Bears edge Bulldogs

Published 11:33 am Monday, September 16, 2013

AHOSKIE – Ryan Weaver once again came thru for Hertford County High, and the senior quarterback’s efforts produced the Bears’ third win of the season.

Weaver finished with 164 yards passing and two touchdowns as Hertford County doubled-up Nash Central, 14-7 here Friday night.

Things did not start well for the Bears as they fumbled on their first possession and the Bulldogs’ Marquez Horton recovered on Hertford County’s 33 yard line.

However, the Bears’ defense tightened and Nash Central had to punt it away.

But it must have seemed like a night of ‘give-away’ as once again Hertford County coughed the ball up and Nash Central this time fell on the pigskin on the Bears’ 15.

Bulldog quarterback Tyler Barrow looked for a quick six; instead it almost became a ‘pick-six’ as Jquwan Ruffin got an interception at his own 9-yard line.

Neither team could get their offense kick started and the score was 0-0 after the first 12 minutes of play.

Each team again exchanged punts on their first two drives of the second quarter and on its next possession Hertford County was stopped on fourth-and-15 from the Nash Central 38 yard line.

The Bulldogs took over on downs, but once again the Bear defense stiffened and punters Barrow for the ‘Dogs and Ackerman Grace of Hertford County were the ones getting a real workout as six drives ended with the ball being kicked away.

On punt number-six, Hertford County took over on their own 13 yard line and the Bears went on a nine-play 87 yard drive that ended with Weaver’s six-yard six-point strike to fellow-senior Dwyane Bishop. The scoring drive was highlighted by a Weaver 40-yard pass to Anthony Lassiter.

Grace this time was kicking for a score and it was 7-0, Bears, with 4:14 left to go in the half.

After the kickoff, the Bulldogs drove 67 yards for the equalizer and they struck quickly. After a penalty on Nash Central moved the ball back to the 28 yard line Horton got the five-yards back for his team with a run back to the 33 yard line. On the very next play Barrow’s pass was tipped up in the air by a Bears defender, but fell back into the waiting arms of Khalil Macklin who had nothing in front of him but real estate and he just outran the Hertford County defense to the end zone. The point-after kick by Matthew Barfield knotted the score at 7-7 with 2:33 left in the quarter.

On the kickoff, Hertford County fumbled and Nash Central had their third turnover of the night, this time on the Bears’ 47. But just like the prior two times the Bulldogs could not get by the Blue-and-Gold defense and fans were witness to the seventh punt of the night and it was just the first half.

Hertford County let the ball roll to their own 10-yard line and began their drive from there. Tyus Leary started things off with a 7-yard run, Weaver hooked up with Ruffin from 83 yards out and he simply used his speed to outsprint the ‘Dog defenders all the way to paydirt for a 13-7 score. Grace’s extra point allowed the Bears to have twice as much as the visitors on the scoreboard with 15 seconds left until halftime.

Hertford County took the opening kickoff of the second half but could not mount a successful drive. Nash Central then got the ball back following the eighth punt of the night and started a drive at their own 26.

This time the Bulldogs drove to the Bears’ 5-yard line in 11 plays before Nash’s Hakeem Taylor fumbled and Hertford County’s Alfonzo Bazemore fell on it.

But once again, the Bears could not get their offense cranked up and had to punt for the fifth time that night. Nash Central started a drive at the end of the third on into the fourth quarter and they too had to punt the ball away – for them, a sixth time.

The Bears took over on their own nine yard line, but turned the ball over for the fourth time. This time Nash Central recovered on their own 33.

After a five yard penalty, on the first play from scrimmage Horton broke thru the Bear defense for a 49 yard run all the way down to the Hertford County 23 yard line.

On the next play after the ball was spotted and snapped, Barrow threw his second interception of the night, this one hauled in by the Bears’ Kevontea Bishop on his own 30 yard line.

However, after the interception the Bears only drove nine yards in three plays before Grace came on to punt again.  This time he shanked the ball off his right foot and the ball went out of bounds to Nash Central at the Hertford County 41 yard line with 1:10 left in the game.

The Bulldogs drove eight yards to the Bear 33 and were facing fourth-and-two. On fourth down, with 18 seconds left in the game and no time-outs left, Barrow tried a desperation pass, but it was knocked away by Hertford County’s O’Shane Ximines.

Weaver took a knee to run out the clock and despite a night of miscues, Hertford County escaped with the seven point win.

After never getting their running game in gear the previous week against Rocky Mount, this time the Bears topped the century mark as Leary rushed 16 times for 126 yards and Kenny Sharpe had 11 carries for 49 yards.

After two weeks at home the Bears (3-1) head back out on the road next Friday for their final non-conference game of the year when they travel to Winterville to face South Central. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.