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He wasn’t the homecoming king but Fike High senior Carlester Crumpler ruled over the Cyclones homecoming and the visiting New Bern Bears in game 6 of Fike’s 1969 championship season.
The dazzling Crumpler ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns, with all the scores coming in the second half, of the Cyclones’ 35-8 victory Oct. 17, 1969, at their Cyclone Country Stadium.
It was the sixth win in what would be an undefeated season for Fike on its way to a third consecutive North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A crown. The Bears got a rude welcome to the Eastern 4-A Conference’s Division II in their first encounter with the Cyclones during their championship era.
However, New Bern appeared up to the challenge in the first half, holding Fike to just seven points courtesy of a 34-yard hookup from Cyclones quarterback George Wilkerson to senior Chip Gibbons, followed by Mike Foster’s extra-point kick.
That 7-0 lead stood until Fike’s first drive of the second half. New Bern fumbled the kickoff and Crumpler, of course, recovered it on the 37-yard line. The Cyclones gave the ball to Crumpler five straight plays, the last being a 2-yard TD dive.
On Fike’s third possession of the half, the Cyclones marched 61 yards for another TD, this one a 12-yard Crumpler run with 1:19 to play in the third quarter.
New Bern finally found the end zone on its next possession to trim the Cyclones’ lead to 21-8. But the Bears’ joy was short-lived when Crumpler dashed 63 yards to pay dirt. The superb Fike senior, who had a 97-yard interception return for a TD in the first half negated by a penalty, finished the scoring on a 1-yard plunge with 5:50 to go.
While Crumpler inflicted most of the damage, Wilkerson enjoyed his best passing night of the season to date. He completed 10-of-12 attempts for 125 yards and the TD to Gibbons, who caught two passes for 38 yards. Clark Davis had a 35-yard reception as Fike rolled up 426 offensive yards. Willie Williams added 65 yards on 13 rushes.
The Cyclones defense limited the Bears to just 90 rushing yards with seniors Stuart Walston and Dan Killebrew leading the charge.
Fike would take its show on the road the following Friday night, along with the thousands of fans that accompanied the Cyclones, to a familiar venue to face an unfamiliar foe in Hillside High at Durham County Stadium.