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Bears hold firm at second

ELIZABETH CITY – Tye Saxby found four different receivers for four separate touchdowns Thursday night and the effort helped power Hertford County to a 34-0 shutout of Pasquotank, keeping the Bears in second place in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

The Panthers opened the game with a long dozen-play drive to the Hertford County 22 yard line, but the Bears defense stopped them on fourth down and the ball went over.

The Bears couldn’t capitalize and punted on their initial drive, but the Panthers muffed the punt and Hertford County’s Matthew New recovered on the Pasquotank seven-yard line.

Two plays later, six yards out, Saxby found Jordan Moore in the back corner of the end zone for the night’s first score. The sophomore quarterback then hit Erion Holley for the two point conversion and it was 8-0, Bears with 1:56 left in the first quarter.

The score remained into the second quarter and there were several exchanges of punts as neither team could muster much offense. Then, late in the quarter, Hertford County took over on the Panthers’ 37 yard line and in four plays drove it into the end zone when Saxby hit Avery Hoggard on a post pattern from 12 yards out to make it 14-0. This time Saxby passed to Moore for the extra points and it was 16-0 at the 3:11 mark, and that score held through halftime.

The Bears got the second half kickoff and fought off a couple of penalties before Saxby capped the 58-yard drive with a 49 yard strike to Jalen Davis for the night’s third score that made it 22-0, Hertford County.

The Panthers must’ve known it was flu season, because they coughed the ball up a second time. Michael Savage scooped up the pigskin on the 37 yard line of Pasquotank and returned it to the end zone for the Bears’ fourth score of the night making it 28-0 with 7:31 left in the third quarter.

Hertford County’s final score on the night came with 4:15 left in the fourth when Saxby executed another brilliant scoring drive and hit Holley on a 30-yard screen pass that made it 34-0 as the kick failed.   From there, the Bear defense smothered Pasquotank’s last two drives, capped by an interception on the Hertford County one-yard line, preserving the shutout.

Hertford County finished with 264 yards of total offense. Saxby passed for 193 of those yards, going 10-for-18 with four touchdowns. The Bears also added 71 yards on the ground; Holley was the leading ground-gainer for the Bears with 69 yards.

The stingy Bear defense held Pasquotank to 127 total yards on the night.

The win was the third in a row for Hertford County, raising their record to an even 4-4, 3-1 in league play. They will host rival Bertie next Friday night in their final regular-season conference game of the year.