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Streak snapped at Bertie High

WINDSOR – On a night when the Bertie Falcons honored the 20th anniversary of three of the school’s long-standing offensive football records, one record they cherish came crashing down: their streak of consecutive conference wins.

Northeastern and Bertie entered the night tied for the Northeastern Coastal Conference lead at 2-0. But the Eagles used big plays in the kicking and passing game and shocked the capacity Bertie Homecoming crowd with a 30-18 win that stopped the Falcons’ three-game win streak, and sent them to their first league loss since 2006.

“We gave ’em good field position all night,” said a disappointed Falcons coach Tony Hoggard in the locker-room afterward. “We just didn’t have the aggressiveness we had been building toward the last three games.”

What Northeastern did not do was stop the vaunted Bertie running game as senior tailback La’Manuel Murphy led the Bertie attack with 209 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown while fellow running back Raymond Hooker finished with 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Bertie fans had hardly settled into their seats good after the National Anthem before Northeastern struck with a quick score: receiver Donte White took the opening kickoff on his own 12-yardline and sprinted down the right sideline past Bertie defenders to the end zone for a score and in just 13 ticks of the clock, the Falcons were down 7-0.

Bertie crossed midfield on their first possession, but were forced to punt and a bad snap and botched kick gave Northeastern excellent field position at the Bertie 35.

A sack by Bertie’s Travis Bond on third down pushed the Eagles back to the 37-yardline before Northeastern coach Antonio Moore called timeout to set up a play on fourth-and-12. On the next snap, quarterback Shane Paris hit White on a post route for his second score of the night and the point-after had Northeastern ahead 14-0.

The two teams exchanged fumbles on the damp field in the next two series’ before Bertie took advantage of the final miscue when Murphy recovered a second Eagle fumble at the Bertie 14 allowing the Falcons to finally break through for their first score.

Four plays after the recovery, Hooker crashed in over the left side, but the two-point conversion failed and Bertie trailed 14-6.

It was the same score later in the second quarter when the Falcons went 84 yards in nine plays, highlighted by a 28-yard run by Hooker, and a four-yard Hooker scamper into the end-zone to trail 14-12. This time, the Falcons opted to pass for the two-point conversion, but Northeastern got a hand on the floater from Torrence Mourning to Keon Moore and the incompletion left the score 14-12 with under five minutes until halftime.

Northeastern answered the Bertie score with a scoring drive of their own just before the break and lead it 21-12 at the half.

Bertie opened the second half with a ground-pounding drive that was stopped on fourth down at the Northeastern 30. The Falcons defense held the Eagles, forcing them to punt, and then went 65 yards in 10 plays for Bertie’s third score of the night on a one-yard Murphy run and despite missing their third two-point conversion of the night, they only trailed by three, 21-18, with two minutes left in the third quarter.

But that was as close as the Falcons would come. Northeastern scored one final touchdown on a fourth quarter drive, and collected a safety when Bertie misplayed a bad snap in the end-zone and took the twelve-point win.

“We just have to go back to work,” said a determined Hoggard. “All we can do is win the rest of our games and see what happens.”

The Falcons take to the road next week as they head to Currituck County High School for another Northeastern Coastal Conference matchup.