Blue Devils Crack Falcons in Second Half Winning Region Championship
By DANIEL PARKER
Nov 30, 2017, 10:27
Everyone tries to get in on the kick off tackle.
Ronnie Walker breaks through the line on the way to the 1st of his 3 TDs.
Both the Hopewell Blue Devils Football Team and the York Falcons High School were put into the meat grinder for the 1st half. It was a matter of which team could withstand the punishment to take the prize of winning the Region 3A Championship on Saturday at York High School.
Twenty-five seconds were left in the first half; the game was deadlocked 6 to 6 with Hopewell pushing their way down to the end zone against the York High School Falcons. Blue Devils Quarterback Gregory Cuffey threw an end zone bomb, but York High School’s Tri Cartwright swooped in for a short lived interception, when a Blue Devils defender forced the fumble and Hopewell’s Reizon Murphy recovered the ball.
From that moment the momentum of the game shifted directly to the Blue Devils. Hopewell’s Preston Haden kicked in the field goal. The Blue Devils took the lead, and took down the tough Flock of York High School, winning the Region Championship with a final score of 34 to 6. But it took a half for the cracks to show up in York High School.
After stopping York’s 1st drive of the game, Blue Devils Quarterback Gregory Cuffey made a short pass to Sean Allen and the receiver throttled up the field 63 yards into the end zone, before the yellow flags hit the field. A holding penalty pushed the Blue Devils back 10 yards and took away their touchdown. And from there. after Robert Briggs bruised through for a 1st down. The Blue Devils were taken down by the Falcons. York’s Marquise Morris broke through the line and sacked the Hopewell Quarterback in the backfield. Hopewell was back playing defense.
The Blue Devils punished the Falcons on defense. Zyreon Jones torpedoed Falcons Keiston Hutcherson for a loss of yards, followed up by another tackle for no gain by Kaiveon Cox. But the Blue Devils drive was stopped swiftly.
York, back in control at the 40 yard line, Falcons John Cassidy broke through the box. He was pulled down by several Hopewell players, but ran far enough to move the chains getting a 1st down at the 28 yard line. Punching their way through, the Falcons made it to the 18 yard line, York Quarterback Ramsey Hayyat faked a handoff, but Hopewell’s Deandre Thomas didn’t take the bait sacking the Falcon in his backfield. On 4th down, York’s Cole Lytle got an 18 yard reception into the end zone. 6 to 0.
Hopewell wasn’t far off. From the 25 yard line, Cuffey threw a pass to Cox, who steam rolled down field for a 75 yard touchdown. Enter the deadlock, where Hopewell broke through with a field goal that ended the 1st half.
“York was ready to play. They played very tough that first half,” said Blue Devils Coach Ricky Irby. “But once we settled down and made a few adjustments things started opening up.”
Ronnie Walker, Hopewell’s lightning in a bottle running back, broke free of York for a 33 yard touchdown. And as quick as that came at the beginning of the 2nd half, Cox pummeled the Falcons on a kick return forcing another fumble and putting the ball back in the hands of Hopewell. Walker broke free again for a 24 yard touchdown. After a quick Falcons possession, Walker scored yet another touchdown at the 15 yard line.
The final knockout blow came from Cuffey, a long 65 yard reception to Sean Allen to give them their final score of 34 to 6. Cuffey started reading the defense better than he did in the first half, commented Irby.
The Blue Devils crowd roared as Hopewell took the Region Championship for the 3rd year in the row. “Seeing the community out there in the stands makes it all worth it,” said the Coach.
“It’s awesome. That’s the reason why we do it,” Irby said. “We appreciate the community so much, I’m a big believer in community pride, and I think it’s important that we put a good product on the field that our community can be proud of.”
Hopewell will have their next game, in the state semifinals on Saturday, Dec. 2 on Merner Field at 1:30 p.m. against James Monroe.