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Mistakes prove costly

WINDSOR – Mistakes, mistakes and mistakes.

The story of Friday night’s non-conference gridiron matchup between Bertie High School and their visitors from Pitt County was simple early-season mistakes.

During J.H. Rose’s 35-20 win over the Falcons, there were four lost fumbles, more than a dozen penalties, a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a heart-breaking kickoff return for a touchdown.

The tempo for the game was set on the first series when Rose fumbled the football and Bertie’s Chris Richardson scooped up the loose pigskin and returned it 40 yards for the Falcons’ first score of the game. The conversion failed, but Bertie gained a 6-0 lead.

The visiting Rampants wasted little time answering. They took over on their own 10-yardline after mishandling the kickoff, but set sail on a six-play, 90-yard drive that would give them the lead.

Senior quarterback Jordan Staton started the drive with a 12-yard gain on first down. Jamal Satchell then did the bulk of the work to move the ball to the Rampant 35-yardline.

From that point, Staton connected with Satchell on a 65-yard scoring strike to even the score. Warren Harvey added the PAT to give Rose the lead for good at 7-6.

After an exchange of possessions, Rose got the ball back at the Falcon 34-yardline thanks to a 17-yard punt return by Shawaun Wilkes. The major damage on the drive came from Staton’s feet as he scampered 17 yards on a third-and-5 play to give his team the first down.

Satchell then struck paydirt from five yards out with just 41 ticks left on the first quarter clock. Harvey again added the conversion, making it 14-6.

Rose had an opportunity to add to their lead late in the first half when they recovered a fumble at the Bertie 29-yardline. They drove to the five and then attempted a field goal, but it was blocked by La’Manuel Murphy.

Unfortunately a quick three-and-out left Rose enough time to score before the intermission.

Taking over on the 36-yardline of the Falcons, the Rampants connected back-to-back passes to move the ball to the 13-yardline. After a penalty, Staton connected with Dontrell Harris on a 15-yard touchdown strike. The conversion failed, but Rose led 20-6.

The Falcons cut the lead to 20-15 with 6:07 left to play in the third quarter when Torrence Mourning, who went in at quarterback during the second half, rolled out and scored from nine yards out.

Murphy added the conversion to cut the lead to 20-14.

Unfortunately for Bertie, Satchell took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a score to push the lead up for Rose. Staton connected with Harris for the conversion to make it 28-14.

The Falcons cut the lead to eight late in the contest when they drove 47 yards on seven plays capped by a 36-yard score from Mourning to Jeremiah Harrell. The conversion run failed leaving the score 28-20 with 2:56 to play.

Rose recovered the onsides kick and then scored a late score to secure the victory.

Bertie (0-2) will travel to New Bern next week for another non-conference battle.