Falcons earn opening win

Published 11:54 pm Friday, August 17, 2012

WINDSOR – Sizzling.

Like the humid August night Bertie High School got off to a hot start Friday as the 2012 high school football season slapped leather on another season.

The Falcons scored five times on the night – all on scoring plays of 20 yards or more – and shot down the Gates County Red Barons, 34-19.

It marked the second straight year the two teams had opened the season against one another.  Bertie took last year’s contest in a two-point squeaker win.

This year’s victory was a little bit louder.

From the Falcon band’s drum corps, which played a steady cadence all night for the entire game, Bertie had some drumbeats of their own on the turf.

Sophomore quarterback David Watford lit up the Bertie night, going 8-for-11 through the air for 219 yards and four scores: three on a hat-trick worth of touchdown strikes to sophomore Shykie Mitchell. Mitchell had 113 yards receiving.

Senior Malcolm Cherry ended the night with one scoring grab and another six points on a spectacular 76-yard scramble for another score on a reverse. Cherry had five total grabs for 105 yards and two rushes for 79 yards.

Luke Davis was 4-for-5 for the Falcons in extra-point attempts.

Brandall Riddick, Isaiah Eure and River Hicks lit the scoreboard for the Red Barons, all on short scoring runs.

Before the fans had settled in their seats good, Bertie was on the board in the first quarter.

After getting dropped for a loss on the second play of the game, Watford dropped back in shotgun formation and hit Cherry on a slant route from near midfield at the Bertie 46-yard line. Cherry did the rest, simply turning on the after-burners and smoking the Red Baron defenders for a 54-yard scoring romp.  The extra-point made it.7-0.

Gates came right back and answered with an equalizer in just 30 seconds.

Joshua Cross returned the kickoff all the way to the Bertie 12-yard line and two plays later, Riddick rumbled in from a dozen yards out.  Devon Saul’s kick tied the game at 7-7.

Bertie came back to score again before the quarter ended as Cherry took an end-around reverse and juked his way past the Gates defenders before getting a clear path to paydirt on the final 30 yards and had the Falcons ahead to stay, 14-7.

On their next possession, Gates’ drive stalled at midfield and then Bertie marched 73 yards for their third score on the night.  Mitchell got his first catch on a 27 yard corner route that made it 21-7 after the kick.

Gates scored once more before the half on a two-yard run by Eure to send the teams to the locker-room at 21-13 after the extra-point attempt was blocked.

Bertie scored on their first possession of the second half after holding Gates.  It was Mitchell hauling in another toss from Watford, this one from 30 yards out; but the kick missed, leaving the lights on the board reading, 27-13, Bertie.

The Falcons got their final score of the night on their next possession.  Cherry came up limping after a short pass from Watford, but on the very next play, Watford hit Mitchell for the third and final time on the night. The kick made it 34-13.

Gates got their final score in the fourth quarter to make for the final.

Defensively, the Falcons were solid up front and on the corners in containing the Red Barons.  About the only thing that sent Bertie coach Greg Watford’s blood pressure up were the five bad snaps that resulted in lost yardage.

“We ran hard,” said Watford. “We got after it out there. We missed some opportunities, but we’re going to get better.”

“Our youth showed tonight,” said Gates County coach Matt Biggy.  “They (Bertie) never really sustained any real drives, but they broke some big plays and big plays killed us.”

Bertie (1-0) takes to the road next week with a game at Rocky Mount.  Gates County (0-1) stays on the road with a trip next Friday night to Perquimans.