‘Barons bury Bertie in season opener

Published 9:25 am Monday, August 26, 2013

GATESVILLE – It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

For Gates County High School, the Red Barons started their 2013 football campaign with a bang while Bertie High, under a new skipper in Rashawn Spencer, are still fine tuning their engine.

The ‘Barons clicked on all cylinders on Friday night at home while Bertie sputtered, giving Gates an easy 41-12 win in the season opener for both clubs.

With a big and physical offensive line, the ‘Barons tore up the home turf to the tune of 313 rushing yards on 61 carries, the majority coming in the first half (39 attempts for 279 yards) where Gates rolled to a 41-0 lead.

A pair of GCHS running backs finished the night with 100-plus yards on the ground – sophomore Mark Ricks (14 carries for 120 yards) and senior Isaiah Eure (21-116 and scored four of his team’s six TD’s). For good measure, senior Brandall Riddick added 69 rushing yards on 18 attempts.

GatesCounty scored on six of its seven, first half possessions en route to their commanding 41-point lead at the break. The lone exception came late in the half where quarterback Drew Wiggins took a knee deep inside GCHS territory after Ricks ended a Bertie scoring threat by intercepting a pass at his own four yardline.

With the likes of linemen Jack Brown, Nick Herman, Derrick Bellamy, Cole Stallings and Phillip Carver along with tight end Josh Reid opening the holes, Gates scored on the game’s opening possession, marching 69 yards in 10 plays capped by Eure’s one-yard plunge to paydirt.

Senior defensive back Rashawn Wilkins set-up the ‘Barons next score with an interception at Bertie’s 41 yardline. Six plays later, Eure scored on a seven-yard run for a 14-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter.

GCHS poured it on in the second quarter, including a beautifully executed 11 play, 92 yard drive that consumed just over five minutes and ended with Eure’s two-yard TD run. Eure also added a three-yard scoring run earlier in the period.

By the time Riddick scored on a 20-yard run, set up by a high snap on a Bertie punt, and a 35-yard TD pass from Wiggins to Josh Cross, thanks to a fumble recovery by sophomore defender Shawn Sutton, the ‘Barons led 41-0.

With GCHS coach Matt Biggy keeping his offensive play calls very vanilla in the second half, Bertie’s defense pitched a shutout over the final 24 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Falcons offense – which had only three net yards in the first half – did show some signs of life in the final two periods. Bertie used an aerial attack to move the football as two quarterbacks – starter Jaikeim Mosley (8-of-18 for 110 yards) and Aaron Wells (3-of-7 for 101 yards) combined for 211 passing yards with each throwing a touchdown.

Junior wide receiver Shyki Mitchell caught both scoring passes – a 21-yarder from Mosley late in the third quarter, and a 66-yard bomb from Wells with 90 seconds left in the game. Mitchell finished with six receptions for 166 yards.

Bertie’s biggest obstacle was its own mistakes, especially high snaps which led to losses totaling 72 yards. The Falcons also fumbled four times, losing three.

GCHS will travel to Pasquotank High School next Friday (Aug. 30) while Bertie has an extra week to work out the kinks on both sides of the ball with an open date on its schedule.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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