 22-10, the Bears made a pivotal stop on fourth down to force Parkland to turn the ball over with less than two minutes left in the second quarter. The Bears went on to decrease their deficit when Gatling ran 11 yards for yet another touchdown. Despite the Bears’ six point deficit at the end of the first half, QB Antonio Vaughan had rushed for 81 yards, RB Shea Tann had rushed for 28, and Gatling had rushed for 97. Down 22-3 at one point, the Bears appeared to be gaining the momentum. Once the second half began, it was clear they had grasped it.

The second half began with Hertford County receiving the ball, and their ensuing drive would be the last drive of the night the Bears did not score. Hertford County went on to outscore Parkland in the second half 34-15. And the three star backs did not let up either.

In the second half, Vaughan racked up 42 yards, Tann ran for 75, and Gatling notched 55, totaling Vaughan to 123 total rushing yards, Tann to 103, and Gatling to a whopping 152 yards on the ground.

Parkland attempted to make a run at the end of the game, and did make it to the end zone late with 1:16 left to play in the game as Parkland RB Montez Lewis ran seven yards for a touchdown. It was not enough, however, as the Bears sealed the deal with a 50-37 victory at home, outscoring the Mustangs 47-15 since 3:32 in the second quarter.

“We showed a lot of character because we didn’t hang our heads and we kept playing,” said Hertford County head coach Diego Hasty. “We handled a lot of adversity tonight, and we kept working hard even when we were down.”

When asked what the team had to do to prepare for the next game, Hasty said, “On Monday, we are going to be practicing tackling. A lot of tackling.”

The Bears totaled for 439 yards on offense with 404 rushing yards. QB Antonio Vaughan completed four out of nine passes for a total of 35 yards. Hertford County improved from 7 first downs in the first half to 11 in the second, and scored five touchdowns in the second half, improving from only two in the first. Parkland QB Darryl Adams comprised for most of the Mustangs’ offense, throwing for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Bears’ Vaughan and Ivan Coultan each had an interception, both thrown by Adams.

The 1-0 Bears will visit Southern High School in Durham next Friday, August 29.