Weaver paces Bears past First Flight
AHOSKIE – In the sport of football, Hertford County High School has never lost to a team that calls Dare County as home.
That streak remained intact here Friday night where the Bears built a good head of steam heading into next week’s annual grudge match verses arch rival Bertie by defeating First Flight High, 30-21.
The win also allowed the Bears (6-3 overall; 3-2 in Northeastern Coastal Conference play) to move into sole possession of third place in the league standings. HCHS and First Flight entered Friday’s game with identical records.
Last night’s hero for the Bears was junior quarterback Ryan Weaver who ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as HCHS managed to never trail in the contest. Weaver finished the night with 91 rushing yards on 12 carries and passed for 76 (4-for-14 with no interceptions).
Despite holding the lead throughout the contest, the visiting Nighthawks did make things interesting in the third quarter. There, an 18-yard TD pass from Nathan Parker to Wyatt Robertson got the Dare County boys to within 23-21 with 25 seconds left in the period.
However, the Bears matched that score a mere 17 seconds later and took the wind out of First Flight’s sails as Jquwan Ruffin returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to paydirt. Coupled with Ackerman Grace’s PAT, HCHS extended their lead to 30-21.
Neither team found the endzone over the final 12 minutes of play.
Things also started well for the Bears. On the game’s third play, Kendrick Leary picked off a Nighthawk pass at the visitors 41 yardline and returned his “pick” to the 24. Seven plays later, Weaver called his own number and reached the endzone from two yards out. Grace added the PAT for a 7-0 lead at the 7:52 mark of the opening period.
HCHS launched its next scoring drive early in the second quarter. On the fifth play of that series, Weaver tossed a 64-yard TD pass to Kevin Privott. Ryan Hatcher booted the PAT, extending the Bears lead to 14-0 with 10:30 left in the first half.
First Flight answered with two touchdowns to get back in the game. The first came on a six play, 69-yard drive capped by a 33-yard TD pass from Parker to Billy Foster. Then, after recovering a HCHS fumble at the Bears 27 yardline, Alex Monaco scored from that distance. Robertson ran in the conversion, tying the game at 14-14 at the 6:36 mark of the second quarter.
Trying to maintain that momentum, First Flight attempted an onside kick, but the Bears recovered at their own 48. Three plays later, Weaver made the ‘Hawks pay for that gamble as he darted 43 yards for a touchdown. The kick failed, leaving the Bears with a 20-14 lead.
First Flight gambled again on their next series, attempting a fake punt on a 4th-and-5 play, but lost six yards, giving the Bears possession at the Nighthawks’ 44 yardline. The Bears pushed it inside the 10 yardline, but the drive stalled and Grace came on to boot a 26 yard field goal as time expired in the first half where HCHS led 23-14.
HCHS totaled 263 yards on the ground and 76 passing. Kenny Sharpe was the leading ground gainer (14 carries for 102 yards).