Rodgers leads Bears past Knights
Published 4:49 pm Sunday, September 17, 2023
AHOSKIE – Senior quarterback Keveon Rodgers threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns and added one rushing score to lead Hertford County to a 48-28 win over Currituck County in the Northeastern Coastal Conference opener for both teams here Friday night.
While it may seem that Rodgers was a “one-man show” – that’s far from the truth. Senior running back Elijah Outlaw added 152 rushing yards on 17 carries; senior safety Jar’Marcus White picked off three enemy passes; and junior defensive lineman Carlos Moore had a hand in three of the Bears four sacks.
But of all the offensive and defensive accolades, the momentum of this game shifted on a special teams play and a costly mistake by the visiting Knights.
After Currituck had pulled to within 28-14 at halftime, Damon Duke appeared to have made the score even closer when he returned the second half kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown. However, the Knights were flagged for holding on the return, bringing the ball back to their own 33 yardline, and Currituck would see that drive end three plays later when White grabbed his first interception.
Two game possessions later, White picked off his second pass, this one coming at Currituck’s 19 yardline, which he returned to the 12. Two plays later, Rodgers scored on a one-yard keeper as the Bears increased their lead to 34-14.
Currituck rallied to within 34-21 early in the fourth quarter when Elijah Binckley capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive with his two-yard touchdown run.
Hertford County answered quickly as on first down on the game’s ensuing possession, Outlaw ran through a hole up the middle and then sprinted 70 yards to the endzone. The conversion run failed, but the Bears were back in control with a 40-21 lead with 10:10 left in the game.
A fumbled pitch by HCHS aided Currituck in scoring their last touchdown as Luke Schuster returned that miscue to the Bears 27 yardline. The Knights scored one play later on a 26-yard TD pass from Patrick Payton to Duke, pulling the visitors to within 40-28 with 4:20 left.
After Currituck failed on the ensuing onside kick, the Bears sealed the win with a 55-yard TD pass from Rodgers to White. Rodgers connected with Kevian Gatling on the two-point conversion pass to round out the scoring.
Rodgers tossed four touchdowns in the first half: two in the first quarter (35 and 34 yards, both to Rimiez Williams) and a pair in the second period (22 yards to Gatling and 29 yards to Williams who broke free thanks to a great block from White).
Payton had a hand in a pair of Currituck touchdowns in the second quarter: a 37-yard pass to Duke, and his one-yard keeper to the endzone.
With the win, the Bears improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in league action. HCHS will host conference foe Pasquotank County this Friday (Sept. 22). Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.