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Bears roar to win

AHOSKIE – Nash County has issued an all points bulletin for Hertford County’s Ron Gatling.

Gatling is a 5’-9”, 162-pound junior running back for the Bears and was last seen headed towards the endzone.

Last night (Friday), Gatling made shredding the Northern Nash High School defense look easy. He ran for 149 yards on 11 carries and scored twice, including the first time he touched the football helping HCHS roll to a 62-20 victory as they remained unbeaten in 2008.

After forcing an early Northern Nash punt, Hertford County set up shop at their own 46-yardline. Second-year coach Diego Hasty decided to give the football to Gatling who scampered 54 yards to paydirt while dodging and dashing through the Knight defense.

The extra point snap was bad forcing quarterback Antonio Vaughan to scoop it up, but he found Gatling in the endzone for the two-point conversion, giving HCHS an 8-0 lead.

The Knights again went three-and-out and were forced to punt. This time the Bears got the football at their own 36-yardline. After advancing the football to the Northern Nash 43-yardline thanks to a penalty and rushes by Vaughan and Shea Tann, Gatling again took the handoff and headed to paydirt. This time the kick failed as Richard Burns continues to use his left foot due to a strained right quad, but the Bears led 14-0.

HCHS forced another Northern Nash punt in the first quarter and took over on the Knights’ 30-yardline. From there, Vaughan and Gatling moved the football to the 21. Facing a fourth down, Vaughan intentionally drew Northern offsides to pick up the first down.

The junior quarterback then found Michael Stephenson on a 14-yard pickup before diving in from two yards out himself on the next play. Burns added the conversion and HCHS led 21-0.

Northern Nash punted again on the last play of the first quarter, but the second period was no better for the visiting team as HCHS again took the football down and scored.

Vaughan connected with Darnell Vaughan on an eight-yard completion and then Tann picked up four yards down to the 25-yardline. From there, Vaughan found Stephenson on the touchdown pass which, coupled with Burns’ kick, made it 28-0 with 10:56 to play in the second quarter.

Northern took over on their own 45-yardline on the next possession, but fumbled the football away. Stephen Hall picked up the loose pigskin on the Northern Nash 41-yardline.

After losing yardage on the first play from scrimmage, the Bears picked up a quick first down thanks to Vaughan’s completion to Ivan Coultan. Vaughan then carried the ball for 15 and two yards and Gatling moved the ball another yard.

Facing third and goal, Vaughan connected with Darnell Vaughan on a five-yard scoring strike. Burns added the PAT and the Bears led 35-0, which would remain the score through the end of the first half.

Unfortunately for the Bears, their big first half came with a cost. Stephenson was taken off the field after helping the Bears block a Northern Nash field goal attempt as the first half drew to a close. The extent of his injury is not known, but he did not return to the game.

Northern Nash finally found the endzone during their first drive of the second quarter. After recovering a Hertford County fumble, the Knights Mark McCaddey went 70 yards to paydirt with 9:35 to go in the quarter, trimming the HCHS lead to 35-6.

The Bears wasted no time answering when they put together a four-play, 64-yard drive which was highlighted by a36-yard run from Markee White. Vaughan finished the drive himself, scoring on a 14-yard jaunt with 7:31 to play. The kick failed, but Hertford County led 41-6.

The Knights answered on the ensuing on their next drive when Rashard Hedgepeth went 73 yards for a score. Tavis Richardson connected with Trayvon Banks on the conversion to make it 41-14.

The Bears put any thoughts of a comeback away when they scored again in the third quarter. After driving 23 yards to midfield, the Bears scored on a 50-yard Vaughan run. Burns added the conversion and HCHS led 48-14 with 15 seconds to play in the third quarter.

Tann scored for the Bears early in the fourth quarter on a 16-yard run while Jamel Draughan scored from 10 yards out with 6:48 to play. Burns added both conversions to make it 62-14.

Overall, the Bears had 485 yards of total offense. Of that total, 401 came on the ground and 84 through the air.

In addition to Gatling’s 149 yards, the Bears got 129 from Vaughan (on 14 carries) and 62 from Tann (on nine carries).

Vaughan completed seven of his nine pass attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

The win improved the Bears to a perfect 4-0 for the young season and sets up a showdown with fellow undefeated Rocky Mount next week in Nash County.