Bears roll in state playoff opener

Published 11:16 pm Friday, November 4, 2022

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AHOSKIE – Despite suffering three turnovers, two of which ended promising drives, Hertford County’s potent offense still found a way to pile up points.

Keveon Rodgers rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns while throwing for another score as the Bears opened the Class 2A state playoffs with a 40-8 win at home on Nov. 4 vs. East Bladen.

The Bears (10-1 overall and the #11 seed in the Eastern 2A bracket) will travel to sixth-seeded West Craven (8-3) for a second round matchup on Friday, Nov. 11. West Craven advanced by defeating Bunn, 37-8, in first round action.

While Hertford County’s offense was once again able to crack the 400-yard threshold (the Bears finished the night with 432 total yards), it was the defense who perhaps made the biggest difference.

Tied at 8-8 after both teams had scored on their first possession and after East Bladen had stopped a second HCHS drive by intercepting a pass at their own one yardline, the visitors from Elizabethtown used a 47-yard run by Zamar Lewis to reach the Bears 25 yardlne. After a holding penalty backed the Eagles up to the 35, quarterback Kewane Maynor threw a perfect pass in the endzone to Malikah Moore, but the ball went through his hands. On the next snap, Maynor, under a heavy rush, fumbled and Hertford County’s Trequan Taylor recovered at the 40 yardline.

Even though the Bears returned that gift by losing a fumble on the game’s ensuing series, the HCHS defense forced a three-and-out and a short punt allowed them to start their next offensive series near midfield. That resulted in a quick four play drive, highlighted by a 35-yard scamper by Elijah Outlaw, capped by a 7-yard TD run and ensuing two-point conversion run by Rodgers, extending the HCHS lead to 16-8 at the 9:56 mark of the second quarter.

Switching from a full house backfield to a Wing-T look, East Bladen answered with a time-consuming drive that reached the Bears 7 yardline. On the 13th play of that drive and facing a 4th-and-5 play, Maynor called his own number, but was pushed out of bounds one yard shy of the first down marker with a shade over two minutes remaining until halftime.

From there, Rodgers went to work, completing two passes to Israel Powell totaling 25 yards and one aerial each to Jayden Robinson (13 yards), Outlaw (7 yards), and Jahuan Bond (11 yards) to highlight a 94-yard, 10-play drive that ended with his 6-yard TD pass to Jayden Whitted with only four seconds left on the first half clock. Rodgers and Powell hooked up on the conversion pass as the Bears took a 24-8 lead into the locker room at the break.

East Bladen never threatened again as the Eagles, who rushed for 199 yards on 28 carries in the first half, only mustered 27 net yards on 21 attempts in the second half.

Rodgers added touchdown runs of 38 yards in the third quarter – where he stiff-armed one would-be tackler and then cut behind a block by Powell – and 52 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Before the crowd could get settled into their seats, the Bears were in the endzone, scoring a mere 27 seconds into the game. That came courtesy of Colin Brock returning the kickoff 33 yards to East Bladen’s 34 yardline. From there, Outlaw (who also had a big night for the Bears, finishing with 119 yards on 11 carries) darted his way for a 30-yard scamper to the four. Rodgers finished the short drive from there and added the conversion run for a quick 8-0 lead.

East Bladen responded, using a 53-yard run by Lewis on their first play of the game to highlight a quick four-play, 64-yard drive capped by a 4-yard TD run by Masion Brooks. Brooks tacked on the conversion run to tie the game at 8-8 at the 9:19 mark of the first quarter.

Nov. 4 Results

Class 1A East


North Duplin 22

Southeast Halifax 42


Riverside-Martin 62

Pamlico County 12


North Edgecombe 48

KIPP Pride 6


West Columbus 47

South Creek 0


Washington Co. 40

Gates County 20


Northside-Pinetown 42

Weldon 6


Northampton Co. 68

Jones Senior 6


Rosewood 44

Chatham Central 8


Warren County 32

Lakewood 16


Southside 2

Rocky Mount Prep 0 (FF)


Hobbton 69

Northwest Halifax 28


East Columbus 28

Bear Grass Charter 6


Perquimans 34

Wilson Prep 32


Pender 22

Bertie 14


North Moore 53

Lejeune 7


Class 2A East


Princeton 64

Goldsboro 8


Heide Trask 20

Eastern Wayne 6


Cummings 44

Bartlett Yancey 26


Midway 44

East Carteret 35


Northeastern 43

Farmville Central 19


Wallace-Rose Hill 74

Kinston 32


Greene Central 40

St. Pauls 8


Nash Central 60

North Johnston 12


Whiteville 13

Southwest Onslow 3


Holmes 66

SW Edgecombe 41


West Craven 37

Bunn 8


Hertford County 40

East Bladen 8


Clinton 39

Beddingfield 18


South Granville 20

Roanoke Rapids 16


James Kenan 41

Camden County 10


East Duplin 71

North Pitt 16


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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