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Air Raid: Bears claw Southampton

COURTLAND, VA – Fifteen months removed from their last game, one would expect Hertford County High School’s football team to be rusty in their return to the gridiron.

That didn’t happen. Instead, the Bears appeared to be playing at the same high level that carried them all the way to the State Class 2AA eastern semifinals at the close of the 2019 season.

Senior quarterback Tye Saxby threw touchdown passes to five different receivers as HCHS opened their COVID-delayed football season here Thursday night with a 40-13 win at Southampton County (Virginia) High School.

The Bears haven’t competed on the gridiron since a tough, 12-7 loss vs. Salisbury High School on Nov. 29, 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the start of the 2020 season this past August.

Saxby didn’t waste any time showing off his talented arm on Thursday, throwing a pair of touchdown strikes in the first quarter (15 yards to Elijah Winley, and 66 yards to Bryant Williams). Those two scores came over a short span of two minutes and six seconds.

The Bears stretched that lead to 20-0 at the 8:19 mark of the second quarter where Saxby tossed a 75-yard scoring bomb to Devin Edwards.

Hertford County’s only non-passing touchdown of the game came on the opening kick-off of the second half when Keondre Rodgers raced 75 yards to paydirt, extending the Bears advantage to 26-0 just 14 seconds into the third quarter.

Southampton’s first touchdown of the season came on a one-yard run by sophomore quarterback Whitman Clark with 4:24 left in the period.

Saxby’s fourth scoring pass of the night came at the end of the third quarter where he and Jaheem Thompson connected from five yards out for a 34-6 lead.

The Indians added a fourth quarter touchdown (a five-yard run by Willis Walton) to close to within 34-13.

Saxby closed out his outstanding performance by tossing a 47-yard TD pass to Kyree Pitt with 7:07 left in the game.

HCHS (1-0 overall) will open conference action at home on Friday, March 12 vs. Northeastern.