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Chowan falls at Campbell in football season opener

BUIES CREEK – The Chowan University football team battled strong against the Division I Campbell Camels in the 2018 season opener on the road Thursday evening before succumbing 49-26.

Former Hertford County High star Kyeem Perry helped the special teams in a major way by returning six kick-offs for 126 yards including a 52 yard return.

Quarterback Bryce Witt led the Hawks in rushing with eight carries for 91 yards and a touchdown.  Witt finished 11-24 for 100 yards in the air that also included two interceptions.

Jayden Riley tallied two passing touchdowns in a backup role in his debut for the Blue and White.  Sha’Von Harkless was on the receiving end of both touchdown passes.  Harkless finished with 42 yards rushing and 19 yards receiving.

Torry Baker led the Chowan receiving corps with four receptions for 51 yards.

Dre Terry led the defensive unit with eight tackles and a fumble recovery.  Josh Berry and Marquise Baldwin tallied six tackles each.

Marcus Devin and Keandre’ Randerson picked off the Campbell quarterbacks twice with Randerson returning his pick for a touchdown.

Both teams opened the season with a punt on their opening drives.  On the second Campbell drive, Chowan’s Dre Terry would recover a fumble after the Camels reached the red zone. On the ensuing drive, an errant Witt pass was turned into an interception and a pick-six touchdown for the Camels to take an early 7-0 lead.

After a pair of punts in the second quarter, Campbell was able to find the end zone on a 49 yard touchdown reception to extend the lead to 14-0.  Another long reception by the Camels pushed the lead to 21-0 at the half.

Campbell benefited from a tipped pass to start the second half and the Camels would punch the ball into the end zone for a 28-0 advantage.

The big play finally happened for the Hawks when Witt connected with Baker on the ensuing drive for a 46 yard reception, then finished it off with a 21 yard scamper for the score to close the gap to 28-6 after the failed extra point attempt.

Campbell continued to air the ball out with two receptions to find the end zone for the score, 35-6, midway through the quarter.

Later in the quarter, Chowan’s defense forced a fourth down on the two-yard line, but an offside penalty allowed the drive to continue and push the Camel advantage to 42-6.

That’s when Perry helped wake up the offense with a 52 yard kick-off return on the ensuing drive heading into the fourth quarter. The drive would find the end zone when backup quarterback, Jayden Riley, connected on his first pass with Harkless for a 16 yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 42-12.

On the ensuing drive, Randerson would pick off a pass and return it for 57 yards for a pick-six touchdown to close the gap to 42-19 early in the quarter. But Campbell regained the momentum with a 13 play 63 yard drive to push the Camels’ lead to 49-19 with just over five minutes to play.

Riley would throw his second touchdown pass of the evening with 11 seconds remaining, finding Harkless for a short three yard strike before the final whistle and a 23-point finale.

The Hawks will continue their early road swing as they travel to Davidson to face the Division I Wildcats on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.