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PIKEVILLE — Hunt High played its best football in the second half, taking over for good in the third quarter to beat C.B. Aycock 49-21 on Wednesday night at Hardy Talton Stadium.
“That second half made all the difference,” head coach Ryan Sulkowski said.
The Warriors (2-1) scored their first touchdown on a long 65-yard connection from quarterback Hunter Garwood to Chris Artis and went into halftime with a vulnerable 13-7 lead. Hunt adjusted between the second and third quarter and came back out of the half with the ball and the intention of wearing down the Golden Falcons defense the rest of the way.
On both sides of the ball, that’s exactly what happened in the second half.
“We just wore them down, ran right at them,” Sulkowski said.
To start the third quarter, the Warriors marched down the field on a long, run-heavy drive that took eight minutes off the clock and lengthened the lead to two scores. A long pass play extended the lead that third quarter before a big play started to put the game far out of reach from the Golden Falcons, who lost for the first time in three games.
At time ran down in the third quarter, senior outside linebacker Ricky Harris scooped up a fumble and rumbled 25 yards for a touchdown as the quarter came to a close. Just into the fourth quarter, about five seconds after the turnover for a touchdown, Hunt forced another fumble out of CBA that was picked up and taken 1 yard for another touchdown by Christian Nicholson.
Sulkowski said a big boost from the defense really helped his team, and credited the conditioning of his team in swinging the outcome.
“Defense was pivotal,” Sulkowski said. “I can’t reall say anything negative about them in the second half. They just came to play.”
C.J. Joyner scored the final touchdown of the game for Hunt from approximately 60 yards away, but Sulkowski said two other long runs into the endzone would have ballooned the game even further out of reach, if they had not been called back by penalties.
Even in the win, penalties were an issue for the Warriors. Sulkowski said his team gave up a lot of yardage from “simple” penalties that “can be corrected.”
“I feel good about where we are,” Sulkowski said. “We just have to limit the mistakes. Penalties are killing us right now.”
The Warriors will welcome 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference opponent East Wake to Wilson next Friday.