Northeastern spoils Bertie Homecoming
WINDSOR – A big night, with big plays.
If you were a Bertie fan on hand for Homecoming, you just had to wish a few more of them had been for the home team.
Northeastern High School put up 37 unanswered second-half points en route to a Homecoming-spoiling 48-12 win over Bertie Friday night.
The Eagles (5-1) scored on a kickoff return, a punt return, through the air, and three times on the ground for the win.
Senior Malcolm Cherry figured in both Falcon scores. First with a 38-yard run that helped set up Bertie’s first touchdown; then on a 53-yard kickoff return to set up the home team’s second time on the scoreboard. Cherry also had an interception.
Sophomore quarterback David Watford passed for one Bertie touchdown while Jaquil Hafiz ran in the first score.
Aundrea Leary was the bright spot on defense for the Falcons with a pair of quarterback sacks and a fumble recovery.
On the down side, Bertie committed four turnovers; three of which the Eagles turned into points.
Fullback William Simpson scored three touchdowns for Northeastern and Marquise Whidbee had 106 yards receiving including a touchdown.
“We’re much too talented for that, but tonight we were just too talent-depleted,” said frustrated Falcons coach Greg Watford after the game.
“The kids played valiantly and we matched them speed for speed,” he added. “But they’re extremely quick up front, and we’re extremely weak.”
As the overflow Homecoming crowd at Roy L. Bond Jr. Stadium was just settling in for the game, Cherry set the Falcons up with a 59-yard return of the opening kickoff to the Northeastern 35.
However, on their first play from scrimmage, Bertie fumbled and Northeastern recovered. Four plays later the Eagles were in the endzone with the night’s first score.
Things didn’t fare any better for the home team on their next possession as they fumbled deep in their own territory. But Bertie dodged a bullet there when Cherry picked off Eagle quarterback Quaymon Williams four plays later at the one-yard line.
Bertie wasted little time taking advantage of the renewed opportunity.
After a run for no-gain, Watford rushed to midfield on a scramble play followed by Cherry’s 47 yard scamper. On the next play Hafiz zig-zagged into the end-zone and after the missed extra point Bertie trailed, 7-6.
The Falcons had gone 99 yards in under a minute.
On their next possession it was Northeastern’s turn to turn the ball over as the Eagles coughed it up and Leary pounced on the loose pigskin. Unfortunately, the Falcons went three-and-out.
On the ensuing punt, Whidbee showed why so many colleges are after his services with a 75 yard punt return to make it 13-6 after a botched extra-point.
Neither team scored for the rest of the first quarter and for the first eleven-and-a-half minutes of the second. However, Northeastern capped off a long 13-play ball-control drive with just over a minute to play and led by three scores, 21-6.
But on the subsequent kickoff Cherry took the ball 53 yards into Eagle territory and the Falcons needed just one pass from Watford to Dreshondre Day to get within nine at 21-12. Bertie’s attempt at a two-point conversion was stopped at the one-foot line.
That score held through halftime.
In the second half, the Eagles really exerted themselves, scoring on four of six possessions, all touchdowns, as they simply wore down the Falcons.
“We’re a team of rhythm,” said Northeastern coach Antonio Moore. “When the offense is doing well, the defense steps up, then the return team tries to outdo them. When we’re all doing well, everything’s clicking.”
“We’ll just have to win our last four,” said Watford, as Bertie (4-3) begins three straight road games before their home finale against Hertford County. “We’re going to get healthy and do what we’ve got to do.”