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Backs Jalil Hutcherson, a junior, and sophomore Raekwon Batts anchored a punishing ground game that keyed the host Beddingfield High varsity football team’s 43-6 conquest of 2-A Oxford Webb before a turnout of some 300 on a humid Friday night in Beddingfield’s stadium.
Hutcherson, the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference’s 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, last season, piled up 175 yards on just 12 rushes, while the 5-foot-10, 230-pound Batts thundered for 94 yards on 10 carries as the Bruins, the preseason pick to rule the Eastern Plains, pounded the Warriors’ defense for 394 rushing yards. Hutcherson and Batts each scored a pair of touchdowns.
The Bruins of second-year head coach James Ward pulled away from a 7-6 margin with 36 unanswered points — including a pair of safeties in the final quarter.
Beddingfield’s vaunted defense threw the Warriors for minus-28 yards rushing. However, Webb capitalized on screen passes to pick up 125 yards through the air. The Bruins intercepted four passes.
Nagged by 12 penalties for 113 yards and constantly scrambling to get 11 players on the field, the Bruins were anything but cohesive but certainly dominant after the first quarter. Beddingfield’s attempts to establish a passing game, however, proved an exercise in futility. Zion Hinnant drew the start at quarterback.
Beddingfield never trailed after Hutcherson, on the Bruins’ first play from scrimmage, headed right and galloped 80 yards for a 6-0 lead. Junior Lynsey Reason kicked the extra point with 9 minutes, 53 seconds still remaining in the first quarter.
Reason became the first female to score a point in the history of the Beddingfield High varsity football program. Reason was accurate on 3-of-6 PAT kicks.
The Warriors, 2-A members of the 1-A/2-A Northern Carolina Conference, capitalized on junior Javonte Shoffner’s fumble recovery to cut the deficit to 7-6. The payoff was quarterback Blake Newton’s 32-yard strike to junior wide receiver Jordan Pugh.
From there, the Bruins forged a 20-6 halftime cushion on TD trudges of 39 and four yards from Batts.
The second half saw Beddingfield strike on Hutcherson’s 25-yard burst, junior Davalice Rasberry’s 48-yard interception return, backup sophomore quarterback Garritt Harris’ 1-yard plunge and a pair of safeties in the final five minutes when the Warriors snapped the football out of the end zone and Newton fumbled the football in the end zone and fell on it.
Hinnant, Hutcherson and junior Donyel Sauls each had an interception for the Bruins. Leading the defensive charge were junior Devin Woodard, Batts, junior William Wilder, senior Zach Adams and senior Isaiah Davis.
Opening gaping holes up front were senior Daymon Kardesoglu, sophomore Arnold Pender, Woodard, sophomore Cedric Pope and senior Willie Bridgers.
The Bruins visit 3-A Smithfield-Selma next Friday.