The Midway Raiders made the nearly 3 hour trip to Hertford County Friday night hoping to extend their season. After claiming the lead in late in the 3rd period, the Raiders watched the Bears come back for a 32-27 victory.
The game did not start well for the Raiders. They fumbled the opening kickoff giving the Hertford Bears the ball on the Midway 40. Seconds later quarterback Christian Folson hit Jaquarii Roberson on a 43 yard touchdown pass. The PAT by Noah Parker made it 7-0 Hertford just 56 seconds in to the game.
Following back to back Raider punts, the Bears took possession on their own 12 yard line. Moments later Folson darted 67 yards for another Bear touchdown. It was 14-0 with 1:12 remaining in the opening quarter.
Midway punted again on the ensuing possession and then the Bears found themselves at 4th and 13 and chose not to punt. The Raider defense sacked Folson on the 15 yard line and took over on downs. Two plays later Larry Blanks carried the ball a yard for a Midway touchdown. The Jackson Carr PAT made it 14-7 with 8:23 left in the first half.
The Bears got on the board again following an interception. Kyeem Perry scampered into the end zone from a yard out to make it 20-7 in favor of Hertford at the 1:03 mark of the 2nd period.
Midway was not ready to proclaim halftime. Following a 30 yard kickoff return by Brian Lucas, quarterback Austin Raynor connected with Dylan Lee on a 9 yard scoring play. The PAT made it 20-14 headed to intermission.
The Bears started the 2nd half much the way the began the first. That is, they scored a minute into the period. Perry got loose for 57 yards and put Hertford up 26-14 The PAT failed.
The Raiders wasted no time getting back on the board. Raynor found Lee again, this time for a 38 yard pass play and suddenly it was 26-20. The extra point was blocked.
After the Midway defense forced a Hertford punt, the Raiders hit pay dirt again. Shaking Warren rushed in from 12 yards out and the Carr kick made it 27-26 in favor of the Raiders with 3:56 to go in the 3rd frame.
A pair of Midway fumbles put the Bears back in the red zone twice. The 2nd occurred on a 4th quarter punt from the Raider 11. The defense held for 3 plays, but on 4th and 6 Dunyasha Porter caught a desperation pass in the end zone for what would prove to be the game winning score. The PAT was blocked, but the damage was done and it was 32-27.
The Raiders moved the ball on their final possession, but a penalty and a Blanks injury stopped the drive.
“I thought our guys outplayed them,” remarked Midway head coach Jason Fussell. “We had some things that didn’t go our way, but at the end of the day our kids came out here with a lot of heart. This group of guys, the seniors, they fight for each other, and they did that tonight. I’m proud of them.”
Offensively, the Raiders had 351 total yards. The backs ran 235 yards on 42 carries. Raynor was 6-14 for 116 yards in the air. Blanks rushed 23 times for 119 yards. Lee was the top receiver, catching 4 passes for 82 yards.
The Bears carried 43 times for 161 yards. Folson was 21-33 in passing for 251 yards.
Leading tacklers for Midway were Lee and J. D. Lockamy with 9 and a half each. Jake Clark and Derrick Loftus added 8.5 a piece.
The Raiders finish the season 7-5. The Bears, 9-3, will travel to conference rival Northeastern next week in Elizabeth City.