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Season draws to a close for HCHS

AHOSKIE – All good things must come to an end.

Sadly, that end came last night for Hertford County High School’s varsity football team.

Despite a valiant effort, Eastern Alamance edged the Bears 15-13 in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs.

The Bears lost starting quarterback Antonio Vaughan on the second offensive play for the Bears due to an injury. He did not return. Sophomore Petey Boone played well in Vaughan’s absence, leading the Bears to a pair of scoring drives, but an Eastern Alamance field goal after a questionable fumble call turned out to be the difference.

With the Bears holding a 7-6 lead and driving, Markee White was tackled at the HCHS 42-yardline on a first down play. Two officials pointed to the ground, signifying White was down, but after a conference the referee signaled a fumble that had been recovered by the Eagles.

After giving up a 24-yard pass play from Lamar Ivey to Dylan Hair on the next play, the HCHS defense stiffened and forced a 33-yard field goal which was made by sophomore Josh Henderson.

The Bears broke a 48-yard run late in the quarter to get to the 12, but had to settle for a hurried field goal that went wide left, leaving Eastern Alamance with a 9-7 lead at the intermission.

After withstanding an Eastern Alamance threat that got as close as the HCHS 24-yardline, Hertford County’s Dontez Piland picked off an Ivey pass and returned it 29 yards to the Eagles’ 42.

After a one-yard gain by White, Ron Gatling rolled off runs of 12, five and six yards to get the football to the 18. From there, White rumbled 18 yards for the score with 11:53 to play in the contest. The extra point was blocked, but HCHS had regained the lead at 13-9.

Eastern Alamance answered quickly, going 74 yards on 12 plays to take the lead for good. Javonte Ellison had a big 30-yard run on the drive while Ivey also had a third down completion to Jordan Carter that covered 16 yards.

It was Ellison who found paydirt with 7:27 to play in the contest. The conversion kick failed, but Eastern had claimed a 15-13 lead.

Hertford County’s last chance to get back into the contest came up short when they fumbled the football at their own 27-yardline.

The Bears took the first lead of the game in the second quarter.

After a scoreless first period, the Bears marched 53 yards on 10 plays midway through the second period to take the lead. White had a 12-yard run and an eight-yard run during the drive, but it was Gatling who covered the most ground, carrying the ball seven times for 22 yards, including the one-yard score with 4:35 to play in the second stanza. Richard Burns added the conversion and HCHS held a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles responded on the next play from scrimmage when Elliot Powell scampered 65 yards to paydirt to get Eastern Alamance on the board for the first time during the evening. The conversion failed and Hertford County led 7-6.

The stats went pretty much the way of the game with Eastern Alamance gaining 273 yards for the night and Hertford County picking up 262 yards.

The bulk of the Bears’ offense came on the ground where they rolled up 256 yards compared to just six yards passing. Gatling led the way with 102 yards on 23 carries while White had 86 yards on 14 carries.

Eastern was led by Ellison, who had 86 yards on 17 carries. They totaled 191 yards on the ground. In addition, Ivey passed for 82 yards on 7-of-17 passing.

The Bears end the season 10-3 overall.