Bears complete perfect regular season
Published 11:18 am Saturday, November 7, 2009
AHOSKIE – No team in the history of Hertford County football had ever won 11 games in a single regular season.
At least not up until Friday night.
Feasting on a bushel basket full of Bertie turnovers, the 2009 version of the Hertford County High School Bears polished off a perfect 11-0 regular season by blanking their rivals, 42-0.
Now the Bears, the 2009 Northeastern Coastal Conference champions, will wait to see where they land in the NCHSAA state 3-AA play-offs, which begin on their home turf next Friday. It’s definite they’ll be a top-four seed, perhaps a #1. Wherever they fall in line, it bodes well that the last time the Bears finished a regular season unbeaten (10-0 in 1988), HCHS made it to the state championship game (losing to Thomasville in the finale).
But past history was the furthest thing in the minds of the Bears on Friday. What was on their minds was Bertie, but it was a mistake-prone Falcons squad that made things easy for the home team.
All totaled, Bertie suffered eight turnovers (five fumbles, a pair of interceptions and a blocked punt). The Bears produced five touchdowns off those mistakes.
Hertford County’s lone scoring drive of the game (without the benefit of a turnover) came on the opening series of the second half where the Bears were already in the driver’s seat with a 28-0 lead.
Starting at their own 40 and highlighted by a 38-yard run by Markee White on a fake punt, the Bears scored in eight plays capped by quarterback Petey Boone’s 19-yard scamper to paydirt. Brandon Warren’s PAT made it 35-0 at the 9:33 mark of the third quarter.
Sparked by an emotional start when the Bears walked onto the field behind their injured senior quarterback Antonio Vaughan, on crutches due to a hairline fracture in his lower right leg, HCHS began to feast on Bertie’s mistakes.
A quick series of three Bertie turnovers produced a trio of TD’s for the Bears in a span of just over six minutes.
Cedric Bland got the defensive effort rolling when he blocked a punt. The ball was scooped-up by teammate D’Isaac Jordan who ran, untouched, 20 yards to paydirt with 1:36 left in the first quarter.
Bertie coughed-up a fumble on the ensuing kick-off, one recovered by HCHS’ John Majette at Bertie’s 27 yardline. Nine plays later, Ron Gatling found the endzone from one yard out for a 13-0 lead at the 9:54 mark of the second period.
Another Bertie fumble, this one on the third play after the ensuing kick-off, was recovered by Bland at his own 37 yardline. Five plays later, Michael Stephenson scored on a one-yard run to make it 21-zip with 7:27 left before halftime.
HCHS received another Bertie gift later in the period where Dontez Tyler recovered a fumble at the Falcons 45. Three snaps later, White tore through the Bertie defense en route to a 45-yard TD run for a 28-0 halftime lead.
The Bears final score came on the first play of the fourth quarter where White struck paydirt from nine yards out. That was set-up by Jordan’s fumble recovery at the nine.
With all the short field to work with, HCHS only amassed 315 yards of total offense (311 on the ground). Gatling (94 rushing yards), White (91) and Boone (85) led that effort.
Bertie could only muster 74 yards of total offense against a HCHS defensive unit that gives up points through an eyedropper. The Bears defense, with their fourth straight shutout, ran their streak to 19 quarters without surrendering a single point. The last team to score on HCHS was Edenton (a first quarter TD back on Oct. 2).