Washington holds off HCHS
AHOSKIE – One inch.
Hertford County faced a fourth-and-one from the 17-yard line with 1:57 left in the third quarter. Washington led 21-14.
Hertford County’s Anthony Lassiter took the handoff and was met by linebacker Jaquez Columbus in the hole. Columbus pulled him down just one inch short of the first down marker.
The Pam Pack then put together a seven-play drive that covered 84 yards and scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. The score gave Washington a 28-21 win and their first trip to the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs for the first time since 1956.
The second round contest between the Bears and the Pam Pack was one worthy of being a playoff contest as the teams put on a show with a 14-point spread being the largest gap in the game.
The first quarter was a battle of field position with neither squad able to find the end zone.
Hertford County punted for the third time in the first half early in the second period. On the third play from scrimmage, Washington quarterback Jimmy Williams scampered 67 yards before being pulled down at the 15-yard line.
The saving tackle meant little, however, as D.J. Bell took it in from that point at the 9:34 mark of the second quarter. Will Cutler added the extra point and the Pam Pack led 7-0.
The Washington defense then forced another three-and-out for the Bears and the Pam Pack took possession at their own 13-yard line following the punt.
On the first play from scrimmage, Williams went 22 yards. That was followed by a two-yard gainer from Markel Spencer that moved the football to the 37-yard line.
Williams then completed his first pass of the night, connecting with Stephon Moore for a 22-yard gain. Williams then called his own number and struck paydirt from 41 yards out. Cutler added the point after and Washington led 14-0 with 6:02 to play in the first half.
Hertford County got on the board on its next possession, driving 70 yards on seven plays. The Pam Pack helped the Bears by committing a trio of penalties that assured a first down at the HCHS 49-yard line.
It was at that point that HCHS quarterback Ryan Weaver found Jquwan Ruffin on a 51-yard pass that provided the first touchdown for the home team. Ackerman Grace tacked on the PAT and the Bears were within a touchdown at 14-7.
Washington picked up a first down on its next drive but a fumble, which was recovered by Hertford County’s Darius White gave the football back to the home team.
Hertford County capitalized on the mistake, driving 72 yards for the game-tying score. Weaver connected with Ken Sharpe on a 30-yard gain early in the drive and then found Ruffin again, this time on a 41-yard strike, to get the Bears in the end zone with 45 seconds left in the first half. Grace tied the game with the point after and the teams went in the locker room with the game knotted at 14-all.
The Pam Pack made short work of 75 yards on their first drive of the second half. One play after drawing the Bears offsides on fourth down, Williams raced 47 yards to the end zone. Cutler added the conversion and Washington led 21-14 with 5:43 to play in the third quarter.
The next drive saw the Bears drive 48 yards only to be stopped by Columbus’ heroics at the 16-yard line.
Washington responded by driving 84 yards to paydirt with Stevie Green finishing the drive with a 35-yard scoring run. Cutler added the conversion and the Pam Pack led 28-14.
Hertford County answered on its next possession, driving 65 yards in nine plays capped by a 10-yard pass from Weaver to Ruffin. Grace was good on his third PAT to close the gap to 28-21.
Washington went three-and-out on its next possession and punted, giving the Bears another shot. HCHS drove to the Washington 19-yard line, thanks in large part to a 45-yard pass completion from Weaver to Dorrien Askew. Two incompletions at the 19, however, gave the Pam Pack possession on downs.
The visiting squad then ran out the clock and secured its sixth consecutive win and its place in the third round next week, where they will travel to Havelock.
The Bears finish the season 8-4 overall. They had 367 yards of total offense with 248 coming through the air. Weaver completed 9-of-21 passing with three touchdowns.
Washington improved to 10-3 overall and had 467 yards of total offense. They had 433 on the ground, led by 210 yards from Williams. Spencer added 125 yards on 23 carries.