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Beddingfield first-year head coach James Ward has seen it too many times this season.
The Bruins enter halftime with a comfortable lead, only to lose it completely or be forced to hold on for dear life at the end of the game.
Beddingfield withstood Smithfield-Selma’s whittling of a 32-10 halftime lead (32-22). A 26-point lead in the second half against Hunt that led to 28 unanswered points and a loss is a sore point. The Bruins had a 21-7 halftime lead in its 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opener against North Johnston, only to see the Panthers lead after three quarters before ekeing out a 35-28 win.
So with a 35-11 lead in hand against North Pitt last week on Homecoming, Ward wanted to see his Bruins keep an opponent down. He got his wish, with Beddingfield stampeding to a 55-19 win that saw the clock run continuously on senior Marcus Parker’s 35-yard run with 10:49 to go.
“We told them at the half if we could come back out in the second half and not do what we’ve done four times this year — not give up a 20-point lead. That was our main focus, to come out and keep playing, and still try to stay basic from what we were doing the first half — not to try to show nothing else and stay as basic as possible for next week.”
Beddingfield, at 5-3 and 2-0 in the EPC, can insert itself as a serious conference championship contender next week with a win at Nash Central.
FLEXBONE WAITS FOR NO MAN
Trying to prepare for the option-based flexbone offense of North Pitt required the presence of all hands on deck for the Bruins this week.
Beddingfield first won the toss and elected to receive, quickly putting North Pitt down 7-0 on a 52-yard sprint from sophomore Jalil Hutcherson. The Bruins gave up a 47-yard run to North Pitt’s Sincere King on their first defensive possession after North Pitt was able to gain the edge on a pitch. The run helped set up a North Pitt field goal, but Beddingfield only allowed one more run of 10 yards or longer in the first half en route to building a 35-11 halftime lead.
The preparation was such that Ward, who still officiates basketball in his spare time, was forced to miss a North Carolina High School Athletic Association state rules clinic.
“I messed around and missed my basketball officiating, my state rules clinic!” Ward said. “And now I’ve got to go Tuesday! Because we had to master those reads. We had some good reads, and it worked good for us. I was scared of that fullback. I thought they would pound that fullback (Tyren Jenkins) down our throat all night long. That’s why I said we’ve got to take the ball. We’ve got to score first. We’ve got to make them play from behind.”
Although Jones remains sidelined with a broken bone in his foot, the moves put on by running back turned quarterback Marcus Parker caused the press box to call out a wrong name on a first-quarter run.
Or, it could have been Parker’s No. 11 jersey misread as the No. 1 of Jones.
At any rate, Parker took the snap from center and darted off the right side, ripping off 34 yards and a first down. Veteran Beddingfield public address announcer Chuck Wheeler called Parker “Sean Jones,” eliciting comparisons to the injured fleet of foot starter on the Bruins’ sideline.
Wheeler soon corrected himself, and the man who has seen more than his fair share of Beddingfield football games decreed after the first quarter that the 28-3 Bruins scoreline represented “one of the best first quarters in Beddingfield history.”
Beddingfield had more than enough talent to overwhelm North Pitt, which presented with 10 sophomores and three freshman.
But even the Bruins couldn’t escape Friday without a bizarre two-point conversion going against them.
After the Panthers cut the lead to 28-9, they brought out Jamond Mobley to attempt the extra point. The snap was high, forcing Mobley to pick it up and scramble for what he could.
It turns out Mobley got all he needed. He gathered the ball and burst through the middle of the line despite Beddingfield defenders in position to make a play. One spin move later, he was in the end zone and a kicker had an unfathomable two-point conversion to his credit.
“We call those security guard plays,” Ward said. “Those were mall security guards. That’s what we had. We had 11 security guards out there. We had one person come in there, and 10 security guards. Everybody was watching with their flashlight, hoping the thief doesn’t get away. They’re scared to lock him up, man. You can’t let that one happen. Now that was a bad play! That really was.”
DEMONS CRANK UP RUN GAME
After a slow start, Fike picked up the pace in its running game Friday night en route to a 44-13 victory over Franklinton.
Behind junior Cody Cooper-Speight and senior Justin Daniels, Fike rolled up 329 yards on the ground and generated four Red Rams turnovers.
Cooper-Speight had his best varsity performance in a Fike uniform, amassing 153 yards on 20 carries with two TDs. Daniels, on just eight carries, supplied 146 yards and outran the Franklinton defense on his way to a 61-yard touchdown.
Senior William Kent intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, with senior Brandon Atkinson and junior Garrett Browder adding interceptions.
Senior kicker John Gliarmis had four kickoffs go for touchbacks in as many attempts and booted a second-quarter field goal. He added a pair of extra points.
HUNT’S ROAD GETS NO EASIER
Starved for a conference win, Hunt High saw a 99-yard march go against it in the final moments of a 20-14 loss at Rocky Mount on Friday night. The Warriors saw the clinching touchdown go against it with 23 seconds remaining after junior Isaiah Watson had recovered a fumble earlier to tie matters at 14.
Now 2-6 overall and 0-2 in Big East play, the Warriors will host Southern Nash next week. The Firebirds are coming off a 49-0 win over Northern Nash where Quinton Cooley set the tone with a 78-yard punt return just 2 minutes, 17 seconds into play. He added a 12-yard interception return in the third quarter to trigger the running clock for the Firebirds, now 7-1 and 2-0 in Big East play. The Firebirds were ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press 3-A poll.