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The Fike High varsity football team, in its season opener, attempted to climb from a 27-6 hole in the second half but fell short by a 27-20 count to visiting Northern Durham, which was also kicking off its season, Friday night in Buddy Bedgood Stadium.
The Golden Demons of the 3-A Big East Conference, victorious against Northern Durham last season, got a pair of second-half touchdowns from back Cody Cooper-Speight and were driving to draw closer in the final minutes when a fourth-down pass from Northern Durham’s 40-yard line fell incomplete.
Speight darted 34 yards for Fike’s first TD that enabled the Demons to salvage a 6-6 halftime deadlock. Cooper-Speight slashed 10 yards for his second TD with 1:10 left in the third quarter and, with 4:50 remaining, found the end zone from 5 yards out and added the two-point conversion.
However, Fike fell victim to a pair of blocked punts in the third quarter. The 3-A Knights returned one for a TD and the other set up a TD. Decisive was a long pass, also in the third quarter, that was tipped by a Fike defender but caught in the end zone by the Knights. Northern Durham kicked the extra point.
The Demons missed on a couple of extra-point kicks as well as a field-goal attempt.
“Northern Durham was pretty good,” commented Fike head coach Tom Nelson. “They were really young last season, but have more experience now, a savvy quarterback and decent receivers. Defensively, up front, they were really good.
“But I was proud of our guys for the way they fought back. We came back and actually had a chance to win the game.”
Fike continues its nonconference schedule at home against East Wake at 7 p.m. next Friday.