Hertford County roars past NCHS-East
AHOSKIE – Hertford County scored like old-time Chicago Democrats voters – early and often.
The Bears jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and set it on cruise control to beat neighboring Northampton County High School – East 60-7 here Thursday night in a non-conference football game. The contest was moved up 24 hours due to the threat of Tropical Storm Hanna.
“I think we played with consistency and kept it business-like,” said HCHS skipper Diego Hasty. “We just played a normal game. I’m glad some other kids had the opportunity to play.”
After forcing a Northampton-East punt early in the first quarter, Hertford County set up shop at their own 37-yardline. The Bears drove to the one-yardline, but were turned away on fourth down by the Rams’ defense.
East couldn’t get the ball any further than the 10-yardline and got off only a 19-yard punt, allowing HCHS to set up shop at the 29-yardline. After a five-yard run by Ron Gatling, Hertford County quarterback Antonio Vaughan scampered 24 yards to paydirt. Richard Burns, kicking with his left foot due to a strained right quad, booted the PAT to give the Bears a 7-0 lead with 6:04 to play in the first quarter.
The Rams went three-and-out on their next series, allowing Hertford County to take over possession on their own 45-yardline. Vaughan found Ivan Coultan on a seven-yard pass play before scampering six yards himself.
After a 10-yard holding penalty, Gatling had back-to-back gains of six and 31 yards to give the Bears a first-and-goal from the five. Markee White moved the ball to the two and then Gatling punched it in. Burns added his second PAT of the night to give the Bears a 14-0 advantage with 31 seconds to play.
On the next drive, HCHS blocked a Northampton-East punt. Antonio Campbell’s block gave the Bears the football at the Rams’ 28-yardline.
After a pair of short gains, Vaughan again connected with Coultan, this time on a 23-yard scoring strike, and the Bears led 20-0 with 9:49 to play.
Special teams continued to plaque the Rams on the next possession when the ball was fumbled on the snap and Quinton Joyner fell on the loose pigskin in the endzone for another Hertford County touchdown. The kick failed, leaving the Bears with a commanding 26-0 lead with 7:34 to play in the second quarter.
The Rams mounted a drive on the back of sophomore running back Hyshawn Hewitt, who picked up back-to-back gains of 14 and 18 yards. The Rams eventually moved the football to the HCHS 44, but were again forced to punt.
The two teams exchanged punts before the end of the half, leaving the Bears ahead 26-0 at the intermission.
The Bears scored on their first drive in the second half. Gatling picked up 13 yards on the first play before Vaughan scampered 36 yards to put the football first-and-goal at the two-yardline.
Gatling punched it in from there and Burns added the PAT to make it 33-0 with 11:16 still to play in the third quarter.
The next HCHS score came on defense when Larry Raynor stepped in front of an East pass and returned it 50 yards for a score. Burns again added the extra point and Hertford County claimed a 40-0 advantage.
After a short drive for the Rams, special teams again cost the visiting team. The snap on the punt sailed over the punter’s head and recovered at the 23-yardline.
After three running plays, Vaughan connected with Michael Stephenson on a 19-yard touchdown pass. Burns added the conversion and the Bears led 47-0 with 5:38 to play in the third quarter.
Northampton-East fumbled the ball away on the next series and the Bears drove 64 yards on seven plays capped by a Shea Tann four-yard TD that made the score 53-0 with 2:07 left on the third quarter clock.
The Rams finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter when they capped a 50-yard, five-play drive. Hewitt had the score on a 16-yard touchdown scamper. The kick was added by Keshawn Gaskins and the score was 53-7.
Hertford County’s last score came with 5:26 to go when freshman running back Aaron Thomas scored on a 15-yard run. Burns added the PAT and HCHS established the 60-7 final.
The Bears had 412 yards of total offense, the bulk of which came on the ground as they had 43 carries for 336 yards. Vaughan was the leader of that group, carrying the ball 10 times for 102 yards while Gatling carried seven times for 56 yards.
Northampton-East was held to 145 yards, all on the ground. Hewitt had 102 yards rushing on 19 attempts.
The win boosts the Bears to 3-0 for the young season and prepares them for next week’s visit from Northern Nash.
“It feels good, but it’s still a long season,” Hasty said of being spotless thus far.
“There are still important games coming up, but we preach one game at a time.”