Bears rout Nighthawks, 68-21, on Homecoming night

Published 6:12 pm Sunday, October 8, 2023

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AHOSKIE – First Flight scored early, but Hertford County scored often – to include 24 points over a span of just under six minutes – en route to a 68-21 rout of the winless Nighthawks here Friday during Homecoming festivities at HCHS.

Hertford County defenders Jar’Marcus White (left) and Jaxson Davis (right) combine to bring down a First Flight receiver during Friday’s Homecoming game win by the Bears. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Thanks to three touchdowns in each the first and second quarters, the Bears hung 46 points on the scoreboard in the first half.

Trailing 7-0 after First Flight recovered an onside kick to open the game and scored five plays later on a 41-yard pass from Alex Bryson to Jaden Sawyer, the Bears answered quickly. Highlighted by a 44-yard pass from Keveon Rodgers to Jayden Robinson, it took HCHS only three plays to score. Kevian Gatling had that honor, grabbing a 5-yard TD pass from Rodgers. Wayne Futrell added the conversion run and the Bears, with an 8-7 lead, never trailed again.

HCHS was in the endzone again just two and one-half minutes later when Elijah Outlaw capped a short drive after a First Flight punt with his 11-yard TD run. Outlaw added the conversion run for a 16-7 lead.

After the Nighthawks lost possession on downs at their own 43 yardline, HCHS used a 28-yard scamper by Futrell to highlight a three-play drive that ended with Rodgers scoring from nine yards out. Rodgers and Jar’Marcus White hooked up on the conversion pass, increasing the HCHS lead to 24-7 with 3:24 left in the first quarter.

That advantage swelled to 32-7 less than one minute into the second quarter thanks to a 61-yard touchdown gallop by Rodgers where he ran over one defender and stiff-armed two others along the way. Rodgers connected with Robinson on the two-point conversion pass.

The Bears padded their lead to 40-7 on their next possession. Starting from their own 31 yardline, HCHS benefitted from a pair of big runs from Outlaw (30 and 16 yards) plus a 15-yard pass from Rodgers to White to set the table for Futrell’s 5-yard TD run. White added the conversion on a pass from Rodgers.

Bryson did rally First Flight for back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter, throwing scoring passes to Sawyer (65 yards) and Carson Hahne (30 yards).

But any hopes of a miraculous comeback by the boys from the beach were quickly dashed when HCHS put together a quick, three-play scoring drive that took only 28 seconds. A 16-yard run by Outlaw and a 33-yard pass from Rodgers to White set up a 16-yard TD pass from Rodgers to Gatling for a 46-21 halftime lead.

Hertford County’s lead ballooned to 54-21 less than four minutes into the second half where Futrell capped a drive with a 7-yard TD run. He also ran in the two-point conversion.

The Bears defense accounted for the final two touchdowns: a 56-yard “pick-six” by Rodgers and a 58-yard “scoop-and-score” of an errant snap by ZhaeTwan Wells.

Offensively, HCHS finished with 407 total yards, with 261 coming on the ground. Outlaw led the rushing attack with 111 yards on just eight carries. Rodgers added 83 yards on four attempts while Futrell chipped in 67 yards on six carries.

Through the air, Rodgers was 10-of-13 for 146 yards. Robinson (two receptions for 59 yards) and White (two for 48 yards) were the top receivers.

First Flight finished with 196 total yards, the majority coming through the air (187 yards) on 28 pass attempts between two quarterbacks. On the ground, the Nighthawks netted six yards on 27 carries.

Hertford County (5-2 overall; 3-1 in league play) will visit Camden County on Oct. 13 in conference action.

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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