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The late-summer weather is gradually becoming more football suitable.
And on a comfortable Friday night in Fike High’s Buddy Bedgood Stadium, the Fike High varsity football team strongly progressed in the expected direction of contending for the 3-A Big East Conference championship.
After committing turnovers their final possession of the first half and their opening drive of the second half, the Golden Demons proceeded to trudge to a 30-13 nonconference victory against East Wake of the 3-A Greater Neuse Conference.
The first victory of 2018 evened Fike’s record at 1-1, while East Wake departed 0-2. The Demons continue nonconference play with their first road test at Kinston next Thursday evening.
Fike head coach cited the turnovers — an interception and lost fumble — and the Warriors ability to move the football, thus slowing the game’s pace.
“We were pretty dominant after that,” Nelson contended. “We were able to do what we wanted between tackles, and the offensive line did a pretty good job. The defense, for the most part, did good. We had some letdowns but, overall, we did well. I wish we had got a couple more stops in the second half.”
Although be limited to a field goal on its first two opportunities, Fike never trailed, forging a 10-0 lead. The Warriors trailed 10-7 at halftime time, but the Demons upped the margin to 30-6 before East Wake scored in the final minute with Fike reserves on the field.
Senior running back Cody Cooper-Speight fueled the Fike offense, piling up 155 yards and three touchdowns on 30 rushes. The Demons amassed 431 yards total offense as compared to 158 yards for East Wake, which managed its only TD of the young season in the second quarter.
After an East Wake punt pinned Fike at its 4-yard line, the Demons pounded 96 yards to a 17-7 cushion. Junior Aaron Bancroft provided working pace with a 28-yard burst. Junior wide receiver Marcus Harris recovered a teammate’s fumble to keep the drive alive. Cooper-Speight was the workhorse, darting the final 23 yards for the TD and senior quarterback Josh Avery kicked the extra point.
Cooper-Speight twisted 3 yards for a TD on Fike’s first possession on the final quarter and Avery again kicked the PAT.
“It took us a game to get used to one another,” Cooper-Speight explained. “The offensive line was much more physical; they got their splits right and everything. We practiced all week on being more physical.”
Of his performance, Cooper-Speight assessed: “I thought I contributed enough and did what was best to help the team.”
Following an interception by junior Octavius Carpenter, Fike concluded its scoring on an 89-yard pass-and-run from Avery to senior receiver Josh Pittman.
The Demons opened their scoring in the second quarter on a 20-yard field goal from Avery. An option-pitch play from Avery to Carpenter covered 43 yards and set up Cooper-Speight’s 4-yard TD trot.
The Warriors, relying almost exclusively on a running attack, struck on Daeveon Vick’s 1-yard plunge in the closing seconds of the first half and on another 1-yard carry from Isaiah Thomas in the game’s final minute.