Bears blitz ‘Barons in opener

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

GATESVILLE – By ground, by air, by defense…Hertford County High School found the endzone in a number of ways here last night (Friday) in their season opener at Gates County.

The Bears scored four rushing TD’s; struck paydirt twice through the air and returned a fumble for another score as HCHS gave skipper Scott Privott his first win as a varsity football coach with a 47-14 non-conference victory.

“We played pretty well,” said a happy Privott following the contest. “We need to pick-up our intensity, tackle better and cut down on our mistakes.”

Privott grabbed the reigns of the HCHS varsity squad this season after spending a number of years as the school’s jayvee head coach.

The Bears were quick out of the starting gate, scoring four times in the opening 12 minutes of action.

After forcing Gates to a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, the Bears started a drive from the Red Barons 42 yardline. Three plays later, Antonio Vaughan hit a wide-open Montario Hunter with a 42-yard scoring pass. Brandon Warren, a baseball standout playing in his first-ever high school football game, tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 8:01 mark of the first quarter.

Twenty-eight seconds later that score doubled to 14-0 when Vaughan, a two-way starter, scooped-up a fumble at the ‘Barons 10 yardline and waltzed to the endzone for an easy “six.” Warren added the PAT.

The next HCHS score came on a 95-yard “catch-and-run” when it seemed the Bears were going to be bottled up deep inside their own territory. On a third-and-long play from their own five yardline, back-up quarterback Petey Boone delivered a pass to Larry Raynor, streaking free over the middle. Raynor caught the ball in full stride and turned on the after-burners, outracing the Gates defense to the endzone to complete the 95-yard play. The conversion failed, leaving HCHS with a 20-0 lead with 3:25 left in the first quarter.

HCHS padded that lead to 27-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the opening period after Ron Gatling capped a three-play, 55-yard drive with his 42-yard scamper to paydirt. Warren tacked on the PAT.

The Bears raced out to a 34-0 lead at the 10:15 mark of the second quarter where Aaron Thomas bolted through a huge hole and easily scored on a 7-yard run. Ansley Lassiter booted the PAT.

Gates County got its home crowd rocking later in the second quarter where the ‘Barons put together a nicely executed 10-play drive capped by Emmanuel Knight’s 3-yard run. Knight also muscled in for the two-point conversion as the half ended with the Bears holding a 34-8 lead.

The second half was a bit more evenly matched as the Red Barons were able to put together some long drives, even though they only scored once. The Gates rushing game – led by Akeem Lassiter, Damaion Gatling, Jerick Garrett and Knight (who combined for 171 yards on the ground) – ate-up a lot of the second half clock.

Still, the Bears managed to punch in a pair of second half scores, one in each quarter.

In the third quarter, Gatling scored on a 13-yard run. A failed conversion left the score at 40-8 after three quarters of action.

The Bears increased that lead to 47-8 with 5:26 remaining in the contest on Boone’s two-yard run and Warren’s PAT kick.

Gates closed the game’s scoring inside the final minute where quarterback Graham Hobbs capped a 58-yard drive with his 3-yard TD run.

HCHS finished with 459 yards of total offence led by Gatling (7 carries, 91 yards), Thomas (6-55) and Markee White (3-49). Vaughan and Boone combined for 174 passing yards.

Gates amassed 277 total yards. Gatling led the ground game with 85 yards on nine carries. Hobbs threw for 70 yards.

The Bears will travel to Bertie next Friday (Aug. 28) in the first of two meetings with their arch rivals this season. Gates has next week off.