Falcons survive Gates County

Published 12:59 am Saturday, August 20, 2011

By Willie McLawhorn

Sports Writer

GATESVILLE -The Bertie Falcons held off a late charge by the Gates County Red Barons here Friday night by a 26-24 score.

In the first game of the year for both squads, early season jitters and mistakes were evident. The game began with both teams taking their first possessions of the year in for scores.

Gates took the opening kickoff and drove 59 yards in 11 plays and using five minutes and 46 seconds of clock time.

Sophomore Brandall Riddick did the bulk of running on this first drive of the season, carrying the ball four times for 25 yards. The drive culminated with Riddick rushing the final seven yards for the first touchdown of the season for the Red Barons.  The two-point conversion failed leaving the Red Barons with a 6-0 lead.

Bertie took the ensuing kickoff at their own 39-yard line. Following a penalty on the first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Tykevis Bazemore hooked up with sophomore Marquise Holley for a 64-yard touchdown pass tying the score. The PAT by Luke Davis gave the Falcons a 7-6 lead at the 5:50 mark of the first quarter.

The teams swapped‎ punts to close out the first quarter.  The second quarter began with each team throwing interceptions-first the Red Barons, then the Falcons.

The Red Barons got the better end with their interception and return by George Kee setting up the Red Barons at the Bertie 19 yard line. A six-yard run by DaShawn Stokley was followed by a 13 yard scamper by Riddick to paydirt.  The two-point conversion failed, but the Red Barons led by a 12-7 score with 11:14 left in the half.

The Falcons took the kickoff and drove from their own 25 to the Red Barons 10-yard line before being stopped on fourth down.

The Red Barons then drove to the 38-yard line where they were forced to punt.  Bertie got a break as the long snap was bad and punter Latron Norfleet was tackled on his own 26 yard line.

A 22-yard pass from Bazemore to Malcolm Cherry gave the Falcons a first down at the four yard line.  Following a one yard loss, Al Ameen Sharif ran five yards for the touchdown.  The PAT by Davis was good and the Falcons led by a 14-12 score with 2:59 remaining in the first half.

Neither team was able to mount a final drive as penalties took their toll.

Bertie took the second half kickoff and drove 62 yards for a touchdown following a return of 14 yards by Jaquil Hafiz.  Hafiz was the workhorse on this drive carrying the ball three times for 34 yards. The touchdown came at the 7:48 mark as Bazemore scampered five yards on a quarterback keeper.  The two-point conversion failed but Bertie had grabbed a 20-12 lead.

The Red Barons responded with a nine-play, 60-yard touchdown drive of their own. The drive was aided by a face mask penalty, an interference call, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Falcons.

Stokley rambled the final 12 yards for the score. The two point conversion failed leaving the Red Barons trailing by a 20-18 score with 4:48 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons responded quickly driving 55 yards in five plays.

The drive was capped by a 15-yard run by Bazemore.  With 2:07 left in the third quarter, Bertie held a 26-18 lead.

The fourth quarter saw both teams swapping punts and fumbles. The last Bertie fumble set up Gates for a final push.

Isaiah Eure recovered the Falcons fumble on the Red Barons 37-yard line with just over four minutes left on the clock.   A 45-yard pass play from Wiggins to Dwane Minor put the Red Barons on the Falcon 25-yard line.  A 17 yard scamper by Stokley set up the final 8 yard run by Wiggins for the score.  Trailing by two points with 2:25 remaining, the Red Barons tried for the two-point conversion. Stokely was stopped at the goal line by the Falcons leaving them with a 26-24 lead.

The Red Barons tried an onside kick which was recovered by the Falcons who then ran out the clock to claim their first win of the season.

Stokley lead the Red Barons rushing attack with 110 yards and a touchdown.

The leading rusher for the Falcons was Hafiz who ended the night with 114 yards.

Next week, the Red Barons will host Perquimans while Bertie will make their home debut against Rocky Mount.