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Falcons open league with win

EDENTON – On a night when they saluted the perfect record 13-0 1960 Aces football team, the 2010 version played, well, less than perfect.

Bertie won its Northeastern Coastal Conference opener Friday night, 40-20, to spoil the honorarium thanks to Edenton’s mistakes and their own gritty desire to win.

Corbin Rascoe scored three touchdowns – two in a first half dominated by the Falcons – enroute to the 20-point victory. Tykevis Bazemore also had a score for Bertie, as did Thomas Perry, and another score for the Falcons on defense when the defense recovered a fumble in the end zone.

The Falcons also played without the services of sophomore quarterback Malcolm Cherry, out with an injury. So the honors under center were split between Bazemore and Jonathan Wilson.

“We played offense really well without Malcolm tonight,” said first-year Falcons coach Greg Watford.  “I thought our two guys stepped up really well, but the biggest thing is as young as we are we’re starting to gel.”

Before the fans could get in their seats good, Bertie had scored on just the second play of the game when Perry took the handoff from Wilson and scampered down the sidelines on a sweep 61 yards for the first touchdown. The extra point was missed, but the Falcons led it, 6-0.

After the Falcon defense rose and stopped Edenton on the Aces’ first possession, Bertie scored again on their second series when they marched 69 yards on eight plays capped by Rascoe’s first touchdown of the night, a three-yard plunge through the middle, for a 12-0 score.

On Bertie’s next series, the Falcons were stopped on fourth down, and Watford opted to punt, however, punter Eric Bowen opted to try to outrun the onrushing Aces defense and was dropped at the Bertie 14-yardline.

The Aces took advantage, despite a penalty, and scored on three plays to trim Bertie’s lead to 12-7 to end the first quarter scoring.

Edenton came back on their first series of the second quarter and marched 81 yards on seven plays to the end zone and despite missing the extra point attempt, led for their first and only time of the night, 13-12.

But the advantage was short-lived as Bertie came back on their next series as Rascoe fumbled the handoff on a toss-sweep.  The ball, however, fortunately, bounced back into his hands and he hit the seam on the outside and scampered 42 yards for his second score of the night and the Falcons were back in front, 18-13.

With under 13 seconds to go in the half, Bertie got the ball back and Bazemore came in to direct the offense.  On just his fifth play of the night he struck for a 12-yard pass to Michael Dawson, good for a score and with time winding down to halftime the Falcons led it, 24-13.

Edenton opened the second half with what turned out to be their final score of the night as they marched 47 yards to cut the deficit to 24-20, and that score held for the remainder of the quarter as neither team could muster a scoring drive.

The fun began in the fourth quarter, as both teams had fumbles aplenty, plus penalties, and turning the ball over on downs.

On their third series,  backed up deep in their own territory at the four yard line, Edenton quarterback Tyler Reinhold fumbled and Bertie’s Dominique Harris fell on the loose ball for a 30-20 lead. Bertie successfully went for two and led it. 32-20.

A late touchdown made for the 20-point margin as the Falcons raised their record to 2-4 on the young season, including a 1-0 mark in the Northeastern Coastal Conference, and Edenton fell to 2-5 and 0-1.

“Just the threat of Corbin’s speed and athleticism made a difference for us,” said Watford.  “I can’t say enough about him and Thomas Perry had it going on both sides of the ball.  We had plenty of mistakes and that’s what we’ve got to eliminate.”

Next week the Falcons will look to stay unbeaten in the league as they host Pasquotank County High School, who also sits atop the league standings at 1-0.

(By Gene Motley, Sports Writer)